Finance

Creating Individualized Benefit Plans

In the highly-regulated world of employee benefit plans, among the cookie cutter options currently available, many employers find that their desire to provide their workers with a quality benefit plan is a difficult one to fulfill.

Creating a personalized plan equals putting one’s operation under the glaring microscope of the Internal Revenue Service in order to receive approval. It is a position many employers don’t want to be in – at least not without someone presenting their intentions in the best possible light.

Dayton Stark, CEO of The Loren D. Stark Company based in Houston, Texas, understands this concern very well.

He also knows how to mitigate it – and more importantly, he understands how to steer a business owner through the process of creating a benefit plan that best fits the needs of a company and its employees, as well as adhering to the legal requirements of the government.

“If a client needs an individualized plan, then we prepare it,” Stark said. “They present us with their objectives, goals and problems, and we prescribe a solution. Our firm has been writing individual plan documents long before ERISA (the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) came along, and we are not afraid to send proposals to the IRS. It is always something we have been comfortable doing, and we will continue writing the appropriate documents for our clients.”

This is what the family-owned firm has done for four generations, since 1910 when Dayton’s grandfather, Leander Jesse Stark, started the firm under the name L. J. Stark & Son as a life insurance consulting practice specializing in estate planning and employee benefits. His son, Loren, joined his father in the family business after serving in the military during World War I. The firm continued to pass from father to son with Dayton now at the helm.

Stark noted that the firm’s 90 employees currently administer 2,500 employee benefit plans.

“The employees are the heart and soul of the business. Their work is what keeps the firm’s highly-guarded reputation without blemish,” Stark said. “Each person in our office sticks to a specific field within the world of retirement plan work, whether that be distributions, trust accounting or the various calculations necessary for creating and maintaining these plans, each of our employees is a true professional in their area. The quality of their work is so high because they are incredibly focused on one particular aspect.”

While the firm has embraced the use of technology. including the type of automation popular within the benefits industry, Stark said that old-fashioned customer service remains in place. Each client has a live account representative – not just a number to push on an auto dialer – from whom to get help when questions arise.

“Customer service is what it boils down to in this industry,” Stark said. “The best method for accomplishing that is by having great employees who are available. When our business owner clients are having problems, we are there for them. It is just that simple.”

Learn more about The Loren D. Stark Company online at www.ldsco.com





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