The advisor choices made by defined contribution plan participants are varied, making them a viable client target for all different types of financial providers and advisors. The age of the plan participant, and the balance in his or her account, have an influence on the type of advisor that is used.
According to Spectrem’s report Advisor Usage Among DC Plan Participants, only 53 percent of plan participants use an advisor, although 61 percent of plan participants with a balance of over $100,000 do use advisors. Nineteen percent of plan participants say they have never considered using an advisor.
Among the plan participants that do use an advisor, 11 percent 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.
Among the plan participants with a balance greater than $100,000, 16 percent prefer a Full Service Broker and 14 percent 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.