June 4, 2012

New Tool for Advisors to Slice and Dice Small-Business Market

Securian Financial microsite helps advisors discern which entrepreneurs could use their help

Securian Financial Group has launched a microsite that financial advisors can use to better understand the small-business owner market. The site, launched Monday, is an outgrowth of a survey the firm conducted last year of small-business owners which found that just 50% of the small business owner market is currently served by financial advisors.

While small business looms large in the U.S. economy—employing about half of all private-sector employees, according to the Small Business Administration—Securian Financial Group marketing director Kerry Geurkink believes small business owners (SBOs) lack sophistication in retirement planning.

“Ask a small business owner how she’s going to fund her retirement and she’ll say, ‘Sell the business.’ If only it were that simple!” Geurkink said in a news release.

The Securian microsite mainly includes links to various report summaries, but the summaries are easy to read, containing simple bullet points and graphics that tend to get right to the point. For example, the main report examines the challenges SBOs face; measures their interest in using financial advisors; and helps distinguish between SBOs who are more or less likely to use advisors.

Those likely to seek an advisor (27% of SBOs) tend to be younger, sole decision-makers and female. Their top concerns include personal retirement planning and taking care of their family’s financial needs (“this may be because more of them still have children at home,” the report says).

Those less likely to seek an advisor (64% of SBOs) tend to be older and more established, with many products and services in place; to the extent this group is seeking advice, it is usually focused on a change in business circumstances, such as retirement or sale, and this group is comparatively more interested in exit strategy questions than the younger cadre who are likely to seek an advisor’s help.

Securian’s microsite also links to sub-reports that drill down to demographic distinctions between Gen X and baby boomer SBOs, the women’s market and SBOs’ use of 401(k) plans. For example, that last sub-report shows that half of SBOs sponsor employee retirement plans, and most (80%) use an advisor to help them mitigate fiduciary risk. A quick scan of the sub-report reveals interesting tidbits—for example that male SBOs are more comfortable assuming fiduciary risk (64%) than female SBOs (45%).

The new microsite is in keeping with Securian’s practice of producing campaign materials for financial advisors targeting small business owners and retirees.

Boston University professor Zvi Bodie, an expert in retirement finance with no connection to Securian, told AdvisorOne last year that a video the firm produced for its Encore Lifetime Income Benefit annuity was “a very effective piece of marketing.”

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