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Handshake  Blake Willis Promoted to Chief Operating Officer   

 

Blake Willis Promoted to Chief Operating Officer

Waco, Texas, February 6, 2020 – July Business Services (JULY) recently announced that Blake Willis has been promoted to the role of Chief Operating Officer.

 

With over 20 years of industry experience in all facets of retirement plan sales and operations, Blake’s new role will further enhance JULY’s focus on operational and service excellence. He will drive operational improvements and offer executive leadership to the firm’s core operations, including recordkeeping, administration, actuarial and client services.

Prior to his role as COO Blake spent the past 5 years leading and building JULY’s sales and installation teams, including developing new institutional relationships and sales channels, representing JULY as a public speaker, and supplying technical and sales support to sales team members and advisors.

John Humphrey, President and CEO of JULY, says of Willis’ promotion: “I am excited about Blake assuming a broader responsibility as Chief Operating Officer for JULY. He has worked hard over the past several years and developed into a trusted resource for our sales team and advisors nationwide. His deep industry knowledge and experience combined with his get-it-done approach will now broaden his impact and help us continue our upward trajectory in recordkeeping and plan administration excellence.”

Regarding his new role as COO of JULY, Willis commented: “I am thrilled to serve JULY in this new capacity and look forward to playing an integral role in the continued growth of our company.”

 

About JULY:

July Business Services is a leading retirement plan provider that supports financial advisors and their clients by delivering successful retirement plan strategies through its fully independent, open-architecture retirement plan recordkeeping platform and plan administration services. JULY brings unbiased, expert knowledge to all facets of the retirement plan process including customized plan design, leading technology, and hands-on implementation and management of the plan. JULY supports clients with an expansive, conflict-free investment platform, including ETFs, collective trusts, professionally managed portfolios, and mutual funds.

Our team understands that retirement is the number one reason for individual investing, and for many investors, company-sponsored savings and investment plans are the foundation of their retirement savings strategies. Our role in assisting organizations to offer employee retirement plans is fundamental to our mission – “Building Retirement Security”. Please visit https://www.julyservices.com for more information.

 

Handshake  JULY Honors Veterans   

 

In honor of Veterans Day, JULY proudly acknowledges the service and sacrifices of its employees and employee family members who have served our country within a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Following is a listing of those we celebrate and honor today.

JULY Employees

Name Branch of Service Details JULY Job Title
Anabel Figueroa U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, 15 years of service Fee and Billing Coordinator
Julie Gale U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd class Client Service Manager
 

Relatives of JULY Employees

* Deceased veteran

 
  • Eugene Edward McNamara

    Eugene Edward McNamara

    Specialist, Vietnam War
    Father of Kelli Pledger, Internal Sales Consultant

  • Mike Shumaker

    Mike Shumaker, third from left

    U.S. Army, Sergeant Major, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division at Fort Hood Husband of Shelly Shumaker, Accounting and Payroll

    Additional Details:

    Mike has been on active duty for 24 years. Mike, Shelly and family have endured two deployments to the Balkans, three to Iraq, and one to Egypt (time totaling over 5 years).

    About the photo:

    Mike’s job at the time this photo was taken was in Egypt as part of the Multinational Forces & Observers Team. They were based with soldiers from all over the world. Their mission was to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace and to prevent any violation of its terms. There were 14 countries represented in all. Mike made a ton of friends-his favorites were the soldiers from Fiji- and Genero, one very outspoken Italian soldier.

  • Great Uncles of John Humphrey

    Great Uncles of John Humphrey, CEO

  • Wayne Rockwell

    Wayne Rockwell

    U.S. Navy, WWII
    Grandfather of Michelle LeCates, VP of of Marketing & Relationship Management

  • Sammy Humphrey

    Sammy Humphrey

    North Korea, 1952
    Uncle of John Humphrey, CEO

 

 
  • Ray Johnson

    A newspaper clipping on Ray Johnson’s early military career

  • Ray Johnson

    A citation from the Secretary of the Navy for Ray Johnson’s division highlighting bravery and determination.

