Plan advisers will desire more flexibility and customization from service providers
In order to deliver a comprehensive solution to plan sponsors, advisers will be looking for service providers that are flexible and can enhance their own value proposition. For example, if an advisers value proposition is centered on their investment advisory services, and the adviser will act as an ERISA 3(21) and/or 3(38) fiduciary to support these services, the adviser may need to partner with a service provider who can deliver a participant enrollment, communication and education program that meets the unique needs of the plan sponsor. The opposite is also true: advisers who choose not to provide fiduciary support services (or are precluded from providing them by their broker dealer) will need to partner with a service provider who can deliver these services.
Pressure on margins increases, resulting in potential diversification
As plan sponsors become more aware of fees being charged to their plans, benchmarking will become the norm, potentially creating downward pressure on adviser compensation. Some advisers may see the need to offset this lower fee revenue by diversifying into other service areas, such as individual wealth management, rollover consulting or other alternative channels of potential revenue. Advisers will also need to consider partnering with other service providers to create service delivery model synergies and practice scalability.