After the Department of Labor's rule 408(b)(2) took effect in July of this year, ING was looking to help advisors understand their fees, build more transparency with plan sponsors and find plans whose fee structure is best in-line with client interests.
"The defined contribution marketplace has become more competitive for advisors and planners in recent years," Mark Spina, head of intermediate distribution at ING, said. "And this trend may accelerate in light of recent fee disclosure regulations by the Department of labor that went into effect in July."
The program, which is available for free with a log-in to the advisor-only section of the ING Funds website, features a brochure and tools to craft a business plan and articulate a value proposition centered on the performance and costs of various plans. In addition, the program helps advisors find new plan sponsors if a client is dissatisfied with fees or performance.
"You may have a plan that doesn't quite understand exactly why they're paying those fees. They haven't gotten the services they think justify those fees, so that's an opportunity for advisors to work with new plan sponsors for new relationships," John Uricchio, head of retirement and investment-only channel said in a phone interview.
ING has been shopping the program mostly to the independent channel but is currently working independently with wirehouses because advisors are affected by firm-specific rules.
Going forward, Uricchio said that the curriculum, which is designed with the help of Robert Kaplan, vice president of retirement services at ING, will continue to update, especially as new regulations come into effect. Uricchio expects a number of developments this year, especially given the political climate.
"With all the political activity that we expect from now until the election and of course into next year, there will be proposals, updates to bills and changes that will affect retirement, disclosures, and will add things, remove things, etc.," Uricchio said.