Programs

Pulse Logic/Commonwealth Financial Network Plan Advisor Study

This study explores Commonwealth Financial Network’s plan advisors. From wealth management advisors with some retirement plan business to the retirement plan centric advisor, Pulse Logic, working with Commonwealth, collected comprehensive data from a statistically significant cross-section of advisors. This data capture enabled Pulse Logic to develop an accurate snapshot of Commonwealth’s plan advisors and how they compare to retirement plan advisor norms.

Conducted in the first quarter of 2011, Commonwealth identified 600 advisors eligible to complete the survey. Over the course of two weeks and three email requests, 204 qualified plan advisors completed the questionnaire. Data was downloaded, compiled and then segmented between the active and accidental plan advisor segments in order to provide direction and actionable insights to both Commonwealth and its recordkeepers and asset managers.

Purchasers of this report will learn:

-if qualified plan revenue as a percentage of total is a good determinant of retirement plan centric advisors

-the Commonwealth plan advisor’s target qualified plan market

-the number and size of the Commonwealth advisor’s annual qualified plan sales -their sources of new qualified plan business

-how they position themselves in the qualified plan marketplace

-their compensation methods both past and future

-where qualified plans fit into their business lines

-where qualified plans fall in their business plans moving forward

-the extent they are acting as functional fiduciaries

-their product, platform and service model preferences

-their expectations of recordkeepers and managers

-the best ways to communicate and deliver support

-their preferred source for regulatory and legislative updates

-how they feel 408(b)2 will effect their current and future business

-their topics of interest and non-interest at broker dealer conferences

-attitudes towards manager provided risk management tools and their utilization

-QDIA preferences

-base level and trending product attributes

-expectations of their broker dealer

-qualified plan client prioritization and meeting frequency

-their expectations, attribute ranking, and shortcomings of wholesalers

-their asset manager preference ranking

-how to position themselves with Commonwealth plan advisors to work more effectively and efficiently

This comprehensive study’s topics include the Commonwealth advisors’ demographics, behaviors, preferences, production and attitudes. It also indicates their plans moving forward and how vendors can better position themselves within this channel.

The cost of the study is $7500 and includes presentation, insights, perspectives, and discussion lead by a Pulse Logic principal.

Pulse Logic Report on Retirement Plan Wholesaling

The wholesaling method of product and service distribution is expensive and often a major contributor to a company’s overhead. To remain competitive, sales management should always be looking to make their wholesalers as efficient and effective as possible. Yet all too often the attributes sought in a wholesaler by their employer are not in line with those valued by financial advisors and TPAs. This study explores the valued and perhaps the more important unappreciated qualities of wholesalers by financial advisors and TPAs. It ranks wholesaler desired qualities, where and the degree they fall short of those attributes, and how the best wholesalers compare. The report also reveals wholesalers’ declining influence in the sales process and provides actionable insights for sales managers, marketers, and business line managers to improve their sales performance.

Pulse Logic Retirement Plan RIA Study

The registered investment advisor (RIA) business model is becoming increasingly attractive to financial advisors. Driven by demands for greater transparency, flexibility, and responsibility, many advisors are finding the traditional commission-based model unable to meet the evolving needs of their clients. Concurrently, with the passage of legislation and pending implementation of IRC 408(b)2, the adoption of fee-for-service models appears to be accelerating.

This change is beginning to cause significant shifts in traditional product distribution, reporting systems, and value adds. To compete within this emerging channel, vendors and asset managers will not only need to adjust the support they provide RIAs, but will also need to change their approach to product distribution and systems.

Results of the study will be available to syndicate participants in May of 2011.

Pulse Logic Plan Advisor Experience Series: Wholesaling, The Advisors' Perspective

The Pulse Logic Plan Advisor Experience Series explores the varying facets of the retirement plan advisor business. This first of its kind study surveys advisors on the critical topics they face to reveal a better understanding of the plan advisor business and its challenges. This information is valuable to advisors as they assess and evolve their practice as well as to the vendors, managers, and administrators who rely on the this channel as a major source of business.

