2012 Adviser Experience Survey

By Alison Cooke Mintzer See Archive >
2012 Adviser Experience Survey
Andrew Bannecker
Research: The PLANADVISER Adviser Experience Survey gives advisers a detailed and transparent window into how their practices, strategies and structures stack up against those of their peers—equipping plan advisers with the insights needed to examine policies, make improvements and stay ahead of competitors.
Methodology: In July, approximately 9,800 PLANADVISER magazine subscribers were asked to respond to a 56-question survey, developed by the PLANADVISER editorial and research teams. From that, 602 responses were received from qualified plan advisers. The questions included in the survey pertained to the size and scope of the advisers' qualified plan business, practice management, compensation, client services and assessments of defined contribution (DC) providers and investment managers. The provider assessment results were published in the September/October issue of PLANADVISER.

Respondent Profile

Total assets under advisement

Average$630.2 million$8.28 billion
Median$100.0 million$200.0 million

Adviser firm affiliation

National full-service wirehouse 17.7%15.1%-14.8%
Independent broker/dealer (B/D) 26.4%26.0%-1.7%
Regional broker/dealer 5.2% 3.2% -37.6%
Insurance or bank broker/dealer 9.9% 8.2% -17.1%
Registered investment adviser (RIA)18.8%19.7%4.6%
Dually registered (RIA and B/D) 15.1%17.2%13.7%

Total retirement plan assets under advisement

Average$3.61 billion
Median $130.0 million

Number of qualified plan clients

Less than 1016.6%17.1%2.9%
10 to 20 19.1%17.5%-8.4%
21 to 40 17.3%19.7%14.1%
41 to 60 17.0%14.4%-15.2%
61 to 75 5.1% 7.1% 39.1%
More than 7524.9%24.2%-2.9%

Table of Contents

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Respondent Profile
  • Total assets under advisement
  • Adviser firm affiliation
  • Total retirement plan assets under advisement
  • Number of qualified plan clients
Practice Structure
  • Your practice is
  • Do you serve as broker of record on retirement plans?
  • Are you personally involved in evaluating and recommending fund choices in an advisory capacity with your qualified plan clients?
  • Do you have a written business plan that governs your practice?
  • Are you a fiduciary to clients' plans?
  • Are you a fiduciary to plan participants?
Broker/Dealers and Custodians
  • Primary benefits received from broker/dealer
  • Most common broker/dealers
  • How do you feel about your broker/dealer?
  • Most common custodians for RIAs
Marketing and Service Models
  • On average, how often do you communicate/meet with plan participants in the following ways?
  • How often do you meet with plan sponsors to discuss the following?
Marketing and Service Models
  • Where do you find most of your new clients?
  • Plan services offered as part of retainer or annual service
  • Average annual charge for services to retirement plans, by plan size
  • How fees are disclosed to plan sponsor clients
  • How advisers are paid for qualified plan business
  • Average division of revenue