Morgan Stanley at Work Study Finds Plan Advisors Integral to Retirement Plan Participation and Outcomes
Inaugural workplace retirement study highlights plan sponsor views on the benefits of a plan advisor managing their workplace retirement plan
Morgan Stanley at Work released new research from its inaugural workplace retirement study that shows plan sponsors see a positive impact and value in having a plan advisor oversee their workplace retirement plan to boost retirement plan participation and outcomes.
Based on survey results, plan sponsors cite peace of mind as a leading benefit when it comes to having plan advisors drive employee engagement and investment guidance—which eases internal concerns, adds value to the participant experience and decreases the pressure of administrative tasks. In addition, while investment management is cited as the number one reason plan sponsors consider advisory services, they also view relationship building—including accessibility, responsiveness and consistency—as key in growing corporate retirement plans.
Among the report’s key findings, plan sponsors believe retirement plan advisors:
- Boost retirement outcomes: Eighty-seven percent of plan sponsors reported that offering access to a plan advisor with a workplace retirement plan delivers better retirement plan outcomes.
- Have increased participation rates: Nearly 45% of plan sponsors with a plan advisor noted that 75–100% of eligible employees are enrolled in their company’s 401(k) versus only 33% of plan sponsors without a plan advisor.
- Deliver investment oversight: The top reason plan sponsors cite working with a plan advisor is to provide oversight of investment management, with 28% of the population selecting that choice.
- Provide more choice: An overwhelming number of plan sponsors (88%) agree that a plan advisor offers robust plan features with a range of investment options. In addition, respondents stated plans with an advisor tend to offer added features like automatic match, match options and auto enrollment that help better engage participants and increase retirement savings.
- Deliver ROI: 95% of plan sponsor respondents said the fees associated with a plan advisor is well worth the cost given the investment management (28%), fiduciary guidelines (67%) and compliance (75%) considerations.
“As a fiduciary of their workplace retirement benefits, plan advisors can play a central and critical role in helping employees reach their long-term investment and retirement goals, while helping employers attract and retain top talent,” said Anthony Bunnell, Head of Retirement for Morgan Stanley at Work. “Financial Advisors are an often-overlooked resource that can enhance and support the work plan sponsors do, while forging long-term, valuable relationships with their most mission-critical talent.”
Morgan Stanley at Work’s Value of the Financial Advisor study can be found here.
Methodology: The findings in the 2022 Value of the Financial Advisor report are based on proprietary, third-party research and survey data conducted by Rebel & Co. of 350 plan sponsors at companies with 20-3,000 employees that offer financial benefits including a 401(k) plan across various industries in the U.S. These companies have either a dedicated Financial Advisor with their 401(k) plan, has worked with an employer in the last 12 months that offered a 401(k) plan or currently involved in selecting or managing the company 401(k) plan. Respondents were interviewed via phone or using an online panel survey from February 7 – February 28, 2022.
Morgan Stanley at Work’s Retirement Solutions offers a flexible, multi-provider recordkeeper platform designed to meet the individual needs of companies. In addition to providing customized retirement solutions, Morgan Stanley at Work has dedicated retirement specialists that understand the challenges businesses face and offer support and service for their employees. Through a consultative process, the Firm’s specialists help companies improve plan competitiveness and fiduciary risk management, investment selection and monitoring, and employee retirement readiness.
Retirement Solutions is part of the Morgan Stanley at Work suite of financial solutions, which spans Equity Compensation through Shareworks and Equity Edge Online, Retirement and Financial Wellness Solutions. Morgan Stanley at Work and Morgan Stanley’s intellectual capital and financial education delivered through multiple channels to enable employees to build a holistic plan to help them achieve their financial goals. Shareworks is provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC, and its affiliates, and Equity Edge Online employee stock plan solutions are offered by E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc., both are parts of Morgan Stanley at Work and all wholly owned subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley.