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Fred Barstein

By Fred Barstein | 12/28/2016
When NAPA Net launched on Oct. 2, 2012, the advisor sold DC world seemed like it was changing at a pace we had never seen before. Little did we know it was just the beginning. As I end my tenure at NAPA Net, it feels the same, but I suspect that in another three or four years we may realize that... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 12/21/2016
As Betterment for Business passes 300 401(k) clients, it raises the question for advisors of whether these robos are friends, foes or even for real. Those of us in the industry in the late 1990s will remember the trio of online record keepers that threatened to overtake the business models of... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 12/15/2016
At an advisor conference this fall, one industry expert predicted that two out of three advisors will exit the DC market. Is he right?Like with many statistics, the answer is, “It depends.” Taking a step back, research by TRAU shows: 300,000 active financial advisors (10% pure RIA) 250,000 getting... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 12/12/2016
Remember the “good old days” when all that advisors had to worry about was getting new clients and selecting the best investments? Not any more. According to a recently released SEI survey of advisors, compliance and fee compression are the twin towers that are of most concern to advisors. In fact... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 12/8/2016
Though the DOL conflict-of-interest rule may seem to be disrupting the DC market, it is arguably just highlighting changes and conflicts that have been festering for years. Today nearly all advisors receive marketing, entertainment and practice management support from providers, with more coming... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 11/28/2016
Consider this scenario: After some due diligence, an advisor determines that a universe of 250 funds are appropriate for almost all clients. That advisor then suggests a lineup of 12-15 investments for a client, although the client has the choice of selecting its own lineup – as long as it’s from... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 11/21/2016
It’s hard not to notice the declining DCIO support of plan advisors and distribution partners. Along with some second- and third-tier DCIOs either exiting the market or significantly reducing their sales forces, many firms are cutting back their support of advisors, which could hurt the development... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 11/17/2016
Though the DOL rule has the attention of many DC plan sponsors, it does not change their fiduciary status or how they run their plans — except when it comes to vendors who will have to act as fiduciaries, especially advisors. So with more advisors acting as fiduciaries, and more lawsuits, plan... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 11/7/2016
More and more plan sponsors are talking about paying their DC providers like record keepers and advisors through a flat fee arrangement rather than asset based. The DOL conflict-of-interest rule will only accelerate that movement.Revenue sharing and asset-based fees grew out of the desire of plan... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 10/31/2016
Many advisors are waiting for word from their BD or RIA about how they are going to deal with the DOL conflict-of-interest rule before they can figure out how they will need to change their business – or BD/RIA.In preparation for the rule, firms are reviewing and often winnowing down fund lineups... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 10/25/2016
According to research by Cogent Reports with DC plan advisors, trust is a more critical factor than ever when deciding which investment manager they work with.Name brand money managers fared the best in the survey, consistent with last year’s findings.Factors that engender trust, along with... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 10/21/2016
As I discussed in my last post, it’s conventional wisdom that all investments in a retail DC plan must have a three-year track record – but what do industry insiders think?I posed this question to a number of well-respected experts, advisors and investment providers and got some interesting answers... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 10/19/2016
It’s conventional wisdom that all investments in a retail DC plan must have a three-year track record. But do they still, and is three years enough? Or should we judge target-date funds based on a full market cycle?For most TDFs, the point is moot because they already have a three-year history.... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 10/10/2016
Change is coming as a result of the DOL fiduciary regulation, with many broker-dealers expecting some of their advisors to retire while others think smaller BDs may not even be able to survive due to the cost of complying. Distribution of annuities and product simplification may also be accelerated... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 10/6/2016
According to reports by large DC plan consultants, the use of proprietary funds is waning, driven by lawsuits, diversification, more transparency and the desire for lower cost funds.Yet the data are showing a bit of a different story. For example: Willis reports that 63% of clients unbundled record... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 9/28/2016
On the surface, a recent NEPC study which tracks DC record keeper fees shows a continued decline in fees, as well as increased concern and activity by DC plan sponsors regarding fees. But a different story lies beneath the surface. According to the 11th Annual NEPC Defined Contribution Plan and Fee... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 9/22/2016
It’s logical to assume that the new DOL rule will offer Elite Plan Advisors (more than $250 million in DC AUM and 10 plans) more opportunities in the small plan market. That would be true either because their broker-dealer will not allow them to act as a plan fiduciary or they don’t want the... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 9/15/2016
There’s a fundamental change happening at DCIO firms, highlighted by a recent Ignites Research report on trends in DCIOs' staffing strategies.With some firms experiencing outflows, Ignites Research Director Loren Fox notes that for the first time in awhile, very few firms are expanding their... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 9/12/2016
The profession of a DC plan advisor is evolving quickly as attention and concern about 401(k) and 403(b) plans grows. These days there are a lot of constituents involved including employers, employees, lawmakers, providers and broker-dealers/RIAs, but the main relationship for an advisor starts... READ MORE
By Fred Barstein | 9/8/2016
With what seems like a obsessive focus on passive investing led by investors, regulators and lawyers focused on fees, a Bloomberg columnist raises an interesting question: Are index funds communist?Before you dismiss the columnist – a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs and an M&A... READ MORE