Insights from the experts in investment fiduciary responsibility.

Fiduciary Links: Benchmarking & Demonstrating Value Webinar Questions Answered

Posted by fi360 Team on December 23, 2013

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>>>>A little over two weeks ago, we hosted a webinar titled, “Benchmarking & Demonstrating Value in the Age of Reasonableness.” The webinar included insights from fi360 President Rich Lynch and Ann Schleck’s Research Analyst Matt Burt. A recording of the webinar is available in the Fiduciary Resource Center. In addition, we had a number of questions that we were unable to answer during the live session, and Mr. Burt was gracious enough to address them in the following Q&A:

Q: Does Fee Benchmarker compare advisor fees vs. broker/insurance rep fees?

A: Fee BenchmarkerTM uses retirement advisor fee and service data that is collected from different types of advisor business models – Affiliated FAs (those who are primarily paid through commissions), Independent FAs/RIAs (may be paid through the product or charge a fee for their advisory services) and Fee-Only Consultants (no commission revenue; paid via fee-for-service). Fee BenchmarkerTM reports provide advisory fee comparisons by business model for 401k plans between $1M and $550M in assets.

Q: Is the percentage of advisors acting as a fiduciary truly that high?

A: Yes. Most retirement specialist advisors have the ability to act as a 3(21) fiduciary. Advisors who cannot act as a fiduciary themselves may be able to offer plan sponsors fiduciary support through a third-party firm or by partnering with an advisor who has the ability to act in a fiduciary capacity.

Q: Do advisors discount for supporting business, like a deferred comp plan of the group medical?

A: The data that we collect is the advisor’s typical fee schedule for the services they provide to their plan sponsor’s 401k plan(s). Fees include the total annual cost to the plan for advisory services performed, whether charged as a flat or asset-based fee. If the advisor discounts their services due to a specific client relationship, that would not be reflected in the data that we collect.

Q: Do Plan Sponsors ever hire you?  It seems that if I pay for the report it is not as arms’ length as if the Sponsor hired you.  What would you charge a Plan Sponsor?

A: Fee Benchmarker is used widely by advisors in their discussions with plan sponsor clients about their fees and more importantly, the value of the services they deliver to the plan. Plan sponsors can feel comfortable knowing that the data comes from an independent, third party industry expert and that their advisor is totally independent of the data source. On occasion, plan sponsors come directly to us for this information, but we primarily distribute it through advisors. Single Fee Benchmarker reports are $200 and are available for purchase at

Q: What is the cost and how do we access the benchmarking reports?

A: Fee BenchmarkerTM reports are available on-demand through a secure account on the Ann Schleck website. For pricing information and to purchase Fee BenchmarkerTM reports or the Fee Almanac, please visit and click on the “log in/subscribe link at the top of the page. You can also purchase the Fee Almanac through the fiduciary store.

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