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Are Financial Advisors Paying Attention to the 401k Elephant in the Room?

MaritzCX Wealth Study Finds 401k Funds Rival Investment Firms’ Assets Under Management

SALT LAKE CITY — July 23, 2015 — Financial advisors take note: half of mass affluent investors are holding $100,000 or more in a 401k or 403b account, according to research from customer experience software and services company MaritzCX. The wealth study, which surveyed more than 1,000 investors with $100,000 or more in privately-held investable assets, found that 46 percent of retirees have $100,000 or more still parked in their employer-sponsored accounts.

“Traditionally, financial advisors have focused on the assets that investors have placed with their firms,” said Richard Brose, senior director of strategic consulting, financial services practice, MaritzCX. “But now, more than 30 years after their inception, 401k assets have begun to rival the privately held assets of many affluent investors. Financial advisors need to pay more attention to this opportunity.”

“As Baby Boomers retire, increasing numbers of investors will have control over a sizeable amount of additional assets,” he noted.

Financial advisors are well positioned to grow their existing client relationships by capturing the assets being held in employer-sponsored accounts. According to Brose, “the path to acquiring these assets begins with investment performance and an excellent customer experience.” The MaritzCX Wealth Poll found that:

  • investment performance is the number one driver of satisfaction with investment firms
  • financial advisor satisfaction is driven by the financial advisor’s responsiveness to client needs and their ability to manage the client’s portfolio through difficult times
  • investors who have an up-to-date financial plan feel more secure about their retirement future, but only 41% have a financial plan and nearly half of those think their plans need to be updated

According to MaritzCX, financial advisors should view their clients’ investments holistically; help them develop a long-term financial plan that meets their needs through retirement; and stay connected with them, particularly during uncertain economic times.

“The good news for the financial advisory community is that they are well positioned to acquire the 401k assets when clients retire,” Brose said. “But,” he cautioned, “only when they have demonstrated their value in guiding the investor through the tough times leading up to retirement.”

The MaritzCX Wealth Poll is comprised of responses from 1,044 investors with $100,000 or more in privately held investable assets. The Wealth Poll was designed to gauge the attitudes and behaviors of mass affluent and high net worth investors regarding retirement planning and investment decisions.