Advisers at Morgan Stanley have a new game to play and a new product to show to small and midsize business clients.
By partnering with Fidelity Investments Institutional Services, the company has launched the Morgan Stanley Retirement Connection -- a 401(k) plan for businesses with plan assets of at least $5 million -- to be sold through its network of 13,500 advisers.
The plan will use Fidelitys recordkeeping technology and incorporate a combination of mutual funds from Morgan Stanley, Van Kampen (which is owned by Morgan Stanley) and Fidelity with nearly 100 other fund offerings. It will also use Morgan Stanleys sales, marketing and employee education services. In addition, the plan offers a self-directed brokerage option.
Fidelity said that advisers are in a good position to educate and serve this market because smaller companies tend not to have benefits specialists and many consumers are overwhelmed by the investment choices.
"The number of choices that people are looking at today -- [from] mutual funds, volatility of the market -- are overwhelming for the average person, to plan sponsors as well as to individual participants," said Don Holborn, executive vice president for Fidelitys Retirement Business Unit. "Theres just not the infrastructure that you find in large companies."