Average or Exceptional? 11 Ways For Retirement Plan Advisors To Know Where They Stand

Amid endless competition and the ever-growing needs of existing clients, Retirement Plan Advisors are faced with navigating a newly volatile financial landscape. Thriving in this world requires setting yourself apart. But with increasing demands on advisors’ already limited time, and sponsors hungry for meaningful guidance and support, it can be difficult to know what to focus on. 

For the advisor looking to stay ahead of the game, you first need to know where you stand. We filtered through some of this year’s most impactful reports to see what advisors are prioritizing right now. Take a look and ask yourself: are you staying in familiar territory or are you looking ahead?

  1. “25% of advisors find it difficult to displace incumbents1.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: If you knew more about prospective clients’ plans, do you think you could win their business?

  2. “23% of advisors find it difficult to manage scale1.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: How much could your practice grow with a team of qualified plan experts at your fingertips?

  3. “97% of advisors are focused on cutting clients’ administrative burden1.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: What administrative solutions do you currently recommend to your clients? Could you add something new to differentiate yourself?

  4. “97% of advisors emphasize the importance of minimizing their clients’ fiduciary risk1.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: Can you offer your clients new plan designs that could help them minimize risk?

  5. “Over 35% of advisors say that the biggest mistake plan sponsors make is not understanding what they are paying for when it comes to their retirement plans1.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: Could you illustrate this information to help plan sponsors understand? What if you had a tool that could do so quickly, elegantly, and with minimal effort?

  6. The top five reasons that advisors consider when it comes to selecting recordkeepers are: “value for price, website tools for participants, fee structure for the plan, investment options available and website tools for plan sponsors2.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: Arm yourself with the information needed to answer all of your clients’ questions for each of the five top reasons.

  7. “The top five reasons advisers consider when selecting an asset management firm are: performance against benchmarks, five-year return, Sharpe ratio, manager tenure and fee structure for plan2.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: Revisit your prioritization strategy. Is the criteria you’ve developed leading your search for the right asset management partners?

  8. “401k and other defined contribution plans will be a major growth driver of ESG investing over the next decade, due to a shift in investor demographics and a pivot by asset managers3.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: How are you preparing to help your clients navigate ESG investment options?

  9. “About 58% of 401(k) contributions are directed to TDFs, and that’s projected to increase to more than 80% by 20234.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: What opportunities or challenges could this bring to your practice? Gain deeper knowledge on TDFs to help your clients make the right decisions for their participants.

  10. “Deloitte estimates millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Two-thirds of millennials say they’d increase their 401k contributions if they knew their investments were doing social good5.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: Map out a few strategies for your clients to help them satisfy the contributions of a changing workforce.

  11. “18% of plan sponsors want to hire a new advisor6.” Reasons why they’re looking for a new advisor might include “(1) a need for a more knowledgeable advisor; (2) too many servicing issues with their recordkeeper; and (3) not enough support for employee education7.”

    CHALLENGE YOURSELF: Do you have processes in place to continuously gain industry knowledge, handle recordkeeper issues and provide employee education?

These stats reinforce what we’ve seen in the industry: the number one priority for retirement plan advisors is to grow their practice. However, most are finding it difficult to juggle the hunt for new opportunities with the need to deliver more for their existing clients.  

Targeting the right opportunities, bringing them more meaningful insights, and establishing yourself as an industry authority could be the shift you’ve been looking for. Our team can help you access the tools and the expertise to make that happen. 

Explore how the O3 Edge suite can help grow your practice and take you—and your clients—where you want to go. Learn more.




4 Cerulli Associates

5 Natixis survey

6 Fidelity Investments, 10th annual Plan Sponsor Attitudes Survey