We wanted to recognize 25 individual advisers who had a big book of business in terms of assets under advisement (AUA). It has since grown to a list of 100 adviser individuals, teams and multioffice teams, collectively representing close to 300 of the best retirement plan advisers in the country.
The list is divided into three categories: individual adviser, adviser team or multioffice team. An individual adviser is one person serving one group of clients; a team is a group of two or more advisers in one office location who collectively serve one group of clients, sharing relationships and sales and using the same client support team; a multioffice team is a group of two or more advisers across multiple office locations who share support staff and follow the same guidelines and procedures to serve their clients. This year’s list includes 34 individuals, 50 teams and 16 multioffice teams, which can be seen here:
This year’s list highlights the quantitative standouts according to the dollar value of qualified plan assets under advisement as well as the number of plans under advisement. We also call attention to those who have more than 30% of their practice focused on 403(b), defined benefit (DB) or nonqualified plans.
This year’s qualification standards—which rise nearly every year—have escalated considerably since 2014’s. Individuals had to either serve 105 or more plans or have at least $750 million in AUA; teams needed to advise at least $2.25 billion in assets or a minimum of 145 plans; and multioffice teams needed to oversee $10 billion in plan assets or 400 or more plans.
To become eligible for this annual listing—which is based on purely quantitative measures—advisers had to either submit information and references for their practice or be nominated and enter the awards process for the 2015 PLANSPONSOR Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year*—individual, team or multioffice team. Award nominations were solicited online from retirement plan advisers; their employers and/or broker/dealers (B/Ds); plan sponsors; and working partners of the advisers such as investment vendors, accountants, attorneys and pension administrators. Nominees were then asked to complete a form to provide various details about their practice, some of which appear here. Advisers could also submit such information unsolicited, although not as a means to be considered for the awards. The PLANADVISER Top 100 is drawn solely from a smaller set of quantitative variables and information supplied by the advisers themselves.
*Due to the differences in evaluation factors, finalists for the PLANSPONSOR Retirement Plan Adviser, Adviser Team and Multioffice Team of the Year awards are not necessarily included in the “Top 100” listings.