Fidelity Investments reported a 34% increase in defined contribution sales to the small to mid-size market in 2012, representing assets of $8.4 billion. The number of plans sold to this market – defined as $50 million in retirement assets or less – reached nearly 1,500 last year, a 36% jump over 2011, according to Fidelity.

Fidelity services 15.8 million defined contribution participants in more than 22,500 workplace plans, making it the industry’s largest workplace retirement plan provider. Some 4,000 advisers sell Fidelity’s DC plans to sponsors.

“As an increasingly important market for Fidelity, we bolstered our efforts to support the unique needs of both advisors and plan sponsors and continue to leverage our learnings as a retirement leader to help drive engagement and ultimately better outcomes for employees’ retirement,” says Jeffrey Lagarce, executive vice president, Fidelity Investments.

 Growth in this market segment stretched across the country and included employers in various industries.

 Fidelity reports that in 2012 it strengthened its support for advisors by adding additional field representatives to increase local support and by building tools that advisors can leverage to measure plan performance, such as asset allocation, participation and deferral rates. Fidelity “works with advisors to craft smart design strategies to improve and streamline plans, as well as provide fiduciary support around today’s regulatory environment surrounding fee disclosure, often a costly and complex issue for small and mid-market plan sponsors,” according to the company.

 Last year, Fidelity launched “Plan for Life,” a comprehensive approach to helping employees plan for retirement as they move through life’s many significant events.  It includes dedicated workplace guidance representatives; customized enrollment materials and participant communications; access to Fidelity’s participant portal; and other benefits.

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