Fidelity Investments is reporting that ongoing market volatility and changes in regulation have led to an increased number of employees from tax-exempt organizations seeking out guidance with the workplace retirement accounts.
These employees—in healthcare, education and other not-for-profits—are especially seeking out advice on the proper asset allocation mix for their 403(b), 457 and 401(a) plans. Fidelity reports that that the number of participants seeking one-on-one guidance either in person or over the phone rose 12% in the first five months of 2010 compared to the same time last year. Of this group, roughly 60% sought help on determining the proper asset allocation.
“Investors are really turning to trusted providers in the continued time of market volatility to make sure they have the right asset allocation, and we think that will continue to grow” said John Ragnoni, executive vice president of the tax exempt market for Fidelity.
He also said that because of regulatory changes over the past couple of years the 403b business is now required to operate more in line with 401k regulations. This includes upholding certain fiduciary standards and required obligations of the plan sponsors to manage the plan more closely.
“This is an opportunity for plan sponsors to make sure they have guidance and investment offerings,” Ragnoni said.
He also says that the tax-exempt market has historically offered more guidance and online resources to its participants than the typical corporate or commercial plan sponsors so these workers are already accustomed to seeking out advice. Fidelity, which is the country’s top provider of workplace retirement savings plans, has over $120 billion in tax-exempt related assets and serves over 3.3.-million not-for-profit participants.