The financial crisis, triggered in 2008, helped open investors’ eyes to the breadth of options for professional financial advice available to them and gave a boost to independent registered investment advisors (RIAs).

Now the 401(k) business could potentially see a similar shifting of influence toward lesser-known names, as the industry heads toward fee disclosure requirements in January 2012. That was the thinking at the Buckingham Family of Financial Services, when it announced last Wednesday that it had acquired Advisors Access. The latter is a turnkey 401(k) program designed to help independent RIAs provide top-notch passive investing advice to 401(k) plan sponsors. The service features advisor-managed portfolios, access to exclusive institutional investments and one-on-one advice.

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