Retirement Practice Research and Insights

Retirement Market Research

The Diversified Services Group, Inc. (DSG) brings its unique approach and expertise to the retirement market. With over 20 years of financial services experience and a sustained focus on rthe retirement market, our research provides clients with critical and actionable knowledge enabling them to:

  • Understand the dynamic landscape of the retirement income market.
  • Select and market to appropriate retiree target segment(s).
  • Develop effective marketing strategies and sales approaches.
  • Design tailored portfolio of products and services to help retirees protect their assets and lifestyles.

Available for 2019, DSG's Multi-Sponsor/Syndicated Market Research Projects include:

For syndicated Research initiatives, DSG continues to partner with Greenwald & Associates, who offers more than two decades of retirement market and financial services industry research, including the Retirement Confidence Survey. The combination of the two firm's breadth of experience and expertise on the retirement market and research effort will provide Sponsors of our syndicated research with better understanding and valuable insight into the retirement income market and the ability to better develop the meaningful and profitable responses to growing demand for sustainable retirement oriented strategies and financial solutions.

Available for 2019, DSG's Multi-Sponsor/Syndicated Market Research Projects include:

The Annual Retiree Insight Program - Year 7 - Launch March, 2019

This popular, annual multi-phase syndicated research program offered by The Diversified Services Group, Inc. (DSG) and Greenwald and Associates and at reasonable cost, is designed to provide sponsors with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the finance-related needs and preferences of pre-retirees and retirees. The annual program is now entering its seventh year and has already produced a number of important new insights which indicate that some commonly held industry assumptions about retiree preferences are inaccurate. We have developed a track record of providing high value through a multi-phase program of research. We believe this research will provide sponsors, at a low cost, with actionable information and insights that they can use to develop key marketing initiatives and competitive new solutions focused on the retirement market.

There are several key points during the journey to and through retirement in which consumers 1) are confronted with key decisions that will affect their long term financial security and 2) have generally not handled the situation optimally. This confluence of factors provides companies in the retirement space with an opportunity to provide advice and solutions which will help these consumers meet the challenges and take effective action. Taking the most effective action requires deep insight into the viewpoints that are driving decision making. The 2019 Retiree Insights program is designed to provide these insights by focusing on key consumer segments (pre-retirees and recently retireds) and financial advisors active in providing retirement services.

Note: The consumer research modules will again make best effort to screen out individual consumers/households covered by a defined benefit plan and/or expecting guaranteed lifetime income, either for themselves or a partner, from a defined benefit plan. With the incidence of people retiring with defined benefit income dropping substantially, one of the research goals is to clearly represent the future of retirement, thereby enabling Sponsors to better anticipate market changes and needs:

This project's research agenda will consist of eight Phases, plus a Sponsors' Forum:

Phase One: Two Consumer Focus Groups: Research topics will include interest in strategies for addressing key concerns, retirement planning pain points and unmet needs and interest in reducing volatility.

Phase Two: Two Advisor Focus Groups: Research topics will include be interest in new solutions recently introduced, preferences for how to learn about new solutions.

Phase Three: Survey of 800 Pre-Retirees and Retirees ages 50-70 with investable assets of $200,000 and over who have no current or expected defined benefit income. Research topics will include interest in different methods of responding to changing market conditions and topics of interest to our sponsors.

Phase Four: Survey of 600 members of three ethnic/racial groups, all ages 50-70 with Investable Assets of $200,000 and over, and no current or expected defined benefit income: 200 African-Americans, 200 Asian-Americans and 200 Latinos. This study will use the same questionnaire as used in phase three.

Phase Five: Survey of 300 Financial Advisors: Research topics will include Investment tactics for clients with low investment risk tolerance, support needed from solution manufacturers and broker dealers and topics of interest to our sponsors.

Phase Six: 10 In-Depth Interviews with pre-retirees ages 50-65 with investable assets of $200,000 to $500,000 who have just completed paying for their children's college education. Main topic will be receptivity to messages about saving all of that money and focusing more on retirement planning.

Phase Seven: 8 In-Depth Interviews with corporate 401(k) and 403(b) decision makers with organizations that have at least 250 employees on interest in providing programs and communications to help pre-retired participants prepare financially for retirement and interest in investment options designed to produce income in retirement.

Phase Eight: Analyses of the 2010, 2013 and 2016 Surveys of Consumer Finance, conducted for the Federal Reserve, which will examine how asset allocation has changed for people of different ages, work or retirement status, investment risk tolerance and planning orientation. This will build on analyses we have conducted on the 2010 and 2013 studies.

At the conclusion of the research, we will hold a Sponsors' Forum in which each sponsor can send two representatives for a five-hour presentation and discussion of results. Sponsors are also invited to schedule customized presentations at their offices. Both presentations are included in the Sponsorship fee.

