Every week on 401(k) Help Center, I see an article about some retirement plan provider being bought out by another. The consolidation in the retirement plan business has been an ongoing theme ever since fee disclosure regulations were implemented in 2012 and it continues to gain steam.
The question is whether a bear market (which is certainly possible in 2019) and maybe a likely recession will increase consolidation. I think it certainly will because bleak times and challenging times may force people to sell and it will allow some of the purchasing providers to get some great deals when valuations for plan provider decrease.
I’ve been in this business for the last 20 years and when the economy is in the doldrums, that usually means the markets are south and people talk less about retirement plans and concentrate more about costs. So if we have something in 2019 that isn’t good for the market, expect more consolidation.