With the constant change and consolidation of the recordkeeper marketplace, our advisor partners are seeking a true understanding of their profiles. This level of granular detail is provided by APG to assist our advisor partners with the evaluation of recordkeepers and their ultimate composition. Since we administer thousands of retirement plans, we experience on a first hand and detailed basis, a record- keepers functionality, unique services, standards and deliverables. In addition, we have provided countless recorkeeper RFP's that also provide valuable information and insight. This allows us to build formal profiles to help advisors evaluate the suit- ability of their client's needs. This evaluation process factors key quantitative as well as qualitative metrics.
These profiles can typically be segmented into three areas; pricing, administra- tive functionality, and resources. Even with Section 408(b)(2) Service Provider Fee Disclosure regulations, understanding the pricing components of a recordkeeping platform can be challenging. APG is committed to analyzing the metrics of soft dollar costs, revenue sharing and requirements, ERISA budgets, and hard dollar bill- ables. Administrative functionality analysis provides valuable diagnostics regarding both macro and micro issues such as scale, target markets and scope of services. From the micro perspective, automation of services such as eligibility, transactions, and interface capabilities can certainly be a major differentiator. What possibilities exist regarding customization of these items, and at what cost should be delved into. As recordkeepers continue to enhance their platforms, being cognizant of fiduciary services such as Section 3(21) and 3(38) governance, their appropriate- ness and value becomes critical.
Finally, the level of resources a recordkeeper provides is often a distinguishing characteristic in this evaluation process. What level of dedicated resources that have been committed in key areas such as client and participant services both on an internal and external basis must be measured, qualified, and quantified. The critical area of employee education resources has evolved significantly. Building education platforms and successful retirement outcomes via electronic means is of paramount importance to recordkeepers. Understanding these deliverables and their inherent differences can add significant value in this decision making process. Comprehend- ing how all three of these components from a transparency perspective fit and should be considered on a weighted basis, allows our advisor partners to guide their clients, so they may make informed and prudent decisions.