Providing better employer-sponsored retirement plans doesn’t necessarily require bigger matches or flashier new technology, a new study says.
It can be as easy as selecting a registered investment advisor to select that plan, according to the study from Jersey City, N.J.-based TD Ameritrade Institutional.
RIAs provide direct support for retirement plan sponsors at twice the rate of other advisors or plan administrators and are more likely to offer education services to plan sponsors, according to TD Ameritrade’s “2015 Plan Sponsor Sentiment Survey.”
RIAs are also twice as likely to offer individual advice to plan participants than other administrators, 64 percent more likely to offer investment advice, 60 percent more likely to advise on plan selection and design and 34 percent more likely to offer sponsors support with participant enrollment.
Higher levels of service may be translating to high levels of satisfaction for RIA administrators: 90 percent of plan sponsors give RIAs top marks for their knowledge of investment options and assistance in meeting fiduciary requirements, and over 80 percent of sponsors are satisfied with RIAs when it comes to advising participants and selecting administrators and record-keepers.
TD also found that RIAs have an opportunity to expand their market share: Just 28 percent of plan sponsors surveyed are using RIAs as an administrator. Sixty percent of plan providers are considering switching plan providers and are most likely to make the change to reduce fees or to access more diverse investment alternatives.
TD found that most retirement plans offer only mutual funds and that 27 percent of respondents said their plans offer target date or lifecycle funds. Only 15 percent allow participants access to ETFs.
Plan participants want help on investing, according to the survey. Forty-four percent of sponsors say their participants are hungry for one-on-one advice from an advisor, but only 27 percent of respondents said their plans offer access to an advisor.
TD’s study found that 62 percent of employer retirement plan sponsors don’t understand the implication of the DOL’s proposed fiduciary rules and more than half don’t understand proposed fiduciary compliance requirements.
TD Ameritrade surveyed 242 sponsors of plans with at least 25 employee participants in September and October of this year for the survey.