Pre-retirees a great niche – but advisers not scratching

Failing to differentiate themselves to lucrative market segment, says consultant

May 2, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

By Lavonne Kuykendall

Financial advisers who want to develop retirement planning expertise need to bone up on topics that are top-of-mind with the pre-retiree set.

They might also want to invest in a new set of business cards.

Those are a few of the ideas shared by advisers who have developed large retirement planning practices, Gerri Leder of LederMark Communications said the InvestmentNews 2011 Retirement Income Summit in Chicago on Sunday.

As investors nearing retirement look to consolidate their savings with one adviser, standing out from the crowd is crucial, Ms. Leder said. “Differentiate your practice based on your specialized expertise to a market that is underserved and you will win against competition,” she said.

Among the topics that pre-retirees want to know about: Medicare, guaranteed-income products, trusts and long-term-care insurance, she said.

Advisers who have developed thriving retirement income planning practices say that a substantial percentage of their competitors “are just not focused on this area,” Ms. Leder said.

Some advisers obtain specialized retirement planning certifications to signal their expertise, though some advisers in the audience said that they found their certified financial planner designation was enough. But advisers should make retirement income planning a focus on their websites, and might want to add retirement planning to their business cards or print up a separate set of cards to give to pre-retiree prospects

.

Another way to attract clients who are near retirement is to demonstrate that you know the topic. Give speeches, write white papers or become a source for media stories, Ms. Leder suggested.

Contrary to conventional wisdom that retirement accounts are less desirable because they will rapidly shrink as clients spend down their assets, Ms. Leder said that pre-retirees frequently consolidate all their assets with one adviser, and bring in new assets, such as inheritances from their own parents, or real estate holdings that they plan to sell to help finance their golden years.

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