Managing retirement planning for small businesses
Altigro is on the grow as workers
Photos by Christina Mazza
take larger stakes in their savings
By BEtH FitZGEraLD
SteVeN GreeNBauM’S Fairfield company
does the invisible back-office paperwork that
keeps retirement plans running — and his
business has grown as Americans take on the
challenge of saving for retirement.
Greenbaum’s father, Jerome Greenbaum,
founded the altigro company in 1960. Steven
Greenbaum runs the company’s pension busi-
ness, while his brother, Brad Greenbaum, leads
Altigro’s employee benefits division.
The company started with a few dozen
retirement plans when Steven Greenbaum
came on board in 1973 shortly after graduating
from Boston university. Now, altigro Pension
Services is the third-party administrator for
600 retirement plans, most of them small com-
panies with fewer than 50 employees.
Much of Altigro’s growth is word-of-
mouth. Steven Greenbaum teaches continu-
ing education classes to insurance agents and
accountants, “and that has been a very good
marketing tool for me,” he said. An agent who’s
completed the course “will call me up three
weeks later and say, ‘I have a client who needs
retirement planning, can you help me?’ I’ve Steven Greenbaum, president of Altigro Pension Services, joined his father’s company in 1973 after graduating from Boston University. Altigro was founded in 1960.
gotten business from every sin-
gle one of these that I’ve because all of a sudden you wake up year — “but we might also lose 20 or 30 plans, Traditional pensions, where the employer
done in the past 10 or and say, ‘three or four guys I used because the company goes out of business; or takes on the risk of investing money on behalf
12 years.” to deal with — they’re retired in the founder retires; or they terminate the plan of the workers, have been largely displaced
Client refer- Florida now’” . because, in this business climate, they can’t by the 401(k): Steven Greenbaum said only
rals also come from Brad Greenbaum said the third- afford it.” about 10 percent of the plans he administers
financial plan- party administrative industry has been He sits down with small-business owners are traditional pensions.
ners, attorneys and able to grow by taking over the back- and designs a 401(k) plan for the owner and the Most young workers doubt Social Security
accountants: “You office administration chores that other- employees — but he doesn’t give investment will be there when they retire — and this group
build a network wise would be a drain on the big mutual advice, or move the money around. Steven hangs on Steven Greenbaum’s every word when
— and you have to fund companies. For some of these big Greenbaum recommends an asset management he delivers his 401(k) enrollment primer.
continually firms, “the back office is considered a firm that looks like a good fit for the small busi- “I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone
build it, hindrance that generates complaints — ness, and he deals with more than a half-dozen under the age of 35 who has any belief at all that
‘I didn’t get my report on time,’ that sort of them, including John hancock, MassMutual Social Security will be there when they retire,”
of thing,” he said. “So this has cre- and Metlife. He also runs the enrollment meet- said Steven Greenbaum, 60. Young adults
ated a cottage industry of pension ings, at which workers are taught, step-by-step, “think they have to do this for themselves, and