5 jets in formation Here are thetop 5 of NAPA's top 10 DC wholesalers, who are christened“wingmen,” says NAPA's Nevin Adams, “because if they are doingtheir job, they have the advisor's back in terms of information,tools, and support.” (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Three components of the advisor-wholesaler dynamic arecrucial to get right: products, support services,and relationships.

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Great DC wholesalers are usually by nature of the job good atrelationships. But advisors bear some responsibility as well. Thesethree quotations offer food for thought:

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“Start with the end in mind: Know exactly what you'relooking for in a wholesaler, including the characteristics orcapabilities they must have to most effectively assist you.”__ Ellen Uzelac

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“What is the unique value that your wholesaler bringsto your practice? Are you leveraging that ability to yourfirm's greatest benefit?” __ Robert Shore

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At watering holes in the jungle, other animals stay close togiraffes because they have the best view and are easily spooked.The wholesalers are advisers' giraffes. Look for patterns of goodwholesalers exiting a provider and where they land, as they willsense danger before advisers can. __ Fred Barstein

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And who doesn't like giraffes? Seriously, though, when you findwholesalers you can work with, who get you and your challenges,it's worth it.

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The National Association of Plan Advisors knows this.It annually produces its list of top 10 DC wholesalers.

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It's not a simple list to create. According to NAPA, the top 10“were drawn from the list of top 100 DC wholesalers, based on votescast by several thousand advisors from a list of more than 500wholesalers nominated by NAPA firm partner recordkeepers andDefined Contribution Investment Only providers.”

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Wholesalers who work directly in the field with plan advisorsare eligible for nomination, while internal relationship managersare not eligible.

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NAPA members and other advisors vote via an online tool, andonly votes from advisors submitted from a corporate/business emailaccount are tallied. Finally, vote tallies are reviewed by theNAPA top wholesalers blue ribbon committee, which selects the topwholesalers.

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Voters are asked which factors matter to them when decidingwho's the best. These traits might include the following:

  • knowledge of the industry
  • competitive insights
  • ability to provide useful information about their products
  • ability to provide networking opportunities
  • the depth of their ERISA/regulatory expertise
  • whether they provide business development insights
  • whether they act as a sounding board or an extension of thepractice; whether they provide thought leadership and access totools
  • whether they offer plan guidance or ideas
  • or some other element that makes them stand out

Voters are also asked about pet peeves connected to wholesalersupport, or outstanding stories connected with support, as well asany other information they may think is important to the selectionprocess.

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The top 10 are christened “wingmen.” And like any man or womanworth their salt in the financial industry, ”if they are doingtheir job, they have the advisor's back in terms of information,tools, and support,” says Nevin Adams, chief content officerat the American Retirement Association, and editor in chief ofNAPA-Net, the publication that sponsors the award. They representthe top 7 percent of the industry.

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To see the top 10 and top 100, visit NAPA's site. Here are the top 5 of NAPA's top DCrecordkeeper wholesalers and DC-DCIO wholesalers:

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#5.

  • DC Recordkeeper Wholesaler: Scott WardProvider: John Hancock RPS
  • DC DCIO Wholesaler: Keith NealProvider: MFS Investment Management
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#4.

  • DC Recordkeeper Wholesaler: Bob SternfeldProvider: John Hancock RPS
  • DC DCIO Wholesaler: John KutzProvider: Legg Mason
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#3.

  • DC Recordkeeper Wholesaler: Bradford BoneyProvider: John Hancock RPS
  • DC DCIO Wholesaler: Ryan FayProvider: John Hancock Inv.
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#2.

  • DC Recordkeeper Wholesaler: Dennis BeaudetProvider: John Hancock RPS
  • DC DCIO Wholesaler: Todd MatlackProvider: Invesco
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#1.

  • DC Recordkeeper Wholesaler: Michael MoschettaProvider: CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions
  • DC DCIO Wholesaler: Chris BilelloProvider: Amundi Pioneer

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