Retirement income planning as a source of revenue is on the radar of a large number of financial professionals, according to a new study sponsored by the Principal Financial Group.

The study, released Wednesday, found that 60% of plan advisors currently provide retirement income planning services to plan participants, and 78% expected to devote more time and resources to that segment of their business over the next three years.

Seventy percent of respondents said they now do or intend to invest for growth in their income planning service, with 30% focusing on better planning tools.

The study found that many plan advisors are inefficient in building their retirement planning business. Of those who do income planning, one-third do not segment or have a target profile. Those who do segment look at age and compensation as key factors.

Moreover, 34% reported that they were not being informed when participants leave employment or retire. Of those who said they received this information, 60% wanted to have all participants referred to them, while just 25% asked the provider to carve out participants with high-value rollover potential.

 “Advisors can gain efficiencies in this area by working with plan service providers,” Tim Minard, the Principal Financial Group’s senior vice president for retirement investor services, said in a statement. “By asking to be notified when participants leave the plan, advisors can be handed ready-made leads. Because it may be impossible to serve them all, advisors can ask providers to refer only those with higher account balances and then let the provider service the others.”

According to the study, plan advisors do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to retirement income planning, but favor products that can be personalized to each retiree’s circumstances. Seventy-three percent do not recommend in-plan guarantees as an investment option.

The “2011 Best Practices in Retirement Income Planning Study,” released Wednesday, was conducted with PLANADVISOR in June on behalf of the Principal Financial Group. A total of 249 financial professionals serving qualified retirement plans responded to the survey.