  • Ray Johnson

    Ray Johnson with his plane

  • Ray Johnson

    Ray Johnson in uniform

  • Frank Johnson

    Frank Johnson as a brand new arrival in the tropical land of Vietnam

 

 
  • michael giovenazzo

    Mike Giovenazzo, Uncle of Brian Smith, Regional Sales Director (Plaque is at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, CA)

  • Mike and Joe

    Mike Giovenazzo, Uncle of Brain Smith, Regional Sales Director, in Pearl Harbor days before the attack

  • giovenazzo brothers

    Uncles of Brian Smith, Regional Sales Director

  • jack smith

    Jack Smith, Uncle of Brian Smith, Regional Sales Director

  • jack

    Jack Smith, Uncle of Brian Smith, Regional Sales Director, aboard the U.S.S. Stonewall Jackson

  • Bob

    Bob Jones, Uncle of Brian Smith, Regional Sales Director, in Vietnam. At the time he was a Major, retired as a Colonel. He was a helicopter pilot in U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division.

  • Frank Johnson

    Robert Casagrande (right), Grandfather of Brian Smith, Regional Sales Director, during WWII. He was a Staff Sargent in Patton’s Third Army.

 

 
  • Mel Mai

    Mel Mai

    U.A. Air Force – Served in WWII – Grandfather of Doug Mai, Director of Information Technology

  • John O'Neal

    John O'Neal

    U.S. Navy – Served in WWII – Grandfather of Doug Mai, Director of Information Technology

  • Fredrick J. Kroger*

    Fredrick J. Kroger*

    U.S. Army – Served in WWIIPOW in France – Grandfather of Megan Knapp, Marketing & Institutional Relationship Coordinator

  • Steven B. Bogner Steven B. Bogner

    Steven B. Bogner*

    U.S. Army – WWII, Wounded on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France – Step Grandfather of Megan Knapp, Marketing & Institutional Relationship Coordinator

    Details

Handshake  JULY Announces PremierPath401k   

 

JULY Announces PremierPath401k – an Innovative Retirement Plan Solution for Small Businesses

PremierPath401k leverages capabilities of Envestnet and BNY Mellon’s Pershing

Waco, Texas, November 6, 2019 – July Business Services (JULY) has released a new streamlined retirement plan solution called PremierPath401k. The solution, custodied by BNY Mellon’s Pershing ("Pershing") Retirement Plan Network, includes a dynamic 3(38) investment lineup managed by Envestnet Retirement Solutions with integration into the Envestnet platform, allowing for advanced research, integrated analytics, and expert advisory support.

PremierPath401k leverages Pershing’s Retirement Plan Network, which is a trust-level platform designed to hold and service assets of qualified retirement plans.

PremierPath401k includes plan design options best suited for small businesses, payroll integration, and 3(16) and 3(38) fiduciary services.

With Envestnet Retirement Solutions serving as the 3(38) investment fiduciary, advisors and plan sponsors are provided with comprehensive quarterly reports, and a diverse, low-cost fund lineup. Complete plan level data integration ensures streamlined access to Envestnet’s advisor tools and resources.

According to a new state-by-state analysis published by the American Retirement Association (ARA), more than five million employers in the United States still don’t offer a workplace retirement savings benefit, a generation after the 401(k) plan design was first introduced. 1 PremierPath401k provides advisors and their clients a simple, easy-to-understand retirement program, taking much of the heavy lifting off plan sponsors.

 

"Building tech-enabled retirement solutions with institutional partners like Pershing and Envestnet gives advisors access to robust platforms and reporting. We strive to offer innovative solutions to help advisors grow their retirement plan practices while making retirement plans easier to set up and manage for small businesses and their employees,"

– said John Humphrey, JULY’s CEO.
 

"Advisors are increasingly recognizing the growth opportunities presented by offering small business 401(k) plans," said Hans Schemmel, director of retirement, insurance-based and cash management solutions at Pershing. "We are thrilled to have worked with JULY and Envestnet in bringing this packaged solution to our respective clients. This and other similar efforts we have underway underscore our commitment to delivering advisors best-in-class solutions that help drive their retirement business forward."

