Fidelity Investments announced September 5 that it will be rolling out a Web-based retirement income planning tool during the month of September through its three advisor-servicing units: Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company (FIIS), National Financial, and Fidelity Registered Investment Advisor Group (FRIAG). Called the Fidelity Retirement Income Evaluator, the free, Fidelity-built tool allows advisors to build, modify, and customize retirement plans for clients using Monte Carlo software. The final plans can be customized by the advisor and printed and distributed to clients with only the advisor’s branding.
The tool was developed partly in response to advisor demand, according to David Liebrock, executive VP of FIIS. While two years ago, advisors said they didn’t need such a tool, Liebrock says, the need has grown since then, since advisors are feeling “a time crunch,” and a “capacity issue,” while helping pre-retirees plan for the end of their working days and those already in retirement. That’s so, says Liebrock, since retirement income planning takes more time to do well than does planning for clients who are still in the accumulation phase of their lives, as discovered in previous Fidelity research. With technology aids like the Evaluator, Liebrock argues, advisors can manage their retirement planning time better, and reap the benefits of the increased share of wallet, referrals, and client satisfaction that comes with efficient retirement income planning.
Ben Colvin, senior VP at National Financial, says the Evaluator will help close the “knowledge and capacity gaps” felt by advisors whose expertise and time is stretched by the retirement income puzzle. Colvin says there are three main parts to the Evaluator: an educational tool for advisors to increase their expertise; the tool itself, which allows an advisor to make multiple adjustments to everything from expected inflation rates to expected investment returns, and includes a 1040 simulator to include the tax ramifications of portfolio or spending changes; and online and telephone help-desk support from Fidelity experts. Moreover, the Fidelity executives point out that the Evaluator is “product agnostic,” allowing the advisor to pick the investments that best meet the needs of the client as illustrated by the plan.