Dr. Gregory W. Kasten has a prescription for retirement savings worries.

A board-certified anesthesiologist, Kasten founded Unified Trust Co., a retirement plan management and wealth management firm, 30 years ago after he wasn’t satisfied with the investment advice he received.

“One thing hasn’t changed in 30 years,” says Kasten, who earned an MBA in finance from the University of Kentucky. “People are still overwhelmed by these financial decisions and most people don’t make good financial decisions. They need somebody that can be trusted to help them.”

Lexington, Ky.-based Unified Trust is one of the few independent trust companies serving as a discretionary fiduciary, which means it assumes responsibility and liability for selecting, monitoring and, if necessary, replacing plan assets.

“We take that burden on for people and they can trust us not because I say it, but because I can prove they can trust us,” Kasten says.

With clients in all 50 states, Unified Trust, which is chartered by the office of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, has some $4.4 billion in assets under management. It manages some 600 company retirement plans, comprising the retirement savings of 35,000 company employees, and manages about 1,700 individual financial planning accounts.

Kasten says he converted his original registered investment advisory firm to a discretionary trustee “when I realized people would be better off in the trust environment where you have bank exams, audits and dual controls and carry adequate capital and fiduciary liability insurance.”

Being a fiduciary, he says, “means we have to put the interests of the client first in everything we do. “ 

Before it accepts a retirement plan, Unified Trust looks at how many individuals in the plan are on track to retire successfully.

After Unified Trust’s processes are in place, it measures how they are doing. 

“In [the] U.S. about 25 percent, or 1 in 4 people, in a 401k plan are actually going to be able to replace their paycheck for life when they retire and 75 percent will fail,” Kasten says.

There are a lot of reasons, he says, from being in the wrong portfolio to not saving enough or failing to reallocate properly.

“We’ve measured close to 17,000 individual employees. The number on track to replace their paycheck in retirement was about 29 percent, close to the 25 percent nationally. After we install our processes the number on track is about 70 percent, more than double what it was before,” he says.

“We believe in what we do. We have data to convince us that we’re making a difference for these folks,” he says. 

Kasten says Unified Trust offers transparency in its fee structure.

“We’re not going to be the absolute cheapest, and we certainly won’t be the most expensive. We’ll generally be in about the middle,” he says. “What you can expect is a much better outcome.”

For more information on Unified Trust go to unifiedtrust.com