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How giant advice provider Financial Engines can sweep the 401(k) field -- or not

It has $53.7 billion of assets under its managed account platform, but how the new DOL disclosure rules, competition from Morningstar and Schwab's bet on GuidedChoice play out will be very telling

Author Lisa Shidler May 22, 2012 at 3:41 AM
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Anne Tuttle: We’re happy to see more information provided to sponsors.

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

May 23, 2012 — 1:25 AM

We wrote and article on this 10 years ago based on research with PSCA and Booze Allen. The 401(k) system is highly mature and saturated. There is effectively zero growth, it may in fact be negative.

So any market share gain, has to come as the expense of another existing provider. Does anyone know of any 401k service provider who will passively allow loss of clients or stop trying to get new ones.

So that leaves structural changes in the market to produce growth. Iffy. Sales people like the BScope brothers have been predicting revolutions for years. Still waiting.

Even if there were sudden, wholesale systemic changes in the DC markets existing dominant share holders will likely grab whatever is in play. This has been researched and shown in other industries and markets.

Here are two questions we have learned to help clients ask, based on research done in other industries: – Where will growth in demand come from? – If it’s a great idea, why hasn’t it already happened?

Finally, if anyone wants a hard core business strategy “work-out” think about these findings from other Booze Allen research — trying to gain market share is a waste of resources and uneconomical. This is a data based finding — so spare the business platitudes of protest and provide data and research suggesting otherwise.



June 26, 2014 — 2:16 AM

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June 26, 2014 — 3:46 AM

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Mentioned in this article:

Financial Engines
401k Plan Consultant

BAM Advisor Services
Top Executive: Mont Levy

Sheridan Road Financial
Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Jim O'Shaughnessy

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