A new study from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual) finds good news for financial advisors who want to build their retirement plan practices: nearly nine in 10 employers that sponsor a retirement plan would recommend their financial advisor to another employer.

“Overwhelmingly, retirement plan sponsors are pleased with the support they receive from their financial advisor and are more than willing to tell other employers,” said Tom Foster, national spokesperson and practice management leader for MassMutual’s retirement plan services. “It’s a great opportunity for advisors who want to build their retirement practices.”

The MassMutual Retirement Plan Referrals Study finds that 88 percent of plan sponsors would recommend their advisor, with 37 percent “very likely” to do so.  Only 10 percent said they were unlikely to make a recommendation, according to the study.

The study polled 565 employers that sponsor retirement plans, including 449 that worked with an advisor and 116 that did not, with retirement plan recordkeeping assets ranging from less than $1 million to as much as $75 million. The research was conducted in 2015 by Greenwald & Associates

What Sponsors Want

Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) sponsors find advisors through referrals, either by asking for a referral or receiving one unsolicited, the study shows. Although only 10 percent of sponsors search for advisors online, the study finds, those who do provide insights into what employers want most from an advisor. The top criteria for online advisor searches were:

·       72 percent wanted an advisor who works with companies similar to theirs;

·       47 percent looked for customer testimonials;

·       43 percent gravitated to an effective website;

·       41 percent focused on a good value proposition;

·       40 percent appreciated fees being clearly stated on the advisor’s website; and

·       29 percent wanted someone who is local in their area.