With funds invested in defined contribution plans topping a whopping $3 trillion, there’s plenty to go around for those — retirement plan advisors among them — looking to manage a portion of this gargantuan pie.
Just how much of the DC plan market do advisors now claim as their own? A significant share, it turns out.
According to new research from global analytics firm Cerulli Associates, advisors controlled 28 percent of the DC space at year-end 2014. One reason: investor approval. Seven in ten investors say they’re satisfied with their financial services professional.
This happy state of affairs, among auspicious findings, are detailed in the October 2014 issue of the “The Cerulli Edge — U.S. Edition. The report examines the dynamics of the DC plan market, including investor “switching behavior”, advisor movement between firms and defined contribution investment-only (DCIO) growth.
The research shows that few investors are actually dissatisfied with their financial advisor: just 2 percent of those polled by Cerulli. The remaining investors (28 percent) are “neutral” about their advisor — neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
“These results underscore the length to which providers have gone to ensure quality service through ongoing training programs and process orientation,” the report states. “Throughout Cerulli’s research, investors have consistently cited service disappointments as their leading reason for dissatisfaction with their providers and advisors.
“Facing this threat to their investor relationships, providers of scale have established programs, such as training, monitoring and coaching, to ensure delivery of uniform qualify service through a variety of media, including phone centers, online chat or email, and walk-in investor centers,” the report adds.
These positive developments aside, the report cautions advisors and financial service providers to be mindful of pitfalls that could damage their reputations and business prospects. Among the hazards: the sharing of customer experiences and opinions about poor service through social media.
To help maintain or increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, the report counsels service providers to boost clients’ “perceived level of service.” The survey adds that service quality and a provider’s reputation are the “leading criteria” guiding investors by in their selection of a service provider.