Franklin Templeton Announces Research for Advisors Serving Defined Contribution Plan Market

From Franklin Templeton Distributors, Inc.
contact Stacey Coleman
Telephone (650) 525-7458

Study Reveals Best Practices for Winning Business with Plan Sponsors

San Mateo, CA, November 28, 2012 — Franklin Templeton Investments today announced study findings that offer specialized advisors serving the defined contribution (DC) plan marketplace a rare window into how plan sponsors select the advisors for their retirement plans.

Franklin Templeton engaged independent market research firm Chatham Partners to conduct interviews with organizations that have recently completed a retirement plan bid process in order to gain direct insight into the elements that influenced their advisor selection. Based on conversations with plan sponsors whose plans collectively represented over $6 billion in assets, detailed study findings have been published in “Insights on Closing the Sale,” white paper available to financial advisors in the resource center in Franklin Templeton’s online Retirement Center. The paper addresses three key areas: lead generation, prospect management and finals activity.

“Business development strategies, built with an understanding of the factors driving plan sponsor decisions, are critical when vying for business in today’s highly competitive retirement plan marketplace,” said Yaqub Ahmed, senior vice president and head of Investment-Only Division–U.S. for Franklin Templeton Investments. “ In an environment where relatively few plans change record keepers in a given year, our research provides actionable insights advisors can use in building their retirement plan business.”

Key Findings

According to the study, more than half of plan sponsors reviewed at least five advisors in conducting their search. However, while 81 percent of plan sponsors actively sought advisors through recommendations or referrals from colleagues, peer organizations or retirement plan service providers, less than a quarter of plan sponsors responded to an advisor solicitation. This finding highlights the significance of networking in pursuing new plan sponsor relationships.

When asked what criteria they used to initially screen potential advisors, plan sponsors most often cited “personal fit/sales process” (60 percent), followed by “pricing” (53 percent) and “experience/expertise” (44 percent), with “prior relationship” (5 percent) least frequently cited. When it came time to select an advisor from among those considered as finalists, plan sponsors continued to most frequently cite “personal fit/sales process” (55 percent) as an attribute leading to their decision. However, other attributes — most notably “pricing” — were greater factors in situations when the bid was lost than when the bid was won by the advisor. These results suggest that some components of the bid must be addressed well enough to satisfy the plan sponsor, but may not be what ultimately leads the plan sponsor to choose one advisor over another.

Study Methodology

Chatham Partners interviewed plan sponsor new business prospects submitted by advisors. During in-depth, 30-minute discussions, plan sponsors were asked to share their perspective on what led them to initiate a search for a new advisor, how they identified potential advisors and what factors they considered in choosing the winning proposal.  Further, plan sponsor prospects were asked to rate both the winning and losing advisor on their management of the business development process and their overall service offering.

About Franklin Templeton

Franklin Templeton Investments is a leader in retirement investing, managing over $125 billion1 in retirement assets on behalf of individuals, small businesses and institutions. Since 1947, Franklin Templeton has helped people build their retirement nest eggs as well as generate income streams for living in their retirement years.

Franklin Templeton’s Defined Contribution Investment-Only (DCIO) team combines the capabilities of a world-class investment manager with specialized retirement expertise and resources. Dedicated retirement sales and service teams serve advisors exclusively within the DC plan marketplace, delivering “best-practice” management resources and proprietary value-added sales tools to help advisors build their retirement plan business.

Financial advisors are encouraged to visit Franklin Templeton’s Retirement Center, which includes interactive features, timely content and other helpful resources for those serving employers and plan sponsors as well as individual investors.

All investments involve risks. Investors should carefully consider a fund’s investment goals, risks, charges and expenses before investing. To obtain a summary prospectus and/or prospectus for a Franklin Templeton fund, which contains this and other information, talk to your financial advisor, call us at (800) DIAL BEN/(800) 342-5236 or visit Please carefully read a prospectus before you invest or send money.

Franklin Templeton Distributors, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc., is the principal underwriter of Franklin Templeton’s U.S.-registered funds. Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE:BEN] is a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments. Franklin Templeton Investments provides global and domestic investment management solutions managed by its Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Fiduciary Trust, Darby and Bissett investment teams. The San Mateo, CA–based company has more than 60 years of investment experience and over $754 billion in assets under management as of October 31, 2012. For more information, please call 1-800/DIAL BEN® or visit

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