The participant-directed retirement plan market is vast, consisting of an estimated 483,000 retirement plans holding nearly $3 trillion in assets and covering 72 million participants, according to the Department of Labor (DOL). For financial professionals who provide advice and services to this market, takeover plans are a sweet spot.

A takeover plan is defined as one that is established, with participants and assets in place, and also in the process of changing relationships and vendors. When you convince these plans you are the vendor they need, you can capture the plan's assets and create many new relationships.

2011 is emerging as perhaps the biggest year ever for takeover plan activity, due to two clocks ticking toward important deadlines:

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