Opportunity Knocks When You Get Data on Clients' Retirement Account Performance

When it comes to performance reporting, I’m reminded of those vision tests in the eye doctor’s office where you have to put your hand over one eye. You’ve only got half your vision, which is precisely the case when advisors report on managed account performance but not on retirement assets. An important part of the picture is “dark,” and no matter how well you report the managed assets, the overall view is incomplete.

I don’t get it. If my target for my investments is 8%--with a 5% target for my retirement assets—I need to know if my retirement assets are achieving only a 3% return. It’s critical that I know my retirement asset performance relative to benchmarks. And yet, in spite of how important it is to report on retirement accounts, it’s often not done.

The long-standing reason, of course, is that many advisors have found that reporting on the performance of their clients’ retirement assets requires too much manual data entry. Furthermore, it’s often difficult for advisors to know what to charge for these services.

However, the times they-are-a-changin’. Account data from retirement accounts is now readily available to be downloaded into portfolio management systems, and equally importantly, clients are embracing the idea of paying for advice on retirement accounts.

That means there is now an opportunity that was generally not available before: If you can compare managed asset performance to the performance of retirement/”held away” accounts—and the performance you’ve generated on the managed accounts is superior—you can convince your clients that you should be managing all of their assets. That’s especially crucial when you consider that most of a client’s net worth may be in his or her retirement accounts…in a 401(k), for example.

With stakes like these, advisors will want to take advantage of new technology solutions that enable them to do performance reporting on retirement accounts. It can be a critical component of the advisor’s success, a sure way to increase operational efficiencies, expand revenues, and deepen client relationships. 

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