Small firms struggle to grasp their regulatory requirements (Lee Jin-man)

A recent poll found that 84 percent of professional service firms, such as law offices, medical practices and consulting agencies, say compliance with regulations is their most prominent concern when they consider what type, if any, retirement plans they will sponsor for their employees.

The poll, conducted by Nationwide Financial Services, Inc., Columbus, OH strove to compare employee benefits packages with the retirement planning needs of small businesses in the aforementioned professional realms. The study was conducted with the anticipation of changes to employee benefits, how benefit decisions are made and the manner in which professional firms work with financial intermediaries.

Twenty-eight percent of firms with fewer than 50 employees polled said they are not confident that their fiduciary requirements are being met. Another 28 percent said that they were not confident in their understanding of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

“Professional service firms present a real growth opportunity for financial advisors. What this research shows is that financial advisors can clearly demonstrate their value to firms by working to address their concerns about compliance,” said Anne Arvia, senior vice president of Retirement Plans for Nationwide Financial.