Wholesaling, The Advisors’ Perspective

Wholesaling, The Advisors’ Perspective, the first in this series, explores the personnel responsible to build relations between the advisor and the vendor, manager, or administrator. This crucial role historically has had significant impact, influencing the options advisors present to their clients, and the client’s buying decisions. Yet, advisors report wholesalers are coming up short in value-adds, diminishing their influence to the sales process. In this survey we explore the state of wholesaling, what advisors are looking to receive from wholesalers and how wholesalers can be more effective partners to advisors.

Pulse Logic's 2010 Retirement Plan Advisor Study, An Industry Redefining Itself

The 2010 Retirement Plan Advisor Study is a compilation of data accumulated during 2010. Partnering with LPL Financial, UBS, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Raymond James, Pulse Logic surveyed 991 retirement plan advisors from a total aggregate pool of 4235. Advisors were selected by their broker dealer as leading retirement plan advisors.

The study was built to provide insights to key distribution, support, communication, and product issues raised from client vendors and managers. The on-line portion of the survey concentrates on revealing advisor’s attitudes and perceptions toward vendor product offerings, service delivery, support needs and gaps, wholesaler attributes, and communications. It also reveals advisor role and compensation trends, fee disclosure, and advisor behaviors.

In addition to the on-line survey, Pulse Logic interviewed advisors by phone. Gaining a better understanding of their business and support needs, Pulse Logic was able to gain further insight of the survey results.

The 2010 Pulse Logic Retirement Plan Third Party Administrator Study, Opportunity Within A Mature Industry

The first of its kind, this study provides a comprehensive understanding of the TPA distribution channel. This study was conducted in two phases in the second half of 2010. In the first step, we focused on revealing a better understanding of TPA Demographics, Behaviors, New Business Acquisition, and Business Characteristics. In the second, we concentrated on establishing TPA performance benchmarks and their resultant best practices.

The two parts combined into one study not only reveal demographics, behaviors, attitudes and preferences, it also identifies the metrics and distribution of TPAs across the performance spectrum as well as the practice management characteristics attributable to each level of performance. This data provides insight into what business models can drive superior revenue and profits from a TPA perspective.

The Pulse Logic / UBS Retirement Plan Advisor Study

In spring of 2010, Pulse Logic partnered with UBS to conduct an online survey of select UBS retirement plan advisors. Seeking participating vendor input, Pulse Logic developed the study to help UBS vendors align their goals with advisor needs and UBS objectives.

With a response rate exceeding 18%, the study provides valuable insight to key distribution and product issues, including advisors’ attitudes and perceptions toward vendor product offerings, service delivery, support needs and gaps, wholesaler attributes, and communications. It also reveals advisor role and compensation trends, fee disclosure attitudes, and advisor behaviors.

In addition to the online survey, Pulse Logic interviewed a sampling of advisors by phone. Gaining a better understanding of their business and support needs, Pulse Logic was able to further reveal advisors’ perceptions.

"The results of this study provide valuable data and insight to help UBS retirement plan partners, work more efficiently in our system. It provides vendors the direction needed to better prepare wholesalers to meet the requirements of UBS advisors, improve their understanding of advisors’ evolving business models, and gain further knowledge to work more effectively within the UBS sales channel in 2010 and beyond."

Patrick Oberlander
Director of Corporate Retirement Plans
UBS

The Pulse Logic / LPL Financial Retirement Plan Advisor Study

In January of 2010, Pulse Logic partnered with LPL to conduct an online survey of select LPL retirement plan advisors. Seeking participating vendor input, Pulse Logic developed the study to help LPL vendors align their goals with advisor needs and LPL objectives.

With a response rate exceeding 20%, the study provides valuable insight to key distribution and product issues, including advisors’ attitudes and perceptions toward vendor product offerings, service delivery, support needs and gaps, wholesaler attributes, and communications. It also reveals advisor role and compensation trends, fee disclosure attitudes, and advisor behaviors.

In addition to the online survey, Pulse Logic interviewed a sampling of advisors by phone. Gaining a better understanding of their business and support needs, Pulse Logic was able to further explore advisors’ perceptions and behaviors.