Challenge or opportunity?

Broker-dealer leaders discuss the future of plan advice and the participant experience

Jul 20, 2019 @ 6:00 am

By Ellie Zhu

Brock Johnson, president, global retirement and workplace solutions, 
Morningstar Investment Management

“We have so much more data today. Broker-dealers and advisers in the past might have been trying to provide scalable advice in a way, saying, here's a model portfolio. But now it can be really personalized to the individual. … We have a managed account solution, as an example, that provides very personalized advice. We now allow the adviser to play an active role in that solution, when in the past they couldn't.”

John Peters, senior business development consultant, retirement consulting services, Commonwealth Financial Network

“RPAs should have a story that's personal, whether it's something that affected them personally, their family, a client, anything where they can encapsulate why they do what they do, why they get up in the morning, why they serve retirement plans and the participants. So that plan sponsor or that prospect goes, 'Wow.'”

Taylor Hammons, head of retirement plans, Kestra Financial

“One opportunity is to really work with the retirement plan adviser, because he's the adviser who's currently servicing 10, 20, 30, maybe even 100 or more retirement plans that have the benefit of covering hundreds, if not thousands, of individual plan participants. He's the one who has the opportunity to get up in front of that audience and help them understand not only what they need to be doing from an accumulation phase, but more importantly what do they do at that point when it's time to take a distribution.”

Scott D. Smith, head of wealth management services, HighTower Advisors

“We can best help advisers by enabling them to work as a fiduciary with the clients, where they can be free from the other restrictions they might otherwise face, not knowing all the other alternatives in terms of plan-based fees or investment alternatives.”

Valarie Vest, vice president, fiduciary service, Cambridge Investment Research

“Technology is evolving customer expectations. They are changing at the speed of light. And, we know from research that these evolving client expectations are not just impacting all the industries around us, they're also impacting the retirement plan industry. The opportunity for RPAs is to really meet those needs and help set them apart long-term.”

Jesse Taylor, assistant vice president, marketing, RPAG

“What we're looking at right now for advisers are custom solutions that they can't get anywhere else, that their competitors can't get and that they are the only ones in their marketplace that can deliver. That might be a turnkey 3(38) solution, that might be custom price CITs of some of the best money managers out there. We're trying to find solutions that advisers can differentiate themselves from at the sales point, while also helping them be more efficient in their service capabilities.”

Doug Murray, senior vice president, retirement strategic growth and partnership, Voya Financial

“There is so much focus in our industry on total financial wellness. People are looking at things outside of retirement plans that get in the way of that, whether it's student loans or health care or ... being a caregiver to a disabled person. If one in five U.S. employees are caregivers, which is what the statistics show, this is a big population that needs more help.”

Mark Dence, accounts manager, 
Capital Group | American Funds

“Advisers are facing a challenge in the DC marketplace around ensuring that their business has a process and there's proper oversight, not only for one plan they do, but maybe they're doing 10 or 12. It's making sure that that oversight is consistent across all of their plans. … It's a need for consistency both for the plan sponsor and often for the employer.

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