Small-Plan Market Can Be Big Opportunity

Time and resource management were named as key challenges to participating in the multi-billion dollar micro- to small-plan retirement market, a survey found.

Guardian Retirement Solutions hosted a series of G2 Summit events throughout the year for financial advisers looking to expand their 401(k) business. The Summits delved in practice management, and fiduciary and regulatory requirements. In a survey Guardian uncovered some information about how advisers view the micro and small-plan 401(k) market.

“On the whole, the G2 Summit survey responses validated our thoughts on how financial advisers view the micro-small plan retirement market, which is why we originally developed the series and the white paper,” Jason Frain, vice president of 401(k) product management and development, retirement solutions at The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, told PLANADVISER. “We were surprised that concerns about fiduciary requirements and government regulations were seen as less of a challenge than effectively managing time and resources. The G2 Summit presentations demonstrated that these challenges can be easily addressed by working with the right support partners and it definitely resonated with the financial advisers in attendance100% at each Summit said they were likely to take on more retirement business.”

Nearly 65% of survey participants believe there is a large opportunity in the micro-small plan 401(k) market. Fifty-one percent of survey respondents at the G2 Summits view time management as a key challenge to doing business in the retirement plan market. Resource management ((39%) was the next most often-cited challenge, followed by fiduciary responsibilities (27%) and government regulations (23%).

All respondents said they were likely to take on more micro-small plan 401(k) retirement business following the Summit after learning how the right support partners can help them effectively manage this business.

Financial professionals looking to expand their business see a large opportunity in the micro- to small-plan retirement market, according to a series of surveys conducted at Guardian Retirement Solutions 401(k) G2 Summits: Gain and Grow, which were interactive educational events for financial professionals.


Support Partners Are Key

At the end of each of the eight G2 Summits, all respondents said they were likely to take on more retirement business after learning how the right support partners can help them effectively manage this business. The events featured presentations by investment management firms, recordkeepers, third-party administrators, fiduciary support providers and financial behavioral experts.

More than 50 million Americans now participate in employer-sponsored 401(k) plans with assets totaling roughly $3 trillion. Ninety percent of all 401(k) plans are small businesses with less than $10 million in total plan assets and 80% of all 401(k) plans are in the micro market, holding less than $2.5 million in assets.

“Financial professionals don’t have to go it alone in the micro- to small-plan market,” said Steve Davis, national sales manager, Guardian Retirement Solutions. “With 401(k) assets expected to reach $4 trillion by 2015 the potential for financial professionals in this market is huge. Our post-event surveys revealed unanimous agreement among our financial professional audience that with the support of the right service providers, they can seize this opportunity to grow their business.”

Guardian Retirement Solutions and Pension Resource Institute have issued a white paper titled Leveraging Service Providers: Making 401(k) Business Scalable and Profitable. The white paper lays out actionable strategies for successfully navigating time and resource management challenges and outlines many of the techniques discussed by the retirement experts at the event.  A copy of the paper is available by contacting the Guardian Retirement Solutions sales team at 866.390.7268 (option #2) or at