Study Shows Retirement Plans With Advisors Yield Better Results

Retirement plans
Retirement plan advisors help make the plan more efficient.

It almost seems to go without saying. Retirement plan advisors help retirement plans perform better. And that’s what a recent study by EACH Enterprise, LLC, and Transamerica Retirement Solutions Corporation has revealed.

A survey of retirement plan sponsors that work with an advisor found that over half of the sponsors’ plan participants were where they wanted to be with retirement planning. That’s a respectable margin. The majority of sponsors from the same group also reported an increase in deferral rates.

With a specialty comes expertise, and that what a retirement plan advisor brings. This focus helps the sponsors, the plan itself, and the participants who use it.

How the Study was Conducted

EACH Enterprise is a specialized, independent retirement plan research firm. Clients of EACH Enterprise include plan service providers and investment managers with varying markets, plan sizes, distribution channels, and asset classes, according to Transamerica’s press release, “Professional Retirement Plan Advisors Have Significant Impact on Retirement Plan Performance.”

A total of 407 plan sponsors received a survey questionnaire from EACH Enterprise between September 11 and September 24 of 2013. Among the sponsors were private-sector employers with 100 or more employees and 401(k) or 403(b) plans with $5 million to $500 million in assets. The sponsors were selected from over 3,000 plan sponsors.

Retirement plans
Advisors also help simplify plan administration.

What Retirement Plan Advisors Can Do

There are all sorts of financial advisors who can help you meet certain goals. But retirement plan advisors work toward improving the plan itself. They focus on retirement readiness, making plan administration simpler, and improving retirement outcomes, according to Marlene Y. Satter’s Benefits Pro article, “Plans with Professional Advisors Do Better.”

Advisors may use any number of methods to meet those goals, including offering auto enrollment for participants, increasing default deferral rates, says Satter. What’s important is that retirement plan advisors provide a valuable and specialized service that benefits the plan administrators and plan participants.

Retirement-Specific Advisors are Key

Financial advisors abound, but retirement plan advisors have a special niche. The EACH / Transamerica study explains that a professional advisor is one who works either mainly or exclusively with retirement plans.

The skill set that a professional advisor can bring helps improve retirement outcomes, but that’s only part of the story. Better outcomes happen by improving the steps that lead there. Advisors offer direction, improve plan performance, make creative adjustments as necessary, and make plan participation easier. And 90 percent of this study’s responders said their advisor helped simplify plan administration.

Retirement plan advisors offer much more than general guidance. They help retirement plans perform better by working from the inside out to enhance every element.

The primary goal of any advisor is improving the plan outcome. But the positive side-effect of reaching that goal includes higher participation, and a smoother overall process for the sponsor and the participants.

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