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Pay it Forward

Editor's Note: This is the last quarterly column from Paul D'Aiutolo, NAPA's 2017-2018 President. It appears in the Spring issue of NAPA Net the Magazine, published in March, and is available in pdf form here.

Greetings, NAPA members and Firm Partners! As this is my last official column as NAPA President, I want to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to many.

First of all, many thanks to all of the volunteers who make the National Association of Plan Advisors special! We have conferences like the 401(k) Summit, the D.C. Fly-In Forum and NAPA Connect. We have the GAC and PAC committees. We have our educational curriculums and efforts. There is so much that happens behind the scenes at NAPA and that is driven by volunteers, the many people who take time away from their families and their professions who contribute to the betterment of our association. Each of you has my sincere thanks and gratitude.

To the ARA staff, many thanks for all of your help! All of you play an important role and we couldn't do what we do without your efforts.

Of course, many thanks to Brian Graff for his incredible efforts, and to past Presidents Marcy Supovitz, Steve Dimitriou, Joe DeNoyior and Sam Brandwein for establishing the path of excellence all NAPA Presidents should follow.

Lastly, I want to thank our Firm Partners. We are all on the same team when it comes to creating a better retirement for our plan sponsors and plan participants, and without your support, much of what we do wouldn't be possible.

Over the past year, my number one objective was to leave NAPA in a better place than when I stepped into the role of President — a sort of “pay it forward” approach. It is amazing to look back and see what has transpired: We withstood tax reform, coming out stronger and more visible, actually having more attention to 401(k)s in the media than ever before! We have navigated the fiduciary rule. We have turned the Summit into an extraordinary experience, adding hundreds more attendees and expanding the conference to include NAPA After Dark. We have expanded the Fly-In Forum to welcome junior partners and young professionals who, when paired with our established advisors, present a true image of who we are to our congressional leaders. We have expanded NAPA Connect, our women-only conference, to partner with our women business leaders from ASPPA, our sister organization, to truly create something valuable, unique, empowering and special. We have brought the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) into our umbrella, adding a plan sponsor dynamic that we have been missing. We have expanded and grown our industry lists of Top Advisor Teams, Young Guns, Top Women and Wingmen. We have called on our volunteer leaders, our Leadership Committee, conference chairs, conference planning committees and our GAC committee to keep pushing ahead to continue to make us a better organization.

Click here to read more commentary from Paul D'Aiutolo.

Our incoming President, Jeff Acheson, has taken on the initiative of expanding our educational opportunities to include non-qualified plans, and one of our leaders, Alex Assaley, has volunteered to spearhead developing NAPA's next generation. We have grown our firm partners and expanded our membership. We are bigger. We are better. We are stronger.

Wow. Can I say another — WOW!

With Summit around the corner, I hope to see everyone there! We are planning another extraordinary event, with must attend sessions, more advisors than any other industry event gathering in one place and again, offering nighttime networking events that are unforgettable. Not too far off is the Fly-In Forum and the expanded Women in Retirement Conference, or WIRC. If you haven’t attended those, think about it. They are amazing events. If you haven’t taken the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) designation, think about it. It truly connects you with the best of NAPA and shows your clients your knowledge and your commitment to them.

In closing, I want to say how humbling it has been for me to represent NAPA as your President. We do amazing work for amazing working Americans. Our efforts in plan design, participant education and investment stewardship have led to millions of Americans being closer to being able to realize their dreams. The pursuit of doing more and better work keeps many of us up at night, but I know those of you here at NAPA give it your all each and every day to make the American retirement system the best it can be. Thank you for allowing me to serve you. It has been an incredible honor and experience, and I sincerely hope that with all of our efforts, NAPA is not just in a better place today, but that we will continue to “pay it forward” forever.

Paul D'Aiutolo is the founding principal and lead consultant of the D’Aiutolo Institutional Consulting Team in Rochester, NY. His term as NAPA’s 2017-2018 President ends after the upcoming NAPA 401(k) Summit.