Client Service

Advisers Can Help Look for the Right Services from Recordkeepers

Recordkeepers provide a variety of services, and plan sponsors and advisers should look for the ones most important to them and their participants.

By Lee Barney | December 23, 2016
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Selecting a recordkeeper is critical for retirement plans, and surveys that PLANSPONSOR and PLANADVISER conduct every year reveal a vast array of services that recordkeepers provide.

It is also interesting to note the disparities between what retirement plan advisers and sponsors look for when selecting a recordkeeper. Advisers take more of an analytical, business-oriented approach than sponsors, whose focus is on the practicalities of offerings. The 2016 PLANADVISER Practice Benchmarking Survey found that the top three criteria advisers look for when selecting a recordkeeper are value for price (42%), fee structure for plan (29%) and investment options available (12%).

The 2016 PLANSONSOR Defined Contribution Survey, on the other hand, shows that sponsors evaluate a wide array of services from their recordkeepers. On a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being excellent, the services sponsors find most useful are compliance support and testing (6.46), service team responsiveness (6.46), Form 5500 processing (6.45), legislative and regulatory updates (6.38), service team industry knowledge (6.38) and plan communications (6.35).

A third survey, the 2016 PLANADVISER Recordkeeper Services Guide, discloses that recordkeepers offer a number of services beyond those mentioned above. All of the 24 recordkeepers surveyed this year provide education and enrollment support. Eighty-five percent provide plan benchmarking supports; 83% supply legislative updates; 83% help with plan design; and 75% help with rollovers, investment monitoring and investment policy statements (IPS). Sixty-six percent offer lead generation services to advisers, and the same percentage make Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) counsel available.

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