Retirement plan advisers’ top five concerns include new disclosure rules, market volatility, finding greater flexibility and customization in plans, measuring a given plan’s success and an expected redefinition of fiduciary status. Those are the results from a national listening tour conducted by Transamerica Retirement Services.

“We met with retirement plan advisors form across the country to discuss the top challenges and opportunities currently facing their clients,” said Jason Crane, senior vice president and national sales director for Transamerica. In addition to a focus on guiding clients through volatile markets, “plan advisers confirmed that they require flexibility from retirement plan providers to meet their clients’ needs in this ever-changing environment,” Crane said.

 

The upcoming regulatory change of most concern is the April 1, 2012 deadline for 408(b)(2) disclosure rules. Plan advisers are “expanding their efforts on fee education and transparency related to all plan services,” Transamerica found.

On the regulatory front, Transamerica found plan advisors are also concerned about the Department of Labor’s proposal, expected in 2012, for a new definition of “fiduciary” for retirement plans. “Regardless of if or when this rule is formalized, advisers are currently in the process of deciding whether or not they are comfortable or allowed to acknowledge fiduciary status,” Transamerica said. “The advisers who will not act as fiduciaries will most likely seek the support of a third-party fiduciary service.”

Other top plan advisor concerns included market volatility, which has “intensified the importance of improving plan participants’ retirement readiness,” Transamerica said. Plan advisers are looking for greater flexibility in retirement plans, Transamerica said. Advisers are also increasingly providing plan sponsor clients with annual retirement plan check-ups, basing the evaluations on metrics like participation rates, deferral rates, average account balances and plan fees, among others.

Danielle Reed writes for Financial Planning.

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