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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hourihan

3 Ways To Differentiate Yourself In The Fiduciary Rule Regime

In order to be different, you have to be different.

ATTENTION 401(k) PLAN ADVISORS: With the finalization of the conflict of interest rule, you just lost a major competitive advantage, “I’m a fiduciary advisor.” Since the majority of advisors are now required to be fiduciaries, it raises a serious challenge—how do you differentiate? By addressing the following three areas:

  1. Experience

  2. Quality of Advice

  3. Results


You didn’t get into this business yesterday and ERISA takes years to learn, study, and gain familiarity – PROMOTE THIS! Over 94% of advisors identify themselves as non-retirement specialists; that means there are lots of opportunity to shout from the rooftops that you do specialize in retirement plans.

How can you promote?

Let’s start with the basics. The first action item is to update your website. Make sure your website talks about your retirement plan experience; whether it’s on the front page (our preference) or a tab within the site. Make it known that you know how to support plan sponsors, investment committees, and participants.

Quality of Advice

If you really specialize in retirement plans, you have invested in—and have access to—retirement plan tools and resources. This is not common. Make sure your clients and prospects know that you have investment screen software, service provider RFP tools, fee benchmarking reports, and other retirement plan-specific resources that work to reduce plan sponsor liability and increase participant outcomes.

How can you promote?

Do you have a capabilities brochures? When was the last time it was updated? That’s where we would focus. Your marketing material should show real, tangible examples that the plan sponsor and investment committee would experience if/when they engage with you. Marketing materials are a great way to show, and tell, plan sponsors what you do, how you do it, and the quality of your advice.


Over time, this will become more and more important–what are your results? How are you moving the needle to get employees on-track for retirement success? As a focused retirement plan advisor, there is a HUGE chance that you have some amazing client success stories– so PROMOTE THEM! It’s an excellent way to showcase how you affected positive change and got participants to take meaningful action. I bet, right now, you can think of two clients off the top of your head where you genuinely made an impact…and I bet your smiling. You did that because you’re awesome.

How can you promote?

Think of those two client examples and write a case study. Talk about what the plan was like before you worked with the client. Then write what it was like to go through the process to improve the plan. Lastly, finish the case study about how you impacted participant outcomes. Remember, people like images and graphs, so use infographics to engage the reader.

For better or for worse, the retirement plan advisory world has changed. The silver bullet differentiator is gone. Now it’s time to redefine your authentic self and to promote your experience, quality of advice, and results.

Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!

About 401(k) Marketing

We believe the retirement plan industry can do better. Our clients are the best professional retirement plan advisors and TPAs in the business. They care deeply about saving America’s retirement future. We are proud to share their voices through industry writings, professionally-designed marketing materials (including websites), and expert content collateral. We lend support by promoting businesses through ongoing awareness campaigns.

About Retirement Plan Marketing

Retirement Plan Marketing is a product of 401(k) Marketing and is an ongoing turnkey marketing solution for retirement plan advisors. It is an easy-to-follow, consistent marketing program designed to get you noticed in your community and generate new retirement plan sales. When you deliver relevant plan sponsor content, you add value to your conversations and can work your way up to become known as the “go-to” retirement plan advisory office.

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