The Next Twenty-Five:
A Q&A With Forrest Knowles, President, Qualified Retirement Plan Services, Inc.
In 1992, Forrest Knowles joined the company his father, Ross Knowles, started in 1988 when he acquired a book of business from an insurance broker. Working at the family kitchen table, Knowles senior built on that small beginning.
Because QRPS is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, an accomplishment many businesses don’t achieve, Forrest and his team are reflecting on the company’s longevity and refining their plans for future success.
What significant changes have you and QRPS seen over the last 25 years?
When my father retired in 2001, QRPS had experienced consistent growth and success. As its new president, I made a strategic decision to focus the business on plan design and documentation, compliance and plan administration.
A generation ago, many businesses like ours could satisfy their clients’ needs by generating the reports they required. Often this happened on an annual basis. We have grown to become a company focused on customer service, so instead of serving our clients once a year, we have weekly touch points. We help support their payroll operations, we offer a variety of communications tools they can use to inform and educate their plan participants. Anyone can generate a report; our approach is to support our clients in much more essential ways.
With QRPS since 1993, Bob Hurd, a Vice President and our Director of Operations, has been our manager of change. Bob helps us embrace new technology and guides our internal growth.
What milestones illustrate QRPS’s success?
In 2005, we created a new position - Director of Advisor Services—and hired Peter Josselyn, who also serves as a Vice President. Pete’s expertise has allowed us to be more proactive in the way our advisors can support their clients. His presence has been an essential factor in our success.
All of us at QRPS are especially proud that we are an ASPPA Certified Recordkeeping Firm and have attained the CEFEX designation (Center for Fiduciary Excellence). We went through a rigorous qualification process that looked at our client relationships, our employee relationships, our business practices, our leadership succession plan and financial stability. This certification confirms that QRPS is part of an elite group of the best retirement organizations in the country.
What does the future hold?
We’ll continue to stay abreast of technology and legislative changes in our industry. We’ll continue to find new ways to meet our clients’ needs. We started out as a regional company, proud that all our clients were a three-hour drive away. And now we’re excited to be reaching clients beyond that radius and about our growing national reputation.
I’m confident we have the experience and expertise, and the right team in place, to remain strong in an ever-changing environment. QRPS is very well positioned to serve our clients and partners for the next twenty-five years.