 

"Envestnet’s vision is to build a fully integrated unified advice platform to empower financial advisors to help their clients achieve their goals," said Khash Sarrafi, Senior Vice President of Institutional Sales for Envestnet Retirement Solutions. "We continue to seek innovative solutions that help advisors, and we believe providing a simple solution backed by strong key partnerships and proven methodology will deliver on our mission."

 

To learn more about PremierPath401k please visit https://premierpath401k.com.

1 Business Wire, July 23, 2019

 

About JULY:

JULY is a leading retirement plan provider that supports financial advisors and their clients by delivering successful retirement plan strategies through its fully independent, open-architecture retirement plan recordkeeping platform and plan administration services. JULY brings unbiased, expert knowledge to all facets of the retirement plan process including customized plan design, leading technology, and hands-on implementation and management of the plan.

Our team understands that retirement is the number one reason for individual investing, and for many investors, company-sponsored savings and investment plans are the foundation of their retirement savings strategies. Our role in assisting organizations to offer employee retirement plans is fundamental to our mission – "Building Retirement Security". Please visit https://www.julyservices.com for more information.

 

Handshake  Encouraging Greater Plan Participation   

 

If your work force includes employees who aren’t taking full advantage of your 401(k) retirement plan, you may want to look for ways to increase plan participation. Below, we answer some commonly asked questions.

 

Why is it better to have more employees fully participating in a 401(k) plan?

Increasing employee participation can help plans pass nondiscrimination testing. If a plan does not have a 401(k) safe harbor provision, low participation rates among non-highly compensated employees (NHCEs) could cause the plan to fail the actual deferral percentage (ADP) and actual contribution percentage (ACP) tests. Sponsors of plans that fail may have to either make contributions to NHCEs or make corrective distributions from the 401(k) plan to highly compensated employees (HCEs). Neither option is desirable.

Are there any other benefits to increasing employee participation?

Yes. Employees who don’t take full advantage of a 401(k) plan are at risk of not having enough savings to retire comfortably. Increasing employee participation can help employers make sure their employees are better prepared financially for retirement.

How can employers increase 401(k) plan participation?

To increase employee participation, employers can implement plan design changes and provide financial education to employees.

What plan design changes can an employer make to help increase employee participation?

Implementing programs such as automatic enrollment, automatic contribution escalation, and matching, as well as instituting a shortened enrollment waiting period, can help increase employee participation in a 401(k) plan.

How does automatic enrollment work?

With automatic enrollment, employees are enrolled in the plan at a preset contribution rate. Employees can elect not to contribute or to contribute a different percentage of their pay. Since many employees choose not to opt out of automatic enrollment, automatic enrollment tends to increase participation rates.

Can you explain automatic contribution escalation?

Generally, the default deferral rate for 401(k) plans is too low for many employees to accumulate enough money to meet their retirement income needs. With automatic contribution escalation, an employee’s deferral rate is gradually increased over time and according to a specified schedule. An employee may opt out of the increases.

How do matching contributions increase participation?

When an employer matches all or a percentage of an employee’s contribution amount, employees are more motivated to contribute because the employer’s contribution is viewed as potentially “free money” for the employee. Though such a program would create a direct expense for the employer, it can be an effective way to increase participation.

What is a shortened enrollment waiting period?

Some plans require a new employee to wait a period of time before starting to make deferrals to the 401(k) plan. Shortening or even eliminating this waiting period would make it possible for more employees to become eligible to participate. If employer contributions are not accelerated, employers incur no additional contribution costs with this approach. However, if a company has a high rate of employee turnover, this strategy may result in a high number of 401(k) accounts with small balances, which could increase plan administration costs.

How will providing financial education to employees increase participation?

A knowledgeable employee is more likely to understand the value of participating in his or her 401(k) plan. So the education materials should clearly communicate both the importance of saving for retirement and the benefits of participating in a 401(k) plan. Several different types of education materials can be used. Employers also may want to consider providing one-on-one meetings with financial advisors.

