Fee-for-service Models Increasingly Common Among 401(k) Advisors

Posted by PlanFees on Jan 23, 2023 8:39:00 AM

PlanFees data shows advisor compensation fee structures are trending away from commission-based schedules and toward fee-for-service models. As a result, it’s more important than ever for advisors to be equipped to justify the fees they charge relative to the level and frequency of the services they provide.


A Targeted Advisory Fee Benchmarking Tool
Prism365 Advisor Fee & Services Benchmarking is a robust tool designed specifically for this task. It analyzes fees in five key performance areas: investment due diligence, RFP/benchmarking, fiduciary governance, employee engagement and fees. You can benchmark 15 core services, including:
  • Investment menu selection and monitoring
  • Frequency of committee meetings
  • 3(21) services
  • 3(38) services
  • Annual fee benchmarking
  • Live bid/RFP
  • Live bid/RFP frequency
  • Plan committee education and training
  • Fiduciary process review
  • Fiduciary process review frequency
  • Education/enrollment days
  • Fee for additional days
  • One-on-one employee education/counseling
  • Financial wellness program
  • Advisory fees

Additional value-added services — such as access to low-cost CITs and custom multi-manager TDFs, quarterly legislative updates, and more — can easily be included in the PlanFees customizable advisor fee report.


Set Yourself Apart From the Pack
One of the main differentiators between a bare-bones advisory experience and a premium, white-glove service is the frequency with which various services are offered. For example, are you attending retirement plan committee meetings annually, semi-annually or quarterly?

Prism365 allows you to document service frequencies and reveals what percentage of advisors within the PlanFees universe include those services and how often — as well as whether they’re charged as part of a base fee or as an add-on.

Employee engagement is another area where high-touch advisors can differentiate themselves and potentially support higher fees. If you’re providing a greater number of education days for participants, for example, or are leveraging a proprietary or third-party financial wellness solution, it’s important to be able to document the value you bring to a plan. Should another advisor try to tempt your client with the promise of rock-bottom fees by glossing over services they don’t provide — such as one-on-one participant meetings — your client will know better.


Data You Can Trust
The Prism365 database, based on a survey of 1,000+ firms, comprises advisor fee data from 20,000+ plans and service frequencies from 10,000+ plans. You can trust PlanFees’ dependable and verified data to provide a reliable benchmark to clients and prospects.

With PlanFees you can take pride in your service funnel, knowing exactly how your advisory fees stack up relative to those of similar plans. When it comes to fees, lowest isn’t always what’s best for clients — not when the plan isn’t receiving all the services it requires, or as often as it needs them.

With PlanFees, you have more choice when it comes to breaking down fees for clients. From Prism Total Fees Benchmarking (the 2-minute fee checkup) to Prism365 Advisor Fee & Services Benchmarking to RFP Express (our latest offering with real quotes delivered to you from top providers in less than 24 hours) — PlanFees has solutions for your benchmarking needs.


Benchmark better with PlanFees.

Topics: Advisor Fee Benchmarking