Advisors' product recommendations for achieving retirement income can depend upon what channel they work in, according to Cogent Research’s Advisor-In Retirement Income report. 

Most broker-dealer advisors recommend products offered by insurance companies; registered investment advisors favor mutual funds; and advisors who work for national wirehouses are split between favoring products offered by insurance companies and brokerage firms, according to the survey.

Forty-six percent of RIAs favor retirement income products offered by a mutual fund company, according to the survey. Independent advisors (62 percent) and wirehouse advisors (46 percent) favor insurance company products.     

“Retirement income sources do vary somewhat by channel, with advisors in broker-dealer channels, particularly independent advisors, far more likely to rely on variable annuities compared to RIAs,” says Meredith Rice, executive project director at Boston-based Cogent Research and the report's author.

While advisors in the broker-dealer channel are most likely to trust insurance companies, RIAs have more confidence in mutual fund providers and are less likely to be interested in guaranteed income streams, Rice says.

“Advisors in the broker-dealer channel have had a stronger impression of insurance providers as a retirement income solution while RIAs have had a stronger impression of mutual funds providing a retirement income solution to clients,” Rice says.

Advisors in the national wirehouse and regional channels, says Rice, are more likely to use dividend-paying individual stocks than their peers in the other channels. 

Cogent’s online survey was conducted in mid-October 2012. Participating advisors had to have at least $25 million in assets under management and five years experience, with at least 25 percent of assets falling under retirement income planning services. The survey queried 418 advisors nationwide.