intro | PLANADVISER January/February 2017


Recordkeepers, third-party administrators (TPAs) and investment managers regularly present robust new tools to better run your practice and more effectively serve participants and sponsors.

By Lee Barney | January/February 2017
Art by JooHee Yoon

As consumers, we have gotten used to many technological conveniences of the modern world. Our automobiles, for instance, are loaded with such features as global positioning systems (GPSs), hands-free Bluetooth phone connections and the latest safety aids such as lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise control. As the retirement plan industry evolves, technology has been developed for retirement plan advisory practices, too, with recordkeepers, third-party administrators (TPAs) and investment managers regularly presenting robust new tools to better run your practice and more effectively serve participants and sponsors. “Supersized” explains, in great detail, valuable resources you may not be aware of that you can leverage to augment your services.

Each year, the PLANADVISER Top 100 Advisers is among the most anticipated listings the magazine publishes. If your firm does not appear, you will have an opportunity to be considered for next year’s list by responding to the PLANADVISER Retirement Plan Survey we issue every September—a quantitative list is drawn from survey respondents.

It’s important to note that most American workers are employed by small businesses. That’s why, despite the aspirations of many retirement plan advisers to serve plans with sizeable assets, the micro-plan market—plans with less than $5 million—cannot be ignored. The 2017 PLANADVISER Micro Plan Survey, “Small World” details the services that plan sponsors receive from their advisers.

“Passing the Torch” gives you an overview of the various options you have, to plan for the future of your practice after you retire. By hiring the right people and mapping out their progress, you can control your succession plan internally. You might also consider a merger or a sale—and you may be surprised to learn that neither of these needs to occur immediately.

There has been a buzz recently about environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing—the new term for “socially responsible investing.” For the feature “Investing in Harmony," I interviewed asset and portfolio managers, advisers and ESG specialists who contend that, due to the growing proliferation of this type of investment and its resonance among Millennials and Generation X, ESG investing is something you should be considering for discussion with plan sponsor clients—especially if you want to distinguish your practice from your competitors’.

And in “Freezing DB Plans," we discuss how you can help your plan sponsor clients decide what type of defined benefit (DB) plan freeze makes the most sense for their company—and determine what revisions to the defined contribution (DC) plan make the most sense, post-DB changes.

Our Practice Development department this year will focus on growing your business, with the initial story on how to ask for referrals.

We hope these stories appreciably help you increase your assets under management (AUM) and inspire new ways to serve your participants and plan sponsor clients. Happy reading!