By Ed McCarthy
Most plan advisors with whom I talk for this column express a clear preference for the investment management side of the business. Participant education is another preferred area, especially among advisors with a financial planning background. But it’s extremely rare for an advisor to tell me that while she doesn’t mind designing and monitoring a plan’s investment lineup, what he really likes is getting deep into the weeds of plan administration, recordkeeping and required regulatory filings. Typically, advisors who prefer those areas tend to work as recordkeepers and third-party administrators.
Admittedly, that attitude is at least partially a result of the advisory firm’s size. Larger advisory groups often have more specialized in-house resources that their smaller peers lack. That’s especially true for wealth managers who may handle only a small number of plans for their wealth management clients. Their plan advisory business is an ancillary service and plan administration can be a distraction and burden.