Beyond Bulls & Bears


Driving convergence between retirement and wealth

Legislation is driving a renewed focus on workers without workplace savings plans, creating opportunities for both wealth advisors and retirement specialists. Our Retirement Strategist Mike Dullaghan discusses the trends.

Between state-sponsored auto-IRA programs and the SECURE Acts of 2019 and 2022, there is a renewed focus on American workers who are not yet covered by a workplace savings plan. This focus creates opportunities for wealth advisors and retirement specialists alike.

State mandates to offer plans open the door to workplace savings, enhance benefits for employees, and often prompt business owners to seek more tailored private sector plan solutions. Meanwhile, the role of financial professionals is evolving as today’s savers are looking for holistic guidance which incorporates all aspects of financial wellbeing.

Now, retirement plans for small- to mid-sized businesses can offer:

  • Structured solutions where administrative and co-fiduciary services have been vetted and preselected.
  • Existing client relationship protection by offering non-specialists easy-to-use solutions.
  • A new pipeline of workplace savers who have the potential to become new clients.

Our 2024 Voice of the American Workplace Survey reveals that for the first time, the importance of financial health­, ­­­­­­­­­after experiencing 15% year-over-year growth, has overtaken mental and physical health, when the three are ranked by employees.1 This development suggests advisors may find savers who are as interested in talking about their financial wellness as they ever have been.

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Another exciting development is the increasing number of new private sector plans being created. The convergence of state mandates to offer workplace plans and the tax credits provided by the SECURE Act appear to be driving this trend. While some concern was expressed that auto-IRA programs might crowd out private sector plans, early results show the opposite may be true.2

As discussed at a panel hosted by the National Association of Plan Advisors at the 401(k) Summit in April, the creation of auto-IRAs and 401(k)s provides new momentum covering the tens of millions of American workers without access to a workplace savings plan.

We believe every family deserves a chance to reach financial independence. This financial independence is difficult, if not impossible, without a workplace savings plan.3

Given the number of workers to be covered and plans being created, those serving workplace plans will need help. Specifically, cutting-edge fintech tools will be needed to streamline plan adoption and enroll millions of participants while customizing solutions.

Working together, we can help workers strive for financial independence. Please contact your Franklin Templeton Business Development Director for more information. For contact details, see our Defined Contribution regional teams.

For additional information, please contact the Franklin Templeton Retirement Sales Department at (800) 530-2432.

The Voice of the American Employer Survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Franklin Templeton from November 6th to November 17th, 2023. All 1,000 respondents, based in the United States, are classified as employers, defined as having at least some influence over company benefits and/or hiring at organizations with over 100 employees. Respondents represent a mix of industries, company size, role, age, and race.

This presentation also references a qualitative study conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Franklin Templeton from August 15th to August 25th, 2023, among 15 American employers. All interviewees were full-time employees working in human resources, who have influence over employee benefits, and included those with titles such as HR Manager, HR Director or HR Vice President, among others.

This was a blind study, as Franklin Templeton was not mentioned in order to avoid bias.

The Voice of the American Worker Survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Franklin Templeton from November 9th to November 21st, 2023, among 2,001 employed US adults. All respondents had some form of retirement savings. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Findings from 2020 reference a study of a similar nature that was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Franklin Templeton from October 16 to 28, 2020, among 1,007 employed US adults, study from 2021 also references a similar survey conducted among 1,005 employed adults from October 28th to November 15th, and a study from 2022 also references a similar survey conducted among 1,000 employed adults from October 17th to October 27th.

Franklin Templeton is not affiliated with The Harris Poll, Harris Insights & Analytics, a Stagwell LLC Company.



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1. Voice of the American Workplace Survey, 2024, slide 26.

2. Source: “State Automated Retirement Savings Programs Continue to Complement Private Market Plans. The Pew Charitable Trusts. April 14, 2023.

3.“Small Plan Growing Pains.” PLAN ADVISOR. April 24, 2024.


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