Lincoln Financial Revamps Small-Business Service Models

Lincoln Financial Group’s Retirement Plan Services business is making key enhancements to its Lincoln Director employer-sponsored retirement plan program for small-business clients.

The Lincoln Director program is a retirement solution for adviser and third-party administrator (TPA)-serviced plan sponsors focused on 401(k) plans with assets of up to $10 million.

“When we looked at our Retirement Power Participant Engagement Study, we realized the importance of in-person advice to retirement plan participants. This is also important to small-business owners. We have a focus on the small-business market and advisers that serve that market,” Jamie Ohl, president of Retirement Plan Services at Lincoln Financial Group, tells PLANADVISER.

The program now offers a deeper, non-proprietary investment universe, made up of more than 250 revenue-neutral investment options in nearly 60 different asset categories, represented by 40 fund families. It also includes a broad range of qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) options, including eight target-date and risk-based series and Stadion’s new managed account solution, StoryLine.   

These enhancements will provide plan sponsors and their advisers with one of the largest investment option universes in the industry to choose from as they customize their small-market retirement plan offerings. “With the enhanced Lincoln Director program, advisers now have unprecedented access to investment options for their small-business clients, at a level typically available only to large institutional plans,” says Tim Seifert, vice president of External Wholesale for Lincoln Financial Distributors.

Siefert tells PLANADVISER Lincoln has actively listened to advisers to fully understand their needs and the needs of their clients—advisers are active with education and want to grow their businesses in the face of tough regulatory reforms. Seifert notes that the one-on-one guidance for participants will come from advisers.

COMING UP: New cost structure and continued fiduciary help

He says plan sponsors can access the solution through their adviser or TPA, and he points out that the solution is now offered to plans with up to $10 million in assets, when it was previously offered to plans with up to $5 million in assets.

“We enhanced the product with greater funds, simple and transparent fees and a high level of fiduciary coverage. That is what we kept hearing from advisers that plan sponsors wanted, in addition to high touch educational tools with Lincoln,” Siefert says.

The new cost structure of the Lincoln Director program provides a simple, transparent and level fee environment, making it easy for advisers, small-business owners and their participants to understand the cost of their retirement plan. Michael Conte, vice president and Small Market Business Leader, Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group, says the investment universe is completely revenue neutral—no 12b-1 a or sub-TA fees.

The enhanced program also provides plan sponsors with access to fiduciary support and solutions from Morningstar Investment Management LLC that provide 3(21) and/or 3(38) fiduciary services, giving advisers and plan sponsors the ability to select the level of fiduciary support needed.

“This is just one more arrow in the quiver we can offer advisers to help participants save for retirement,” concludes Ohl.

For more information about the Lincoln Director retirement plan enhancements and program, visit: