Among defined contribution plan participants, there is no clear-cut choice for a type of advisor to use for managing assets.
Only 53 percent of plan participants use an advisor, according to the Spectrem report Advisor Usage Among DC Plan Participants. The ones who do use an advisor use a variety of advisor types for their financial advice needs.
Eleven percent of 401(K) participants use a Full Service Broker, the most popular choice. But several types of advisors garnered 9 percent of the participants – Banker, Independent Financial Planner and Mutual Fund Company Representative. Another set of three types were selected by 7 or 8 percent of participants – Accountant (7 percent), Discount Broker (7 percent) and Investment Manager (8 percent).
Five percent of plan participants use an Insurance Agent for financial advice.
The numbers vary greatly when the report looks at plan participants of a certain age. Among plan participants aged 65 and over, 24 percent prefer an Accountant and 23 percent choose to use a Banker. Twenty percent use a Full Service Broker, and 15 percent use an Investment Manager as a financial advisor.
Among the youngest 401(k) participants (35 years of age and younger), an Investment Manager is the most popular choice, with 17 percent using one of those. The only other type of investor to be used by 10 percent of the youngest participants is a Full Service Broker (10 percent).
Male plan participants are slightly more likely to use an advisor than female participants, as 49 percent of women and 45 percent of men do not use an advisor of any type. Among men, 13 percent use a Discount Broker, 11 percent prefer the Mutual Fund Company Representative, and 10 percent use an Independent Financial Planner.
Thirteen percent of women prefer the Full Service Broker, and 9 percent use a Banker for financial advice.
Advisor usage also differs based on the balance participants have in their account. While 56 percent of participants with less than $10,000 in their account don’t use an advisor, 39 percent of those with $100,000 or more in their account do use an advisor, and 16 percent of those prefer a Full Service Broker.
Fourteen percent of participants with $100,000 or more in their account prefer an Independent Financial Planner.
Among participants with between $50,000 and $99,000 in their accounts, 16 percent use a Mutual Fund Company Representative as their financial advisor.
On the low end of account balances, 11 percent use a Full Service Broker and 10 percent prefer a Mutual Fund Company Representative.