Full disclosure is not a new term in the pharmacy industry. Many organizations and community pharmacy owners consistently press lawmakers to pass laws that require full disclosure by PBMs. It has almost become ingrained in the culture of being a pharmacy owner to fight for this. Constant pressure may lead to big changes down the road that will ultimately help community pharmacy owners.
This blog post is not going to be a rant on the PBMs (even though I have done it many times and would love to do it again). Rather, this blog post is going to discuss a completely different kind of disclosure that is often overlooked in the course of daily business.
First things first, it is important to understand there are other service providers for pharmacies out there who have been fighting full disclosure in their particular industries. Some have been doing this for a long time, even long before PBMs ever came into existence. Until recently, there hasn't been much attention paid to them (because their lobby in Washington is very strong and there hasn't been much press about them).
If you haven't guessed by now, I am referring to your company sponsored retirement plan service providers. There have been some new changes that require fee disclosure, but they haven't been as effective as planned. These new changes were first proposed in the mid 2000's and they were fought ferociously by the big brokerage firms and insurance companies (I know this is a shocker to most of you #sarcastic).
We believe the reason this was fought by the brokerage and insurance industry was because of the excessive fees associated with their retirement plan platforms. Excessive fees create more money for the brokerage firm and/or insurance company and lower returns for participants in retirement plans. The new fee disclosure regulations were supposed to shine light on this, but we are beginning to see some ways the industry is avoiding disclosure. This brings me full circle to the real reason of this blog post.
I contacted a large insurance company to request a proposal for a retirement plan we are currently working to establish for an independent community pharmacy. I spoke with one of their internal sales people and we went though the process of getting a proposal. When it came time to ask about the advisor fees (what Waypoint makes), this employee asked me, "Do you want to act in the spirit of full disclosure or do you want to hide the fees in the mutual funds?"
I was shocked that this employee was bold enough to ask this without knowing who I am. It made me think of something a good friend of mine told me when it took almost ten years for these fee disclosure rules to come out. He said referring to the fees, "We used to know where the bodies were buried." He was referring to the fact the brokerage and insurance industry had plenty of time to determine where to hide the fees before the regulations became final.
So with all this being said, you should ask yourself the following questions about your company retirement plan and service providers.
- Have the fees of all my service providers been fully explained to me in the past 2 years?
- Do I feel my service providers are "acting in the spirit of full disclosure" when it comes to my plan?
If you answered "No" or "I don't know" to either of these questions, then we encourage you take action immediately. Your legacy for you and your employees may be dependent on your ability to answer yes to these questions.
Where does this wisdom come from?
The content of this blog is inspired and substantiated by our experience helping independent community pharmacists enjoy financial independence during and after their life in pharmacy. When a pharmacist reaches out to us for information and help, we endeavor to give them as much free value as is possible. In addition to providing educational and strategic planning tools (like the Retirement Plan Fee Analysis), we invite qualified pharmacists into our formal discovery process.
The first step of the process is completing The Inspired Goals Workshop. This 90-minute session enables us to deliver a detailed and personal Inspired Independence Blueprint. The blueprint provides a personalized roadmap for achieving your goals and enables you to fully understand the value of joining The Inspired Independence Program.
If you wish to learn more about any aspect of our work, the free value we offer, or to be considered for The Inspired Goals Workshop, visit our web site at www.waypointus.com or call 843.873.4420 and ask for Ben or Matt Coakley.
At Waypoint Pharmacy Advisors, we take care of you!