Large asset managers are beginning to focus more on providing retirement income solutions, according to survey by Hearts & Wallets of nearly two dozen large, multifaceted firms with more than $10 trillion in assets under administration.

“Three-quarters of these firms’ resources, including budget and management attention, is devoted to older investors,” said Chris Brown, a principal of Hearts & Wallets. “Developing retirement income solutions is vitally or very important at more than half of firms participating in the research, and more than 80% report that retirement income has grown in importance over the last three years.”

The retirement income market reached $3.3 trillion at year-end 2010, double what it was in 2006, according to Hearts & Wallets. This is 11% of total household assets. The firm expects that to reach 25% to 30% of all U.S. household investable assets by 2020.

Laura Varas, another principal with Hearts & Wallets, added: “The key will be how products are combined to produce a portfolio of income sources once full-time work in the primary occupation has stopped. This is a key issue on which all firms will need to have a point of view.”

Varas noted that while only a few years ago, 401(k) administrators were not interested in providing distribution products. Now, however, they realize that a “retirement investment methodology has become a competitive necessity, with product implications for vendors who sell them.”

The largest percentage of firms expect to offer immediate annuities, followed by fixed income and equity income.

“Our data suggests more investment advisors are recommending annuitization and more plan sponsors are making immediate annuities available to participants,” Brown said.


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