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List of Defined Contribution (DC) Broker Dealers and Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs)

List of Defined Contribution (DC) Broker Dealers and Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs)

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There are thousands of broker dealers and even more RIAs whose professionals offer financial services to the public but there are less than 50 that offer robust or even minimal internal support to their advisors that want to focus or work with defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors that run a 401k or 403b plan. 401kTV’s BD/RIA (see Resource Center) list is the start of informing plan sponsors which advisors have internal support which give them resources to help their company and employees.

Advisors can align with a broker dealer (BD), overseen by FINRA, or an RIA (registered investment advisor) regulated by the SEC – many are hybrid advisors who align with both. The differences has been made more relevant with the DOL rule calling for more advisors to adopt a fiduciary best interest standard usually associated with RIAs whose fee is a percentage of assets under advisement as opposed to brokers at a BD who use a suitability standard and get paid commissions.

There are various types of national BDs and RIAs including:

  1. Wire Houses and Employee Based –Reps are employees rather than independent contractors.
  2. Insurance – Also employee based, this group has emerged from traditional life insurance agencies.
  3. Independents – Advisors are independent contractors.
  4. Specialty Groups – Some are BDs, some are RIAs and other are just groups that have emerged to focus on supporting DC plan advisors.

So what’s better? Like all complex decisions, it depends on what a plan sponsor wants and needs as well as the quality of the individual advisor. Many plan advisors not affiliated with these 48 firms have created their own support system to help DC clients but more and more of them are either moving to organizations that are sympathetic to their business or joining specialty groups for support.

Experts are predicting that the DOL fiduciary rule will force those firms not focused on DC plans or prepared to comply with the rule to exit the business entirely leaving their advisors to scramble for a new organization. Regardless, advisors affiliated with larger organizations that provide support and intellectual capital to help plan advisors serve their DC clients are in a better position.

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NOTE ON 401kTV’s RECORD KEEPING LIST: We received a lot of comments and questions about our DC record list (found here) which requires revisions and some explanation. Regional record keepers that do not have sales or support offices throughout the country were not included even if they service plans nationally. Some providers may serve different markets by DC plan size but it might not be their sweet spot or where they tend to focus. In any case, some revisions have been made to add providers and update their profile. Thank you for your comments.

Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at 401kTV | TRAU | TPSU
Fred Barstein is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of 401kTV. Fred is also the Founder and CEO of The Retirement Advisor University (TRAU), a collaboration with UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Education and The Plan Sponsor University (TPSU).Mr. Barstein was also Founder and Editor-in-Chief of NAPA Net.
Fred Barstein
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