Financial Research Corporation

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2012 Research Calendar

recent studies

recent studies


Retirement Markets

FRC's mission in the Retirement Markets sector is to provide industry practitioners with leading edge data, forward thinking analysis along with actionable solutions for investment managers, plan administrators, financial intermediaries, plan sponsors and participants. We are in a unique leadership position with our depth of experience in the retirement markets from DC plans, Rollovers and Retirement Income, as well as Investment Only DC distribution for asset managers.


Trends in Target-Date Portfolios on Recordkeeper Platforms
This report represents the industry's first-ever look at how recordkeepers are offering target-date products on 401(k) platforms. For this report, FRC partnered with the leading provider of retirement plan ratings, BrightScope, to examine the BrightScope BeaconTM database of distribution information on 50,000 401(k) plans, representing 90% of all 401(k) assets. This analysis provides a behind the scenes view into the asset composition of target-date products on recordkeeper platforms. FRC also assesses how plan sponsors use target-date series, reviews product distribution trends, and delivers actionable recommendations for growing target-date product lines.Download Fact Sheet pdf

Trends in Retirement/401(k) Plans and Administration
This study examines emerging trends in 401(k) plan design and administration, including changes in investment menus (such as annuities within 401(k) plans and target-date funds as QDIAs, alternative investments, and ETFs), the role of technology in automating these plans, advancements in marketing and client communication efforts, and the reduction of plan expenses. FRC analyzes administration fees and the economics of 401(k) administration, along with the potential influence that regulatory and legislative efforts may have on pricing and profitability in the future. FRC also provides best practices and innovations in retirement income from leading asset management firms, insurance firms, TPAs, and recordkeepers as well as an analysis of bundled versus unbundled retirement plan service.Download Fact Sheet pdf

The Rollover Decision: Successful Strategies for Retaining Retirement Assets
This report identifies and assesses best-in-class programs that are designed to increase rollover capture. The report discusses strategies used with advisors, qualified plans, and direct-to-shareholders. This report is designed to assist asset managers in increasing the effectiveness of their product development, distribution, and marketing strategies.Download Fact Sheet pdf

Cracking the Code to Retirement Income: Key Developments and Opportunities
Over the past several years, financial firms have created a series of innovative new products designed to retain accumulated retirement asset by helping investors draw a reliable stream of income during retirement. At the same time, insurance providers have continually updated their Guarantee Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) offerings and income annuity products to provide guaranteed streams of income streams of income in retirement, leading to new industry partnerships and hybrid options. A few products have garnered significant assets and it is clear that hitting the right feature set for the right customer segment will be critical to winning retiree assets. This report examines the evolution of a wide variety of new retirement income products and solutions, investors preferences for retirement income products and features, the product design and marketing approaches that will best lead to traction for asset managers and annuity providers in this burgeoning market.Download Fact Sheet pdf

Successfully Positioning the Second Wave of Longevity Insurance
In this report, FRC provides a guide to the current market for Longevity Insurance (also known as an Advanced Life Deferred Annuity). FRC reviews current products and discusses recent trends that may shape the Longevity Insurance market for the future, as well as provides insights into successful marketing and sales approaches. The report incorporates perspectives from both advisors and other distribution channels, as well as views from firms that currently offer Longevity Insurance. Download Fact Sheet pdf

Exploring New Retirement Strategies: Maximizing Resources When Targeting DCIO Opportunities
This report explores key business topics that include the size of the DCIO market, regulatory issues and their impact on products and services, avenues small companies can use to gain platform presence, and emerging international opportunities. Download Fact Sheet pdf

Redefining Retirement Income Distribution
Retirees are facing new challenges that prior generations have not had to face in nearly 70 years. The equity markets have experienced volatility at levels not seen since the 1930s, and the U.S. economy has been the victim of multiple bubbles, which have taken a toll on the wallets of the Baby Boomer generation, in particular. Redefining Retirement Income Distribution closely examines the improvements to portfolio outcomes in retirement through the inclusion of income annuities. In particular, the study provides a broad overview of retirement investing and the new set of risks in retirement, and a new set of investing tools to address those risks. It then reviews one of these new tools – the income annuity – and demonstrates the unique properties that cannot be replicated using traditional asset classes or other insurance products such as GMWBs. Finally, the study demonstrates that when combined with mutual funds in an overall asset allocation, income annuities improve portfolio outcomes in retirement. Download Fact Sheet pdf

Guaranteed Income Solutions
Based on prior FRC research, one of the most significant trends in product development from 2005 to 2007 has been the rise in the number of firms seeking new ways to provide regular, predictable income payments without using insurance contracts. In this report, FRC explores how firms and investors are seeking ways to generate income through new income replacement funds and hybrid insurance/investment products. Conquering the retirement income challenge will be one of the biggest obstacles financial services firms face over the next decade, and FRC believes that a combination of these products will be influential in responding to this dilemma. Download Fact Sheet pdf

BAI/FRC Retirement Study: Capitalize on Market Opportunities

BAI Research and FRC partnered to produce a comprehensive research study on the U.S. retirement market. The jointly conducted study is entitled the 2009 Retirement Study: Capitalize on Market Opportunities. Building on the 2007 and 2008 retirement studies, the updated 2009 study focuses on how current trends and economic conditions are impacting consumers' retirement investment decisions. The study will provide new data, and analysis that banks and other financial institutions can use to shape their strategies and offerings to grow their retirement-related businesses.

