Survey of the Retirement Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for DC-Focused Advisor

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Key Findings

  • Two years ago, advisors were far less sanguine than sponsors about plan participants’ retirement readiness. Those views have begun to converge, with advisors less pessimistic and sponsors less optimistic. Both advisors and sponsors see the need to improve retirement outcomes for plan participants
  • In tandem with evolving views of retirement readiness, sponsors are beginning to see participant education as an aspect of financial wellness
  • Sponsors are looking for expert guidance on a broader range of issues than two years ago, including alternative plan structures, cybersecurity, financial wellness and special needs caregivers
  • Sponsors still are behind the curve in using risk-assessment tools to gauge the suitability of investments. They will need advisors to fill this gap
  • Sponsors do not always recognize the services advisors provide, potentially leading to confusion about what sponsors get for the fees they pay. Advisors need to communicate their added value more effectively
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1 Survey question to plan sponsors: How prepared are your plan participants for retirement? Question to plan advisors: How prepared are plan participants for retirement?

2 Source: U.S. Census Bureau. “Americans with Disabilities: 2010.”

3 Source: Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 2011.

4 Source: Family Caregiver Alliance: Caregiver Statistics – Work and Caregiving, 2016.

5 Source: “Retirement Plan Cybersecurity Disclosure to Make Everyone Satisfied,” Rebecca Moore, PLANSPONSOR, April 10, 2019.

6 Sponsors: For which of the following retirement plan functions does your financial advisor offer or provide help? Advisors: To what extent do you offer or provide help with the following types of support for retirement plans that you work with?

7 Sponsors: Please rate your agreement with the following statements regarding your retirement plan. Advisors: Please rate your agreement with the following statements regarding working with retirement plans.

8 Sponsors: for which of the following retirement plan functions would you like your financial advisor to offer or provide help?

9 Sponsors: Which of the following are the most important to you in choosing an advisor to work with your retirement plan? Advisors: Which of the following types of support or benefits you provide is the most valued by your plan sponsors?

10 Sponsors: Which of the following best describes your advisor’s role in working with your retirement plan as an investment fiduciary? Advisors: Which of the following best describes your typical role in working with retirement plans as an investment fiduciary?

11 Sponsors: Which of the following has your plan advisor recommended or discussed with you? Advisors: When working with retirement plan sponsors, to what extent do you recommend the following?

12 Sponsors: How important do you believe the following are for you to focus on during the next two years? Advisors: During the next two years, how important is it to plan sponsors you work with to focus on the following?

13 Sponsors: In your own words, what are the most significant challenges you face as a retirement plan sponsor?

14 Sponsors: In your own words, what are the most significant challenges you face as a retirement plan sponsor? Advisors: In your own words, what are the most significant challenges you face in working with retirement plan sponsors?

15 Source: A Roadmap of the Financial Wellness Ecosystem, Corporate Insight, 2018, quoted in “Successful Financial Wellness Programs Go beyond Just Education,” PLANSPONSOR, April 10, 2019.

16 Source: “The shocking number of Americans who can’t cover a $400 expense,” Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post, May 25, 2016.

17 Source: For the Benefit of All: How Organizations Win When they Recognize and Support Caregivers and Employees with Disabilities, p.3, Voya Financial, 2019.