The cost of sponsorship is $20,000, payable in two installments, and includes the eight phases of research, participation in the Sponsors' Forum, and a customized presentation at each sponsor's office.

For additional information and a more detailed description of the program, please contact Borden Ayers of DSG at 610-989-1710 ext. 21; bordena@dsg-network.com or Matt Greenwald at 202-686-2510 ext. 101; mathewgreenwald@greenwaldresearch.com.

The Annual Retiree Insight Program - 6th Annual Study - completed, 4th quarter, 2018

This popular, annual multi-phase syndicated research program, offered by The Diversified Services Group, Inc. (DSG) and Greenwald and Associates and at reasonable cost, was designed to provide sponsors with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the finance-related needs and preferences of pre-retirees and retirees. The annual multi-sponsor program produced a number of important new insights which indicated that some commonly held industry assumptions about retiree preferences are inaccurate. We have developed a track record of providing high value through a multi-phase program of research. We believe this latest research provides sponsors, at a low cost, with information and insights that they can use to develop key marketing initiatives and competitive new solutions focused on the retirement market.

There are several key points during the journey to and through retirement in which consumers 1) are confronted with key decisions that will affect their long term financial security and 2) have generally not handled the situation optimally. This confluence of factors provides companies in the retirement space with an opportunity to provide advice and solutions which will help these consumers meet the challenges and take effective action. Taking the most effective action requires deep insight into the viewpoints that are driving decision making. The 2018 Retiree Insights program provides insights into these matters by focusing on four key consumer segments and financial advisors active in providing retirement services to their clients.

  • Pre-retirees ages 50-60 with investable assets of $150,000 or more
  • Pre-retirees and retirees ages 60-70 who have investable assets of $200,000, including an oversample with a low allocation to equities, e.g. less than 45% of investable assets in stocks and stock mutual funds and no real estate investments, other than primary residence
  • "Suddenly single" women, ages 50-70½, with investable assets of $200,000 and over who are unmarried and were divorced or widowed in the past two years
  • Retiring retirement plan participants with $200,000 and over in their retirement plan who are confronting a decision about whether or not to roll their retirement plan accumulations out of their retirement plan(s)
  • Note: The consumer research modules made best effort to screen out individuals covered by a defined benefit plan and/or expecting guaranteed lifetime income, either for themselves or a partner, from a defined benefit plan. With the incidence of people retiring with defined benefit income dropping substantially, one of the research goals is to clearly represent the future of retirement and the findings and analysis of this recently completed research achieved these goals.

The main learning objectives of this recently completed 2018 research program included:

  • Advisor viewpoints on the production of income for retirees, interest in new and innovative products, key practice management issues including the use of robo-advice in their practice and, their views on the impact of Fiduciary Standards regulations on products recommended, practice management and other activities
  • Continued study of preferences for dealing with investment risk
  • Impact of investment risk tolerance and planning orientation on asset allocation over time and in different investment climates
  • The value of in-person advice, including the value pre-retirees and retirees seek from advisors, reaction to advisor value propositions, and what drives affinity and willingness to refer
  • The value provided by financial services firms, including the importance of the website, tools and calculators provided, reports, and other services
  • Impact of retirement on consolidation of assets, choice of advisors, asset allocation
  • Preferred strategies for producing income in retirement
  • Reactions to pre-retiree and retiree meetings with financial advisors, recorded in personal journals
  • Viewpoints on the role of retirement plan provider in retirement planning and the provision of education, advice and investment options in retirement
  • Tracking attitude change on key items from prior Retiree Insights surveys
  • These learning objectives were met by seven distinct research projects, including:

Phase One: Six Consumer Focus Groups: Investment strategies; financial planning needs; and interest in different retirement planning tools and solutions were included in the research topics.

Phase Two: Two Advisor Focus Groups: Research topics included best strategies and solutions for dealing with investment risk; continuing impact of DOL and technological advances on business practices; and viewpoints on commissioned solutions and key investment strategies, to name a few.

Phase Three: Survey of 500 Pre-Retirees Ages 50-60 with investable assets of $150,000 and over: Interest in retirement planning and income products, receptivity to planning tools, interest in solutions that use guarantees and provide income starting in retirement, and interest in dynamic asset allocation were the primary areas of we propose to study.

Phase Four: Survey of 600 Pre-Retirees and Retirees Ages 60-70 with Investable Assets of $200,000, including at least 400 who have less than 45% of their assets in equities: Research topics of interest included concerns about investment risk and interest in tactics for managing investment risk, perceived financial obligations to family members and impact on their saving and investment strategies, interest in solutions with guarantees, and interest in setting up income flow just prior and just after retirement.

