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DC advisors maintain a limited set of go-to providers, as they continue to recommend just 2.4 plan providers on average for prospective clients to consider. Remarkably, nearly one-third of DC advisors (32%) recommend only one plan provider to prospective clients, creating a daunting challenge for DC recordkeepers that are striving to gain advisors’ attention. Moreover, the implications of securing a spot on DC advisors’ consideration sets can be huge—as these advisors work with an average of just 2.7 plan providers for all of their DC business.
When asked about the specific reasons why they recommend particular firms, cost is the main reason cited by Established DC advisors (those managing $10 million or more in DC AUM). Meanwhile, Emerging DC advisors managing less than $10 million in DC AUM tend to gravitate toward firms they are already familiar with, citing existing relationships as their primary reason for recommending a specific provider.
So what can a firm do to break through and gain a position on an advisor’s recommended list? The answer lies in knowing which consideration drivers to leverage and understanding advisors’ perceptions of each provider. At the aggregate level, best-in-class plan sponsor service and support and reliability are the greatest catalysts to boosting DC plan provider consideration, and if perceived to be lacking, “easy for advisors to do business with” serves as the most formidable detractor. At the individual firm level, only a handful of providers are strongly associated with these key attributes, leaving the door open for challenger brands to make their mark in the DC industry.
While knowing which attributes drive plan provider consideration is critical, understanding how well your brand is currently performing on these attributes among plan advisors is of even greater importance. Contact us for a personalized review of your firm’s performance on these core metrics.
For more information on what’s included in the Retirement Plan Advisor Trends™ report, including the table of contents, list of exhibits and report methodology, review an overview.