The small company retirement plan opportunity still beckons to advisors, and AssetMark is offering them the tools to take advantage.

The Concord, Calif.-based advice and investment consultancy announced this month the launch of a business designed to help advisors bring the sophistication and customization of larger corporate retirement plans to smaller businesses.

Cathy Clauson, senior vice president of retirement solutions, notes that many of the advisors AssetMark works with already seek out and serve small and mid-sized business owners as clients.

“We do find that the bulk of our advisors work with or want to work with entrepreneurs and business owners,” says Clauson. “This is a natural next step for them.”

By offering a solution for smaller plans, AssetMark hopes to create synergies to help advisors expand their business and bring more assets onto AssetMark’s $39 billion investing platform, according to the company.

AssetMark’s offering will allow smaller firms and advisors new to defined-contribution plans easy access to the space, says Clauson.

“Many of these advisors are very comfortable working on the high-net-worth or affluent side of the business, but they’re not as comfortable working with the people who earn a salary or a wage and they’ve been afraid of the retirement plan space,” says Clauson. “We’re committing to helping them grow into this space.”

Unlike most small plan offerings, AssetMark will bundle recordkeeping and plan administration with its platforms, allowing advisors and sponsors to create a workplace retirement plan offering with a single point of contact and negotiation, according to the company.

The new business line will allow small plans to access AssetMark’s curated lineup of institutional mutual funds and model portfolios, the company says.

“The small plan space is dominated by insurance companies or payroll providers, and small plans tend to offer participants menus full of proprietary products because that is where these companies roll in their fees,” says Clauson. “With our offering, we’re moving towards fee transparency, which is where the market is already going. We’re nowhere near the lowest-cost provider, but we’re offering advisors and sponsors an option that’s thus far unique in the small plan space.”
 

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