403(b) plan participants who use a financial professional received financial, behavioral and emotional benefits, according to new research by Zeldis Research Associates and AXA Equitable. A 403(b) plan is a tax-advantaged retirement plan used largely by teachers in U.S. public schools.

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Results of the “Financial Outcomes” study

Some investors claim they benefit from working with a financial professional. However, the value they bring to their clients is often subjective. To help quantify this impact, the study compared savings, behaviors and confidence levels of 403(b) plan participants who work with a financial professional to those who do not. Only 12% of the plan participants surveyed were AXA account holders, demonstrating the benefits of working with financial professionals extend across a variety of 403(b) plan providers.

Key findings

The study highlighted several measurable benefits for 403(b) plan participants who work with a financial professional, including:

  • Higher median account balances and a more diverse array of fund options.
  • More confidence in their investment knowledge and ability to meet retirement goals.
  • Higher monthly contributions and more frequent increases to contribution amounts.
  • A deeper engagement in the management of their investments.
  • Greater satisfaction with their 403(b) plan and investment performance.

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Subject matter experts
  • Keith Namiot

    Lead Director

    Keith is the Chief Operating Officer for AXA Equitable’s Group Retirement business unit. He is responsible for Advanced Markets, 401(K) Sales Support, Field Relationship Management, Participant and Plan Retention, Inforce Analysis/Reporting and Group Retirement Digital Strategy. Keith represents AXA Equitable on the Policy Board of the American Benefits Council, a plan sponsor and benefits provider advocacy group in Washington, DC. Keith has published articles on a variety of defined contribution topics and has spoken at several industry events.

    Keith has been with AXA Equitable for 15 years. Previously, Keith was a management consultant at McKinsey and Company. Keith got his start in financial services by selling 403(b) and related products to college professors. He holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a BA from Colgate University.

  • Ed Kenney

    Senior Director of Insights

    Ed is the head of the Insights department at AXA Equitable. He is responsible for market research across all lines of business, including Group Retirement, Individual Retirement, Life Insurance, Employee Benefits and Wealth Management.

    Ed has more than two decades of industry experience, with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. He is also a certified research moderator, conducting focus groups and interviews across many industries over the years, including financial services. Ed is an active member of the market research community, including his work on the LIMRA market research committee, and is a contributing author to the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association.

    Ed has been with AXA Equitable for 3 years. Previously, Ed has worked with Citigroup, Bank of America and Northwestern Mutual Life. He holds an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BS from Binghamton University.

  • Tali Yarmush

    Lead Manager, Insights & Analytics

    Tali is Lead Manager on the Insights & Analytics team. She is responsible for research related to defined contribution topics, with a particular focus on K-12 403(b) plans for AXA Equitable’s Group Retirement business unit.

    Tali has more than 15 years of market research experience, with expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including propriety segmentations, data integration and online tracking studies. She is an active member of the market research community and is a contributing author to the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association.

    Tali joined AXA Equitable in 2018, and previously worked with Bank of New York Mellon, Prudential Financial, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and Experian. She holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University.

IMPORTANT NOTE

AXA believes that education is a key step toward addressing your financial goals, and we’ve designed this webpage and white paper to serve simply as an informational and educational resource. Accordingly, these documents do not offer or constitute investment advice and makes no direct or indirect recommendation of any particular product or of the appropriateness of any particular investment-related option. Your needs, goals and circumstances are unique, and they require the individualized attention of your financial professional.

The information and opinions in this report were prepared by Zeldis Research and AXA Equitable. This report is not investment advice and should not be relied on for such advice or as a substitute for consultation with professional accountants, tax, legal or financial advisors. Zeldis Research and AXA Equitable have made every effort to use reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive information and analysis, but all information is provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Zeldis Research and AXA Equitable accept no liability for any loss arising from any action taken or refrained from as a result of information contained in this report or any reports for sources of information referred to herein, or for any consequential, special or similar damages even if advised of the possibility of such damages. The report is not an offer to buy or sell securities or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell securities.

Before investing, investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of a group variable annuity and its underlying investment options. The current contract prospectus and underlying fund prospectuses, which are contained in the same document, provide this and other important information. Please contact the issuing company to obtain the prospectuses. Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing or sending money.

Group variable annuities are long-term, tax-deferred investments designed for retirement, involve investment risks and may lose value. Earnings are taxable as ordinary income when distributed and may be subject to a 10% additional tax if withdrawn before age 59½.

Optional benefits are available for an extra charge in addition to the ongoing fees and expenses of the group variable annuity.

Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.

GE- 140358 (10/18)(Exp. 10/20)

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