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"If a provider is not aggressive in the market, chances are you've got a player considering a sale," Mr. He sees around a dozen large firms — primarily insurers — who seem to be making the requisite investments to grow and effectively combat fee pressure. "The ,000 question is, will we see that group of 10 or 12, even 15, doing another round of transactions? But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors.So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting investmentnews.com? "If you're committed to that book of business, good.But don't buy a book and then leave it." A strong market is partly responsible for the subdued level of merger activity since the end of 2015, experts said — it helps dull the sting of fee compression.buying The Hartford's record-keeping unit (2012), John Hancock buying New York Life's (2014), One America Financial Partners buying Bank of Montreal's (2015) and Aegon (the parent company of Transamerica Retirement Solutions) buying Mercer's (2015)."There haven't been that many large deals occurring in that short a time frame in the history of the DC business," Mr. "There could clearly be more." All of the big transactions have a common characteristic: They were attempts to boost scale.While advisers don't view mergers among big-name providers as inherently bad news, they see a reduced pool of record keepers as a potential problem — fewer firms able to service quirks and complexities among clients' 401(k) plans, and a greater ability to impose restrictions and push proprietary products to boost margins.
" Advisers should be concerned because the remaining providers will likely look to get rid of plans they can't make money on, or impose restrictions, asset minimums or bifurcated business models based on plan size, Ms. For example, a firm that accommodates and services a small but complex plan today may not do so in the future — potentially leaving the adviser and client with fewer and unappealing options.
That universe, which includes national as well as smaller regional and local firms, has shrunken to around 160 today, he said.