 

Handshake  JULY Announces Passport401k with IFP   

 

JULY Announces Passport401k with Independent Financial Partners – a Streamlined Retirement Plan Solution for Small Businesses

 

Press Release

Waco, Texas, September 12, 2019 – July Business Services (JULY) recently released a streamlined, easy-to-manage small business retirement plan solution called Passport401k, exclusively offered to clients of BNY Mellon’s Pershing ("Pershing"). JULY has partnered with Independent Financial Partners (IFP) to release a tailored version of the solution to their advisors with IFP serving as the 3(38) investment fiduciary.

Passport401k includes: two plan design options created for small businesses, payroll integration, and 3(16) and 3(38) fiduciary services. With IFP serving as the 3(38) investment fiduciary, advisors can easily obtain assistance with investment research and monitoring from their home office, allowing them the time and flexibility to best manage and nurture client relationships.

Passport401k utilizes Pershing’s custodial platform and its Retirement Plan Network technology, which provides dynamic dashboards and consolidated reporting with access to retirement industry focused resources.

About one-third of all private sector, full-time US workers lack access to a retirement plan1 and many reasons for not implementing is due to complexity. Passport401k is an all-inclusive plan and investment design product that is low cost and simple to administer—making it easier for small businesses to provide a quality plan to their employees.

 

"Having the technology resources to support IFP in providing this solution to their advisors is core to our innovation and service minded values. We want to assist advisors with smart solutions that are supported by their home office while also encouraging small business owners to support retirement readiness."

– Blake Willis, CCO and Head of Sales.
 

"We are excited about this partnership with July Business Services as it will provide our advisors access to a cost-effective integrated platform built for the underserved micro-to-small retirement plan market delivering both 401(k) and Cash Balance plan capabilities. According to various industry resources over 90% of all 401(k) plans have less than $10 million in assets and 100 employees. We feel our multidisciplinary service model opportunities serving small business owners and their retirement plans and employees are exponential and unlimited."

– Jeff Acheson, Chief Business Development Officer – Independent Financial Partners
 

To learn more about IFP’s Passport401k program, please visit  https://ifp.passport401k.com/.

1 US Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

About JULY

JULY is a leading retirement plan provider that supports financial advisors and their clients by delivering successful retirement plan strategies through its fully independent, open-architecture retirement plan recordkeeping platform and plan administration services. JULY brings unbiased, expert knowledge to all facets of the retirement plan process including customized plan design, leading technology, and hands-on implementation and management of the plan.

Our team understands that retirement is the number one reason for individual investing, and for many investors, company-sponsored savings and investment plans are the foundation of their retirement savings strategies. Our role in assisting organizations to offer employee retirement plans is fundamental to our mission – "Building Retirement Security". Please visit https://www.julyservices.com for more information.

About Independent Financial Partners:

Independent Financial Partners (IFP) is a registered investment adviser, broker-dealer, and insurance agency providing technological, compliance, marketing, business development, and operational support to its network of over 200 financial advisors. Founded in 2000 by William E. Hamm, Jr., IFP operated as a hybrid RIA and OSJ for 19 years before launching its own broker-dealer in 2019. IFP offers a platform for truly independent financial advisors, one built on choice, transparency, and advisor feedback. Please visit http://ifpartners.com for more information

 

Handshake  Protected: ASPPA Designations   

 

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Handshake  JULY Announces Merger / Acquisition Transaction with Summit   

 

Waco, Texas, July 31, 2019 – July Business Services (JULY), an independently owned, national retirement plan recordkeeping and administration firm has entered into a merger and acquisition transaction with Summit Benefit Solutions, Inc. (Summit).

Summit, founded in 1999 and headquartered in Mansfield, Ohio, provides high quality retirement plan recordkeeping, administration, and payroll services to small and mid-sized companies across the Midwest.  Both firms have roots that developed from regional CPA firms and operate under a strong set of guiding principles.

“Joining JULY is a great opportunity to build on the services we currently offer our clients.  As our two firms integrate over the next year, it will allow us to improve the technology and online capabilities for our employers, advisors, and participants,” states Sheri Baker, President of Summit.  “We’re excited to increase the capabilities we offer to our advisors by leveraging JULY’s dedicated advisor sales team, and marketing and educational resources.”

