The Evolving Landscape of Retirement Plan Onboarding

 In Customer Onboarding, Retirement


It makes sense that one of Liveoak’s most successful customer use cases is in the retirement plan industry. Prior to Liveoak’s inception, our co-founder, Andy Ambrose, had been working in corporate retirement plan sales and distribution for over 20 years for leading providers like Mass Mutual, Manulife/John Hancock, The Hartford and Great-West.

One of the inspirations for starting Liveoak was the incredible amount of time and coordination it took to set up a new corporate retirement plan (i.e. completing new case paperwork, coordinating with trustees, advisors, TPAs, stakeholders, acquiring signatures and gathering plan documentation).

Looking back 20+ years, there was always a substantial amount documentation to gather, paperwork to complete and sign but as complexity increased with both investment options/selection and compliance, the runway for setting up new plans became much longer. In 1994, the deadline to have paperwork completed for a January 1st effective date was mid-December. Then it slowly crept back to 30 days and today it is around 2.5 months. Add complex paperwork that requires explanation and multi-party signatures (often with signers in separate geographic locations) and frustration can easily set in for all parties involved. The truth is that with so much advance planning required, complexity, paperwork and hoops to jump through, the process can feel more like a sales prevention department. Everyone feels it, including the customer.

When we started Liveoak, our main challenge was building a technology platform to dramatically improve the process and meet compliance standards and provide a secure and safe environment that honored existing business practices. Our goal was to use technology to increase efficiency and reduce the total time it takes to complete a new sales transaction. We also knew that if we were successful, this new technology platform would help financial enterprises gain more customers as people prefer to do business with companies that make doing business easier.

Over the past month, we sold 5 additional plans with this advisor–all via LiveOak. In fact, 3 of them on a single day.

One of our biggest advantages when we started (and today) is that our executive team has a strong background in financial services and we are intimately aware of the playing field, goals and challenges. An additional advantage is that there was no precedent set, no existing tools or software that could effectively accomplish all the tasks required to complete the onboarding process. Sure, folks in the industry had experimented with using different tools but these cobbled together solutions never worked together in harmony. For example, there were separate tools for web conferencing, synchronous editing, co-browsing, document upload and digital/electronic signature. All of these tools existed in separate silos and few provide the security and audit reporting that financial services enterprises require.

Armed with the knowledge of exactly what was needed to solve for this universal problem, we set out to build the first technology solution that enables virtual customer interactions. Meaning, a technology solution that enables the retirement plan provider, trustees, advisor, TPA and customer to come together virtually at the same time to complete the entire business transaction.

In the case of setting up a new retirement plan, human beings will remain in the process for the foreseeable future and at Liveoak, we embrace this fact. We are in the camp of enabling human interaction and expertise while using technology for speed and convenience. As a result, Liveoak built a platform that has the perfect balance of human support and easy-to-use technology.

Fast forward to today and we are energized with the results that we have helped create for our retirement plan provider customers. As with any large financial services enterprise, it is difficult to turn a ship’s course, generate positive results and feedback in a short period of time. We are proud to say that we have helped accomplished all three. Additionally, we have helped our customers to digitally transform their business process and convert more prospects to customers.

Interested in some feedback from our retirement plan service providers and advisors who are actively using Liveoak? Below are some highlights and more can be found on our website at this link:

Close Assets Faster

“From the time the advisor called, to the email with completed paperwork, the entire process took 68 minutes!! It’s not a large plan, but it is $760,000 in assets we sold in less than 2 hours. That is for sure a personal best! ;)”


Make it Easier to Do Business with You

“Quote from an advisor: ‘It was between you and [Competitor] and the cost was pretty much the same and nothing against [Competitor], but you just make it easier by being able to do it electronically’ The advisor signed up the next day”


Get the Competitive Edge

“After months of trying to sell against [Competitor’s] fixed account and pricing games, it became clear that the Advisor simply did not care about our story and we needed to change our focus. I began to push LiveOak during the sales process showcasing our ability to get contract documents signed online, in 30 minutes or less.”


Sell More Plans

“Not only did the client have a positive experience with LiveOak, the advisor and his assistant saw the ease of completing paperwork without having to shuffle pages and hoping that everything got back to us. Over the past month we sold 5 additional plans with this advisor–all via LiveOak. In fact, 3 of them on a single day.”


Make the Process Less Complex

“The next day the six of us; Advisor, Trustee, three company admins, and myself hopped on the phone and completed the Liveoak for all 6 plans in exactly one hour. Liveoak saves the day once again, making for a seamless paperwork execution in a complex situation. It’s already a complicated product we sell, the paperwork doesn’t have to be. Go Liveoak!”


The retirement plan onboarding use case is one example of how Liveoak is driving innovation by successfully combining digital technology with the power of the human expert.  If you are interested in talking about how to improve your onboarding process in retirement or another complex workflow, please reach out to us –


Click here to schedule a time to chat


Liveoak Technologies. We get virtual business done.

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