Top 10 Retirement Income Providers in Thought Leadership

Survey indicates importance of innovative product design and value-add programs

Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO CEO and prominent market commentator. (Photo: AP) Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO CEO and prominent market commentator. (Photo: AP)

Retirement income providers that clearly understand retirement income issues, demonstrate their leadership position and help advisors manage and invest for income will have a leg up on the competition, according to a national study of registered financial advisors announced Monday by Cogent Research.

Cogent surveyed some 400 advisors, each with at least $25 million under management, a minimum of 25% of assets comprising retirement income planning services and at least five years’ tenure as a financial advisor about their use and interest in retirement income products.

Researchers asked advisors to name companies that offered retirement income products, Meredith Lloyd Rice, senior project director and co-author of the report, told AdvisorOne in a telephone interview. They then asked how likely advisors were to consider investing client assets with those providers.

Finally, the researchers listed several attributes and asked respondents to associate them with providers. Advisors chose thought leadership—a broad category that includes white papers, market commentaries and the like, according to Lloyd Rice—as most important, followed by leadership as a product provider and best able to help advisors invest client assets.

Leading insurance providers had the strongest association with these three factors among all advisors. And nearly half of advisors said insurance companies were best-suited to offer high-quality retirement income products.

“This indicates a potential opportunity for providers, in particular mutual fund firms, to better demonstrate their retirement income capabilities and highlight the potential advantages in their offerings," Meredith Lloyd Rice, senior project director and co-author of the report, said in a statement.

Although insurance firms topped fund providers overall in key retirement income provider selection criteria, advisors with a heavy retirement income focus were just as likely to associate mutual fund providers with providing superior retirement income thought leadership.

Following are Cogent’s top 10 providers in association with superior retirement income thought leadership:

  1. PIMCO
  2. Jackson National
  3. Vanguard
  4. Prudential Financial
  5. American Funds
  6. MetLife
  7. Lincoln Financial
  8. BlackRock
  9. Franklin Templeton
  10. Fidelity Investments
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