The report will show that retirement financing continues to grow in importance and priority in the thinking of mass affluent consumers. It also drills down into how several key factors, including the economic recession, stock market downturn and eroding home equities are changing consumer behaviors, including the flight to safety, drop-offs of 401 (k) contributions, modification of spending patterns and reliance on credit. The report highlights how increasing numbers of baby boomers are considering alternative means for funding their retirements, and how that new thinking is presenting significant opportunities for banks and asset management firms.

Download Fact Sheet pdf

Smoothing Out the Ride: Examining the Evolving World of Asset Allocation and Guaranteed Income Effectively managing risk has become a top priority as long-held asset allocation theories and philosophies are being questioned as a result of recent failures and shortcomings. This study explores the asset allocation changes and debates taking place in the broad market, but focuses specifically on the impact of asset allocation programs within variable annuity contracts. Areas analyzed include short- and longterm asset allocation changes, the impact of changes to various asset classes, how risk is accounted for across different models, and how guarantees impact asset allocations, and vice-versa.

Download Study Overview and Table of Contents pdf


Online Tools for Retirement Planning Based on a nationwide survey of more than 2,500 investors, this report provides key information, insightful perspectives and strategic implications on how firms can optimize their online retirement planning tools to engage, educate, and succeed with investors. FRC presents key learnings about how different consumer segments approach the retirement “research process,” why certain components of planning capabilities are thought to be relatively more important than others, and the steps you can take to most effectively tap into the online planning process and build your retirement asset-based business.

Download Study Overview and Table of Contents pdf


Quantifying the Rollover Market and Understanding Investor Rollover Behavior The market and economic crash of 2008 and 2009 has resulted in more than six million job losses, which has dramatically increased the retirement plan assets eligible to be rolled over. In this study, FRC provides a quantitative assessment of 2009 rollover activity based on DC recordkeeper and distributor surveys. FRC also evaluates how consumer attitudes and preferences influence their rollover behavior while identifying the products and service offerings consumers are seeking from a rollover provider.

Download Study Overview and Table of Contents pdf


Rethinking Lifecycle Funds—Targeting a Retirement Solution With most of the QDIA-approved investment products failing to provide adequate safety and risk management in volatile markets, and with investors now taking all responsibility for their own retirement investments, it is clear that new retirement solutions are needed. In this forward-looking study, FRC provides new ideas and solutions for firms reviewing their target-date and target-risk products in light of new legislative reform. FRC also provides lifecycle fund market data and insightful analysis, actionable steps, and checklists to guide both lifecycle-fund and retirement-product managers in assessing their retirement strategy, product development, and delivery.

Download Study Overview and Table of Contents pdf


Mercatus/FRC Study—Retirement Money in Motion:
Capitalizing on IRA, Rollover & Taxable Money Movement

Based on a survey completed in Spring 2009, FRC provides a rich and intimate view of Mass Affluent retail investors, their asset and account changes over an extremely difficult investment period, and the rationale behind those changes. The study also closely examines the demographic characteristics of these investors, their preferences regarding investment providers and investment services, and factors that influenced their investment decisions. The findings in this study offer insightful guidance to investment firms who wish to attract assets from the Mass Affluent. purchase

Download Fact Sheet pdf


Making Sense of Investor Needs in the Retirement Income Market pdf


Maintaining an Edge in the IODC Market: Evaluating the Asset Manager Opportunity pdf


IRA Rollover Dynamics 2008; Market Sizing, Benchmarks, & Best Practices

In this study, FRC explores best practices and approaches to compete in the IRA rollover market. The study evaluates existing distribution platforms and assesses the involvement and impact of asset managers in capturing and retaining rollover assets. A detailed examination of current and future market size projections offers a unique analysis behind the trends shaping these projections. The study also provides insights into advisor preferences for value-added programs that will assist in better positioning and targeting these programs with relation to retirement and rollovers.

Download Study Overview and Table of Contents pdf


Building & Positioning Retirement Income Solutions: Innovation from 2005 to 2007 and Beyond pdf

IODC Growth Opportunities; Capitalizing on Changes in a Dynamic Market pdf
Engaging PowerBoomers; Winning Investment Products and Retirement Solutions pdf
Converting Retirement Income Planning into Practice pdf
Keys to Success in the Small-Business Retirement Plan Market pdf
Optimizing IODC Distribution pdf
Retirement Income Products & Services: The Definitive Guide to Development & Delivery pdf

For more information contact FRC today at 617-963-8967 or e-mail frcinfo@frcnet.com