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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

The Lure of Niche Retirement Markets

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According to Boston-based asset management and research firm Cerulli Associates, niche retirement markets offer excellent growth opportunities for those looking to diversify from primary retirement markets such as 401(k)s; 403(b)s; public and private defined contribution and defined benefit plans; and traditional and Roth IRAs.

Those primary markets represented some $14 trillion in 2010. In contrast, niche retirement markets represented only $1 trillion. But Cerulli notes that these smaller markets “are burgeoning areas of growth and asset gathering potential for firms willing to look beyond the crowded mainstream retirement markets.”

Cerulli’s research highlights six niche opportunities:

Taft-Hartley plans, which focus on international investments;

Nonqualified Deferred Compensation plans, which take advantage of improving economic conditions, increased hiring and enhanced benefit plans;

457 plans, which combine effectively with 403(b) plans;

412i plans, which broker-dealers and insurers can market to small, profitable businesses with high-earning, affluent executives in the later stages of their careers;

Small Business IRAs, which offer asset-gathering opportunities while also providing retirement planning for small business owners;


Solo 401(k) plans, used mainly by Boomers working past retirement, often in sole proprietorships.

–Bill Coffin