Data and Research

Retirement Specialists Outperform Peers

Retirement specialist advisers are more successful than other consulting segments at earning high client satisfaction ratings and increasing key retirement readiness metrics, new research shows.

By John Manganaro | February 24, 2014
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According to a study from the industry advocacy group Retirement Advisor Council, “Partner with a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor and Achieve Higher Participant Retirement Readiness Scores,” working with a financial adviser entirely dedicated to retirement plans gives plan sponsors an edge over peers who do not do so. The study compares retirement specialist advisers with two other broadly defined channels—benefits consultants and investment consultants—that are regularly engaged by retirement plans.

Many findings in the report’s underlying survey suggest the advantage of working with a retirement specialist over other types of consultants, Steven LaValley, second vice president of retirement services at MassMutual Financial Group, tells PLANADVISER. LaValley’s firm, along with a number of others, cosponsored the research with the Retirement Advisor Council.

Perhaps the most telling statistic, LaValley says, is that out of all employers reached for the survey who reported having an existing service arrangement with a retirement specialist, 60% say their adviser is doing an “excellent” job supporting plan operations, and 40% say their adviser is doing a “good” job. In other words, not a single plan sponsor reached for the survey gave a retirement specialist adviser a “bad” or “fair” overall rating.

LaValley says that a substantial achievement gap is apparent across every service area measured by the survey, showing that retirement specialists are the best at what they do. “Clients of professional retirement plan advisers are much more likely to strongly agree that their plan is easy to administer, and that they can spend reasonable amounts of time and expense running the plan,” LaValley says.