DPL Financial Partners, the Louisville, Ky.-based firm that links fee-only advisors and RIAs with resources related to low-cost, no-load annuities, is now offering all its members full access to an innovative personality assessment tool that zeroes in on clients’ specific retirement income preferences.

It’s called the “Retirement Income Style Awareness” tool,  and it weds the work of a number of industry veterans. (They call it “RISA,” for short.)

David Lau, DPL’s founder and CEO, was chief operating officer at annuity provider Jefferson National before launching DPL as a way of connecting financial professionals (and their clients) with commission-free annuities. The Retirement Income Style Awareness tool is the brainchild of Wade Pfau, the author of the Retirement Planning Guidebook and a former professor of retirement income at the American College of Financial Services, and Alex Murguia, CEO of Retirement Researcher and a managing director at Tysons, Va.-based McLean Asset Management.

Lau said in a press release that the tool combines client-level insights and DPL’s commission-free annuity solutions, empowering "advisors to deliver customized income strategies that are resonating with clients and reflecting a fiduciary approach to retirement planning.”

The style awareness tool generates custom profiles that identify the most appropriate retirement-income solutions for every client. It starts with a simple questionnaire that blends psychology and financial planning expertise to weigh a variety of important factors related to a respondent’s feelings about security and flexibility, as well as their reliance on market returns and preferences for contractual guarantees. The online questionnaire can be completed in less than 20 minutes, and it helps define each client’s tolerance for income risk during the decumulation phase of their retirement.

The tool then generates a custom report that can guide advisors through a range of options tailored for the clients, helping the clients choose what’s best suited to their unique needs and preferences.

Among the retirement income solutions that may be recommended by the profile are commission-free, fiduciary-friendly annuities.

“It's important to align clients with strategies that work for their unique personalities,” said Bob Witt, a DPL member and financial advisor with Savant Wealth Management in Lincolnshire, Ill., in a statement. “The solution that looks best on paper might not be one they’re able to stick with during tough times.”

Witt was part of last fall’s initial release of the style awareness tool to a small group of DPL members.

In general, advisors will use the tool as a first step in the planning process to help clients meet their retirement income goals or to validate current plans. The latter use is especially key during market volatility. The tool should also be effective for advisors seeking to attract new clients, since it demonstrates an advisor’s ability to personalize retirement planning.

The style awareness tool should change the retirement income conversation for advisors and their clients, said Murguia in the press release.

The profile developed by the style awareness tool doesn’t always indicate the need for annuities, of course. But when the results indicate a client’s high desire for the safety and security of guaranteed income, asset protection, or a mix of the two, it may certainly steer advisors toward considering certain annuity options.

DPL members have access to a marketplace of vetted, fee-only annuity solutions to fulfill such strategies.

“With DPL, we have a partner to bring the [tool’s] profile to more RIAs and clients looking for personalized retirement income solutions,” Murguia continued. “We’ve gotten great feedback from DPL members so far and will continue to learn from their experiences as we develop the RISA marketplace.”