COLUMBUS, Ohio, Mar 20, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Eighty-four percent of professional service firms, such as law offices,
medical practices and consulting agencies, say compliance with
regulations is their top concern when sponsoring retirement
plans for their employees, according to research from Nationwide
Financial Services, Inc.
The research also shows that 28 percent of firms with fewer than 50
employees do not feel that their fiduciary requirements are being met.
Additionally, 28 percent of plan sponsors were unable to show a complete
understanding of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
Based on the research, firms also say that before hiring a financial
advisor, they need them to be experts on regulatory and legislative
issues. To help advisors stay up-to-date, Nationwide Financial created
and Regulatory Online Resource, an online resource for advisors.
“Professional service firms present a real growth opportunity for
financial advisors,” said Anne Arvia, senior vice president of
Retirement Plans for Nationwide Financial. “What this research shows is
that financial advisors can clearly demonstrate their value to these
firms by working to address their concerns about compliance.”
The study compares employee benefit packages and the retirement
planning needs of small businesses to those of professional service
firms. The study also looks at anticipated changes to employee benefits,
how benefit decisions are made, and how professional service firms
select and work with financial intermediaries.
While ensuring plans are in compliance with regulations was the most
important service advisors can provide for all small businesses, other
services were ranked differently based on firm size and tenure. For
example, firms with fewer than 50 employees ranked “timely resolution of
operational issues” as the second most important service they expect to
be provided, while larger firms placed more value on the “selection and
monitoring of investment options.”
Firms that have been in business for more than 50 years ranked
“investment selection and monitoring” as the second most important
service to support their plan, while businesses less than 10 years old
cited “providing participant advice” as their second priority, behind
keeping the plan in compliance.
Overall, 69 percent of professional services firms expect an annual or
quarterly plan review, and 67 percent expect educational materials to be
available for their participants.
Nationwide launches Added Value program
The survey was conducted to help Nationwide Financial gain insights
about small businesses and professional service firms, and to develop
tools for financial
advisors to better support the unique needs of these businesses
through its new Added Value program.
The Added Value program will provide financial advisors with information
about key markets, along with guidance and tools to help financial
advisors win and retain plan sponsor clients. Resources in the Added
Value program include presentations on how to improve prospecting and
retention efforts, and an educational overview of social media.
Also included in the Added Value materials are ways financial advisors
can enhance their value proposition based on a professional service
firm’s type, size and tenure.
“Financial advisors are looking for plan providers that can offer more
than just a list of products. The Added Value program gives advisors an
edge in helping address professional service firms’ needs and concerns,”
Arvia noted that the professional service firms research is just the
first phase of our Added Value program.
“In the future, Nationwide will conduct similar studies so that we can
continue to provide financial advisors with the tools they need to help
grow and retain long-term client relationships,” said Arvia.
For more information about the research and the Added Value program,
please watch this short video
featuring Anne Arvia. Financial advisors can obtain more information
about the program at
In 2011, Nationwide Financial commissioned a third-party research firm
to conduct a study titled “Employee Benefit Trends.” The study compared
the employee benefit preferences of professional service firms with
those of other firms. Over 500 firms participated in the survey.
Qualified respondents were primary decision makers for employee benefits
at their firms and served in management roles. Firms surveyed were
for-profit businesses offering defined contribution plans and had 5 to
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest
diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S.
and is rated A+ by A.M. Best. The company provides a full range of
personalized insurance and financial services, including auto insurance,
motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life
insurance, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services,
annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions and long-term savings
plans. For more information, visit
Life insurance is issued by Nationwide Life Insurance Company or
Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio.
Nationwide Investment Services Corporation, member FINRA. In MI only:
Nationwide Investment Svcs. Corporation. Nationwide Mutual Insurance
Company and Affiliated Companies, Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215-2220.
Nationwide, Nationwide Financial, the Nationwide framemark, Nationwide
YourLife and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual
Erica Lewis, 614-249-0184
Jeff Whetzel, 614-249-6354
Copyright Business Wire 2012