Michael Habermann and Rick Thill, retirement benefit consultants at Associated Bank’s Minnetonka branch, were recently recognized among the Financial Times Top 401 Retirement Advisers of 2015.

The Financial Times (FT) is one of the world’s leading business news organizations, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity, accuracy and for providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community. The list recognizes the top financial advisers who specialize in serving defined contribution (DC) retirement plans. The average FT 401 adviser has 18 years of experience advising DC plans and manages $770 million in DC plan assets.

To qualify for the award, Habermann and Thill had to apply through FT. All of their business must have been related to retirement plan consulting. They must also be in good standing with regulators, have advanced designations, verifiable retirement client relationships, and client/asset growth year-over-year.

 “This inaugural edition of the FT 401 list highlights the variety among elite DC plan advisers, hailing from all over the U.S., and representing both the largest brokerages and small, independent shops,” said Loren Fox, director of Ignites Research and head of the FT 401 ranking. “Roughly 92% of FT 401 advisers have advanced industry designations, such as the CFP, AIF, or the CIMA. Such credentials are increasingly important in the DC plan market, where advising these plans is becoming increasingly specialized.”

Habermann and Thill were invited to attend FT’s award ceremony on Thursday, May 28 and each received a plaque in their names to highlight their achievement.

“I am truly honored to receive this award,” said Habermann. “I am grateful to work for an organization that empowers their employees to ensure that our clients’ needs are always being met, while delivering outstanding service.  Associated provides me the tools, support, and training to deliver on each client promise.”

“We are excited with the recent acquisition of Ahmann-Martin Financial Services and the additional resources it will allow us to deliver to our clients,” said Thill. “When we combine our capabilities with Associated Trust’s retirement plan services, we’ll be able to fulfill any of the needs a client may have, and be a formidable presence in the retirement services marketplace across Associated’s entire service area.”