RIAs—both “pure” RIAs and dually-registered reps—are playing an increasingly prominent role in providing advisory services to 401(k) plans. It’s a two-way movement with RIAs expanding into the 401(k) world from wealth management and longstanding 401(k)-focused advisors reorienting their practices to become fee-based formal fiduciaries.
Over the past five years or so RIAs rolled into 401(k) big time and in doing so rocked the once familiar business model of more traditional 401(k) advisors. We define two groups of 401(k)-active RIAs.
The ongoing surveys of Advisors in 401(k) conducted by Brightwork Partners document major channel shifts over recent years. Looking back to 2005, insurance – and wirehouse – affiliated advisors dominated the sale and service of 401(k) plans; together these two channels comprised 62% of all Advisors active in 401(k). By last year that had fallen to 35%.