Wealthier Participants Turn to Outside Advisers

Nearly two-thirds of retirement plan participants use a financial adviser to assist them in managing their plan investments, a survey found.

According to “Millionaire Corner,” a newsletter issued by Spectrem Group, which focuses on high-net-worth investors, of these, nearly one-fourth (23%) used an adviser not affiliated with their plan provider. Sixty percent said their adviser assists with their entire portfolio and not just their retirement investments. One-third use them as sounding boards before acting on their plan investment decisions.  

Full service brokers and independent financial planners are the types of advisers most often sought out by plan participants. Almost half of those using an out-of-plan financial adviser said they had an established relationship with that adviser before it expanded to include plan investments. An almost equal percentage said they had consulted their plan provider first, but determined that the level of assistance they wanted was not available to them.  

The largest proportion of participants (41%) said they have been working with their adviser for 3.5 years. More than one-third of these investors talk or email their out-of-plan adviser monthly, while more than 60% contact them quarterly or even less frequently. A majority (56%) said they had conducted an in-depth review of their complete portfolio within the previous six months. Nearly half of respondents using an out-of-plan adviser reported they had purchased investment products or paid for a financial plan over the previous year.   

The survey found client satisfaction with these advisers is high, with 90% of respondents who use them stating they have confidence that their out-of-plan adviser fully understands their objectives and 83% confident that by working with their adviser they have become more knowledgeable investors. Eighty percent said working with their adviser helped them to earn a higher rate of return than they would have without the out-of-plan assistance.