With this transaction, JULY has over 4,000 clients, $3.8B in plan assets, and 100,000 retirement plan participants.  In addition, JULY expands its presence in the Midwest with an office location in Mansfield, Ohio, and a stronger client and advisor base in the region.

“We are very excited about the transaction with Summit as it helps both of our firms fulfill key initiatives and goals.   Summit’s clients will benefit from JULY’s strong technology capabilities, and the transaction allows JULY to take another step in achieving our strategic growth plan.  In addition, JULY will benefit greatly from increased leadership capacity and an experienced group of service-minded employees.  Sheri Baker brings 20 years of industry experience to our firm, has joined JULY as an owner, and now serves as our Chief Financial Officer,” said JULY’s CEO, John Humphrey.

About JULY:

JULY is a leading retirement plan provider that supports financial advisors and third-party administrators to deliver successful retirement plan strategies through its fully independent, open-architecture retirement plan platform.  JULY brings unbiased, expert knowledge to all facets of the retirement plan process including customized plan design, leading technology, and hands-on implementation and management of the plan.  Please visit www.julyservices.com for more information.

   

Handshake  JULY Announces Purchase of 401kDIRECT   

 

Waco, Texas, June 19, 2019 – July Business Services (JULY), an independently owned, national retirement plan recordkeeping and administration firm has entered into an agreement to acquire 401kDIRECT. Headquartered in Campbell, California, near San Jose, 401kDIRECT provides retirement plan recordkeeping services to small and mid-sized 401(k) plans.

“Joining JULY will greatly benefit our clients, as it will allow us to raise our services to the next level,” states David Wade, CEO of 401kDIRECT. “We’re looking forward to taking advantage of JULY’s resources and scale to ensure that current and future clients receive the support and technology needed for their qualified retirement plans.”

With the completion of this acquisition, JULY has taken a step in its strategic growth plan and is poised to continue its mission of Building Retirement Security.

“We are excited about the acquisition of 401kDIRECT as it complements our strategic growth plan and high-touch service model. Like JULY, David Wade has worked hard to build an advisor-focused retirement business that provides high quality services to small and closely held businesses. This acquisition expands JULY’s presence on the West Coast and aligns with the work that our Regional Sales Team is already doing there. We are excited about new and expanded relationships with 401kDIRECT’s clients and advisors.” said JULY’s CEO, John Humphrey.

About JULY

JULY is a leading retirement plan provider that supports financial advisors and third party administrators to deliver successful retirement plan strategies through its fully independent, open-architecture retirement plan platform. JULY brings unbiased, expert knowledge to all facets of the retirement plan process including customized plan design, leading technology, and hands-on implementation and management of the plan. Please visit www.julyservices.com for more information.

Handshake  Healthy Habits for Your 401(k)   

 

You probably know how important it is to keep your body healthy. Habits like eating right, exercising, and taking vitamins will help you maintain your health. Did you also know that adopting some healthy financial habits can help you keep your retirement planning in good shape?

 

Measure Performance Regularly

At least once a year, take a look at how your investments have performed. Make sure to check both recent and long-term performance. If your investments have experienced some short-term losses, don’t panic. Temporary performance fluctuations are a normal part of investing.
A good way to determine how well your portfolio has performed is to look at the performance of similar investments. Compare your returns to the returns of a comparable benchmark index. If an investment’s return is consistently much lower than that of its benchmark index, it may be time to consider making a change.

Check Portfolio Weightings

Has your asset allocation shifted? You may need to rebalance your portfolio if one investment type represents a much higher — or lower — percentage of your portfolio than you had intended. Also, make sure that your asset allocation still reflects your risk tolerance. As you near retirement, you may find that you want to move some of your money into more conservative investments.

Find Out About New Options

Has your plan added any new investment options this year? If it has, see if any of them would work with your portfolio and benefit your retirement goals. It’s possible that a new investment option may be a good fit for your risk tolerance and long-term goals.

Get Up to Date with Designations

Think about how your life has changed over the past year. Has there been a marriage, birth, death, or divorce in your family? A major life event could affect your retirement plan. You may need to change your beneficiary designations, especially if your spouse has died or you’ve remarried. Since your beneficiary is the person (or persons) who will receive the funds in your retirement plan account, it’s important that your designations are up to date.

