intro | PLANADVISER November/December 2016

Repeat, Regain, Reconquer

Automatic enrollment has clearly been embraced by many plan sponsors.

By Lee Barney | November/December 2016

Forty-one percent of all retirement plans automatically enroll participants, with that figure being much higher for large plans, according to the 2015 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution Survey. Still, only a scant 6.5% of plans automatically re-enrolled participants saving below the default deferral rate and 13% re-enrolled nonparticipating employees. Clearly, retirement plan sponsors and advisers are missing out on a feature that can dramatically improve overall plan metrics and individual participant results. In “The Second Take," we outline many reasons you can share with your clients to convince them that re-enrollment, particularly on a regular basis, is the right move. With so few plans employing this strategy, suggesting it will distinguish your expert guidance from your competitors’.

This year’s PLANADVISER National Conference was particularly momentous, as it marked our 10th year of publishing the magazine and hosting an annual meeting to advance the knowledge of the nation’s leading retirement plan advisers. We present short synopses of 12 of the most outstanding sessions from this year’s conference, including those covering what you need to know about the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule, whether you are a registered investment adviser (RIA) or a broker/dealer (B/D). Panels also discussed managed accounts vs. target-date funds (TDFs), as well as automatic escalation, retirement readiness, health savings accounts (HSAs) and succession planning.

Peer comparisons aren’t just for your clients but can be useful for you, too. Our annual PLANADVISER Practice Benchmarking Survey is designed to show you your competitors’ outlook on fee compression and disclosure, as well as their areas of growth, fiduciary services, affiliation, home office support, recordkeepers and third-party administrators (TPAs). This year, alongside the survey results, the story “Knowing What’s Out There” includes color and insights from several of your peers, as well as Quinn Keeler, our senior vice president of surveys and research—all quoted in the piece.

In the past, advisers have had to walk a tightrope when onboarding new clients and expanding staff, asking themselves the key question: “Which should come first, from a budgetary standpoint?” “Cultivating Your Practice” presents some of the interesting recent findings that could help you grow your business. One of the most surprising is that successful financial advisers today spend less than 20% of their time on investments, which makes the case for outsourcing this function so they can redirect their attention to compliance, fiduciary services and marketing.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been touted for a number of years as an inexpensive alternative for retirement plan lineups. “ETFs Find DC Entry via TDFs” (page TK), explains how target-date fund managers strategically deploy that investment.

Our final department-story in this issue, “Working With Professional Service Firms," discusses the unique perspective of doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professionals who operate as partners/owners of their business.

Fresh ideas. New ways to think about your business and grow it. As always, these are our goals for the publication. We hope you enjoy the issue—and have a happy holiday season!