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Top Advisors: What Really Matters?

How does excelling at asset gathering truly serve the end participant, and how long can it last?

Talk about a tough gig—mutual fund managers and NFL players have something in common, they don’t last long at the top. Career longevity for the average pigskin player clocks in at less than three years. It’s not exactly news to note that managers who earn the coveted five-star rating from their Morningstar masters fall about as fast.

It’s a warning for investment menus loaded with high-flying celebrity funds; market karma is an absolute b(ad thing). If someone like Bill Miller was eventually laid low, what chance do mere mortals have?

It’s a problem we’ve had for some time with “top dog” asset managers and 401(k) advisors, those celebrated as the largest shops with astronomical assets under management and/or advisement who perennially show in industry rankings. Not to knock it; they’ve built a great business and it’s something of which to be proud. But how does excelling at asset gathering truly serve the end participant, and how long can it last?

A chance discussion with friends from the Women in Pensions Network (see Issue 4, 2016 for more on who and what WiPN are) sparked ideas for something different. The ultimate end-game for every worker is a secure and rewarding retirement, today referred to as successful participant outcomes. It is (or should be) the ultimate metric of 401(k) advisor performance, so why not center a celebration on that?

So we did, and refer to it as TAPO, an acronym for Top Advisor By Participant Outcomes. The first three monthly TAPOs we chose are found on the accompanying website pages, and are profiled in the latest issue (No. 2, 2017), beginning on page 12.

More specifically, the 401(k) Specialist  editorial team will select and profile a 401(k) advisor each month who consistently achieves successful outcomes on behalf of participants. Click on the “About TAPO” tab for questions that get at the heart of what you do, and what we’re looking for.

All will then be submitted to an independent panel of industry experts who then will choose the one advisor to be the “2017 Top Advisor by Participant Outcome.”

The announcement will be made at the EXCEL 401(k) National Conference, October 22-24, in Las Vegas.

Those honorees, selected monthly, are invited (and encouraged) to attend, with complimentary hotel room and conference admission. They’ll be asked to share their expertise in breakout sessions, and lead discussions of what they did so well to earn the finalist recognition.

We’re not asking to give away the farm or proprietary secrets, rather an overview of what makes you so good. Send me what you’ve got at jsullivan@401kspecialistmag.com. I’m excited to hear from you.

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