March 13th, 2020 · 3 min read
EYE ON: Competitive Benefits with Oasis Outsourcing With Maria Petroni of Oasis Outsourcing
Small and mid-size business owners are often hard pressed to provide competitive benefits to attract the talent they need to thrive. To help Chalice Network members understand how Oasis can help them through this impasse, we reached out to that firm’s in-house outsourcing maven, Maria Petroni.
Q. In overview, what services does Oasis provide independent financial-service providers?
A. Oasis provides a full-service professional employer organization, or PEO, platform that was previously reserved for larger employers — big corporations, usually. Traditionally, this kind of service was unavailable to independent financial-service providers. Our PEO platform includes access to world-class Fortune 500 benefit offerings, including medical, dental, vision, life insurance, & disability insurance. In addition you gain access to a robust 401K option, fully integrated payroll and human-resources services, employment practices liability insurance, and a lot more.
Q. Zeroing in on health insurance, what does the marketplace look like for independent financial advisors, especially in terms of the price and quality of coverage plans?
A. Medical insurance is by far the biggest struggle I see in the independent financial-service industry today. Traditionally, “owner only” firms cannot access any sort of fully funded group insurance plan whatsoever. Not even a small group plan. So they are left with individual insurance policies, or marketplace plans, that have high premiums, low coverage, and small networks.
Q. Following up on the last question, can Oasis-sourced medical benefits compete with the offerings of national and super-regional brokerage?
A. The loss of quality health insurance is the biggest reason advisors fear leaving the bigger shops and going out on their own as entrepreneurs. The insurance options you enjoy while working as an advisor at a large firm are large group, national, high-quality insurance that is subsidized by your employer. Generally, when you leave that behind, you become responsible for 100% of your health-insurance costs, and — again, generally — you can only access small, individual, lower quality and higher cost plans. Oasis breaks this template by providing independent advisors the same large group, national, high-quality coverage, just like they got at large firms. More important, we allow Chalice members with as little as one person (owner of the firm) access to these benefits through our program.
Q. Oasis also provides 401(k) plans to small advice firms at no cost to the employer. I the plan on offer as good as those big-firm employees get?
A. Absolutely, Oasis provides a comprehensive 401(k) program without administration or fiduciary requirements. We use Fidelity as our 401(k) custodian, and Slavic401K as third party administrator. The Oasis 401(k) plan allows business owners to structure their plan to meet their specific business needs while providing flexibility between a traditional 401(k) plan, or a safe-harbor option. Oasis also handles 100% of the administration, employee engagement, testing, 5500 filing, and takes on the trustee liability that goes along with having a 401K plan, making the entire process and experience seamless for owners and employees alike.
Q. How is Oasis able to provide such quality services at the discount prices one normally associates with large national firms?
A. It comes down to in-house expertise and economies of scale. Put simply, we’re able to leverage our size to access large-group insurance plans, 401(k) programs, payroll and HR technology, and more. So instead of a newly independent advisor going out to shop for payroll, insurance and a 401K plan as a single-person shop, the advisor can join Oasis and immediately take advantage of our size and strength. Ultimately, this positions independent advisors to attract and retain top talent with world-class benefits, mitigate risks that go with being an entrepreneur today, and focus on their core business.