Phase Five: Survey of 500 "Suddenly Single" Women Ages 50-70½, who were widowed or divorced in the past two years and have not re-married: Key finance and investment related problems caused by end of marriage; sources of information; and reaction to key solutions and tools were areas of research focus.

Phase Six: Survey of 300 Financial Advisors: Investment tactics for clients with low investment risk tolerance; use of digital tools; support needed from solution manufacturers and broker dealers; and the continuing impact of Fiduciary Standards regulations were included in the survey questions.

Phase Seven: 18 In-Depth Interviews with "Just Retired Plan Participants" who have Retirement Plan Assets of at least $200,000 and who just made a rollover decision: Key factors in deciding whether to roll money out of retirement plan; research topics included perceptions of advantages for keeping monies in the plan vs. rolling it out; and satisfaction with investment choices available within the plan.

A key focus of the Retirement Income program is delivering insights in a clear and compelling way. Thus, at the conclusion of the 2018 research, a presentation of the Research Program's key findings, recommendations and discussion points was provided to the sponsors of the program at a Sponsors' Forum. A copy of the 5 hour presentation of the top line results/key findings that was prepared for the Sponsors' Forum is included with the Subscription fee.

Also included with the purchase the entire package of 2018 research results, is an invitation for Subscribers to schedule a customized presentation (1-2 hours) at their offices. The presentation topics will be reviewed with the Subscriber and a customized presentation, distilled from the Research results that were presented at the Sponsors' Forum in late November, 2018, will be presented at a time convenient to the Subscriber.

For additional information and a more detailed description of the program, please contact Borden Ayers of DSG at 610-989-1710 ext. 21; bordena@dsg-network.com or Matt Greenwald at 202-686-2510 ext. 101; mathewgreenwald@greenwaldresearch.com.

The 2019 Retirement Income Products and Solutions Study - planned launch 4th Quarter, 2019

The Diversified Services Group (DSG) and Greenwald & Associates, a leading national market research firm, are partnering to conduct the 13th Study of Retirement Income Products, Issues and Market Trends. Originally launched in 2000, this latest syndicated Study will determine how companies in all aspects of the financial services industry are adapting to the rapidly changing retirement income market landscape. Note: To the extent the DOL Fiduciary Rules are implemented, the Study will look at their effect on product development and initiatives in this area. Drawing from interviews with executives from prominent companies representing all segments of the financial services industry and an industry survey of financial services companies, this study will provide a comprehensive overview of the latest product trends, visions of where the retirement income market is heading, and retirement management strategies that address the need to provide viable retirement income solutions for those transitioning into retirement and retirees.

The future of retirement-oriented products is less clear than it has been since the 80's when 401k plans first came into existence and greater self-reliance and responsibility were passed to consumers to provide for their own personal retirement income. The Fiduciary Standards regulations will clearly impact the products that advisors recommend, but in ways that, at this point, are somewhat hard to predict. Simultaneously, the investment climate is significantly different than it has been for some time.

The retirement products' market is certain to grow: demographics alone will drive that outcome. But to succeed it is important for companies to anticipate key product success factors. DSG has conducted more than twelve Retirement Income Product surveys and led numerous industry forums on retirement income topics. Our firm has a history of success in implementing studies of financial services companies' plans and assessments of the retirement income market.

The Syndicated Research effort will have two components:

Financial services companies/executives survey: An online confidential survey of financial services companies/ executives who focus on the retirement market. The survey will be designed to identify and examine key metrics and tactics for specified retirement income products, as well as up and coming niche solutions. The aggregated results of the survey will provide information on retirement income products currently offered, including all types of annuities, life settlements, annuities and life insurance with living benefits, long term care insurance, payout, income oriented, and outcome oriented mutual funds. Also included will be the types of products planned to be introduced in the next two years. The Products to be considered in the survey will be specified, by DSG, Greenwald and Associates, and from Industry/Sponsor input.

In-depth executive interviews: The study will also include a series of in-depth confidential interviews with select industry executives. Individual responses will not be identified. The series of interviews with industry thought leaders will address their expectations and plans for the retirement income business, both now and in the future.

Project Deliverables

Sponsors of the Study of Retirement Income Products, Issues and Market Trends will receive a full Report, covering in-depth survey and interview research results, along with our analysis and directional considerations derived from the Research. Sponsorship will also include a webinar reviewing the research results with individual Sponsor firms.

For additional information and a more detailed description of the program, please contact Borden Ayers of DSG at 610-989-1710 ext. 21; bordena@dsg-network.com or Matt Greenwald at 202-686-2510 ext. 101; mathewgreenwald@greenwaldresearch.com.

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