What You Need to Know
- Recordkeepers help make defined contribution retirement programs run.
- Obviously, recordkeeper users still want great service.
- One new must-have: Technology that can make services available to small employers.
The retirement plan industry is changing rapidly for advisors and third-party administrators (TPAs) and the pace of recordkeeper consolidation shows no signs of slowing down.
Meanwhile, 401(k)s remain the fastest growing segment of the retirement plan market, according to the LIMRA’s Evolution of the Retirement Industry report.
With this continued growth and change, it’s critical for advisors and TPAs to assess the market and identify the recordkeepers who understand their needs, are invested in the technology to meet the demands of the market, and who will bring expertise and commitment to service to their clients’ plans.
The Standard conducted market research with TPAs and advisors to better understand and support their needs.
These conversations were used to develop a new 401(k) recordkeeping platform for small plans with up to $2 million in assets.
We confirmed a few of the pain points of TPAs and advisors, as well as central themes around what they value in a recordkeeper:
1. Recordkeeping technology that offers a seamless user experience, regardless of plan size.
According to our market research, the most valued characteristics of a recordkeeper are technology (45%) and plan sponsor services (36%).
This reinforced our belief that recordkeepers must invest in modern recordkeeping technology to make it easier for the advisor and TPA to do their respective jobs, as well as build and maintain relationships.
Recordkeeping platforms play a critical role in the future of recordkeeping and plan management.
Advisors and TPAs want a user experience that is intuitive and gives them the ability to easily generate proposals, seamlessly share data between advisors, TPAs and recordkeepers, and manage their plan with accuracy.
Our research also revealed that many TPAs are largely supporting small plans under $5 million in assets with under 100 participants.
They want to partner with recordkeepers that can service small plans with the same technology and level of service as large plans.
In other words, today’s recordkeeping platforms need to check many boxes: They need to make it easy for advisors and TPAs to set up and monitor plans, but they also need to have many of the features and advantages that are typically reserved for larger plans, with the ability to grow on the same platform without the need for conversion to a different platform in the future.
2. Exceptional recordkeeping service and expertise.
Advisors and TPAs are looking for exceptional service from a recordkeeper that is not a solely transactional partner.
To meet the demands of the market and help plan participants meet their retirement goals, advisors and TPAs should make sure their recordkeeper is committed to a strong partnership with them, understands what they need and provides excellent service.