Advisors not reviewing retirement plans with sponsorsNews added by Benefits Pro on March 29, 2016

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Marlene Y. Satter

There’s a missed opportunity lurking in retirement plans: Lack of frequent reviews on how effective those plans are in preparing employees to afford retirement at the proper time.

That’s according to the 2016 MassMutual Retirement Plan Review Study, which found that while many plan sponsors say they want to review their retirement plans more often than they currently do, many sponsors want advisors to help them do so.

Fifty-seven percent of plan sponsor respondents said they want advisors to help them review their retirement plans semiannually or even more often, but 44 percent of sponsors report that such reviews currently take place.

Sponsors who rely on advisors, the study found, typically review their retirement plans more often than sponsors who do not use an advisor. The study also found differences in focus between sponsors with an advisor as opposed to sponsors without an advisor. During plan reviews, sponsors who work with an advisor typically prioritize satisfaction with their plan provider. Sponsors without an advisor, on the other hand, prioritize fees and costs.

Among other findings: For sponsors with an advisor, 45 percent cite employee participation rate as a major consideration, while only 34 percent of sponsors without an advisor do. In addition, half of those with an advisor say that the effectiveness of education and advice is a consideration, while just 31 percent without an advisor do so.

Sadly, lowest on the totem pole is the question of whether employees are saving enough. Even among sponsors with an advisor, just 27 percent of sponsors said that was a major consideration; among those without an advisor, only a quarter did so.

“Advisors can do a world of good to help employers focus on savings, the effectiveness of education programs, and perhaps the ultimate metric: whether their employees on target to be retirement ready,” Tom Foster Jr., spokesperson and practice management leader for MassMutual Retirement Services, said in a statement. He added, “Participation in the plan is certainly important too. But if every employee participates but each saves only 1 percent of his or her salary, it’s totally ineffective as no one will ever be prepared to retire.”

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