The Retirement Income Industry Association has released the first of a series of surveys to find out what it takes to become a top retirement income advisors. The survey asks advisors how they describe their roles as well as how confident they are in their expertise in contrast to other areas of planning.

RIIA encourages all retirement planning advisors to fill out the survey and will announce the results at its Retirement Management Analyst Seminar, August 13-18.

Ultimately, Stephen Mitchell, head of the RIIA's advisor education unit, hopes the survey will develop new training, software, tools, products and advisory platforms that will create a safe and comfortable lifestyle for retirees.

"What's been fascination about this project are the ideas from advisors offering additional questions for the next survey in the series," Mitchell said.

So far, the RIIA Survey Team has logged inquiries about including annuities to income management, success rates of income distribution models and social security strategies. The survey team will include these questions and others gathered in the first round of surveys that are slated to be released over the course of the year.

Kylie Hennagin writes for Financial Planning.