TIAA-CREF IRA & Brokerage Managing Director Bill Griesser said expenses should not be the only consideration when an advisor decides whether a client should roll over funds from a 401(k) plan to an individual retirement account.

IRA fees can eat heavily into a retirement nest egg. However, Griesser said IRAs have options that defined contribution plans don’t offer and may deliver higher net returns.

The TIAA-CREF executive added IRAs often include managed accounts valued by many retail investors. “That type of discretionary management isn’t often offered by DC plans,” he noted.

Griesser’s comments came during and after an Insured Retirement Institute’s Government, Legal and Regulatory Conference panel on rollover regulatory developments.

At the Washington, D.C., event, the panelists pointed out that some broker-dealer firms have instructed their registered reps to avoid making rollover product recommendations to comply with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority guidance.

But Raymond James annuities chief Beth Maziad said it would be too harsh to tell brokers they can’t make any recommendations.

Prudential Annuities Chief Legal Officer Bill Wilcox concurred: “You can’t carve out this significant part of the client’s life.”

Rollovers from 401(k)s to IRAs amounted to $321 billion in 2012. IRAs account for about 28 percent of retirement assets and include balances totaling an estimated $6.2 trillion, compared with about $4 trillion in 401(k) plans.