Figure Out Financial Fitness

Are you on track to reach your financial goals? If you’re worried that you won’t be able to accumulate enough money to provide you with a comfortable lifestyle during retirement, you may need to start making some changes. Adopting healthier financial habits now may help you have a financially fit future.

Handshake  Keeping Up with the C-Corps   

 

The New 20% Pass-Through / Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction May Offer Tax Relief for Your Small Business Client

The Stage
Initially, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 allowed for generous tax cuts for larger corporations but provided few incentives for the owners of smaller businesses (owners of Partnerships, S-Corporations, and Sole Proprietorships). This new deduction aims to levelize the income tax rates of small company owners with the new lower corporate rates.

The Basics
The new 20% Pass-Through / Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction is an income tax deduction of 20% of QBI reduced by §179 depreciation deductions.  This deduction is passed through to an individual owner who pays any tax due. 

The Magic Number
When an owner’s preliminary household taxable income is less than $315,000 and the pass-through income is less than $315,000, the owner deducts 20% of the lesser of these two.

The Opportunity
When a pass-through business contributes to a retirement plan, the owner’s preliminary household taxable income decreases. Business owners wanting to structure retirement plan contributions to get below the $315,000 limit may consider a profit sharing contribution. However, a Cash Balance Plan may be the best fit for those needing to make larger retirement plan contributions. See Example Strategies below for additional plan design ideas. And know we are here to assist you.

The Savings Calculation
When an owner’s preliminary household taxable income is less than $315,000 and the pass-through income is less than $315,000, the owner deducts 20% of the lesser of these two.

Above $315,000 the calculation is more complex.  Specified Service Trades or Businesses (SSTBs) over $315,000 are stricter in allowing deductions than other pass-through businesses.  Details on this calculation are attached.

The pass-through deduction is a permanent 20% tax savings.  Unlike retirement plan contributions, for which tax is deferred (they will generally be taxed when funds are later withdrawn or converted to Roth), this deduction is permanent. 

Examples of Strategies to Consider
Example 1:  A pass-through business owner for whom preliminary household taxable income and pass-through income are both $415,000 (all taxable income comes from this pass-through source).  By causing the business to adopt a retirement plan, especially a cash balance plan, if the business funded a retirement plan contribution of $100,000, preliminary household taxable income would now be $315,000, and 20% of pass-through income could be deducted.  (This may not exceed 20% of the owner’s preliminary household taxable income reduced by capital gains).  For a cash outlay of $100,000, taxable income would drop $163,000, which is calculated as the $100K cash balance contribution + (20% of $315K being passed through).

When the pass-through business income is in the $315K – $415K range (less if not married filing jointly) this principal applies on the income in the $315K – $415K range.  When the presence of a new retirement plan deduction could get a higher business income figure down into this range this also applies.

Example 2:  A business owner with $140K of pass-through business income and $124K of preliminary household taxable income could deduct only 20% of $124K.  This person could increase taxable income by with a $20,000 in-plan Roth conversion, raising taxable income to $144,000.  While this initially increases income $20K, the increased 20% deduction means that taxable income increases only $16K.

A person with pass-through business income but lower household taxable income can deduct only 20% of preliminary household taxable income.  In this case the QBI deduction can be increased by increasing income.  A common way to consider doing this is to make an in-plan Roth conversion, increasing taxable income, and thereby allow the full 20% QBI deduction.  The in-plan Roth conversion would normally be fully taxable.  This allows a 20% deduction on the conversion.

When an owner’s pass-through income is relatively low, as could easily happen for a person with a regular job but also some consulting or freelance on the side, helpful steps may include ensuring any deferrals are Roth, considering after-tax (rather than pre-tax) contributions, and considering an in-plan Roth conversion.  Either of these would normally boost pass-through income and taxable income, pushing the QBI deduction upward.

  

  Click for a more detailed Q&A on the Sec. 199A pass-through deduction.  

  Click to view a helpful flowchart.

For more information contact your Tax Advisor or your JULY Client Service Manager.

This article is for general information and does not constitute tax or legal advice. Those needing such advice should contact those who provide such services.