Many investment advisers provide investment advice to 401(k) plans. In these instances, the 401(k) Plan itself is the client. In other words, the adviser is hired by the employer to design or manage the Plan itself. In other cases, the adviser may simply be hired by the employer to assist the employees in selecting the funds from the available choices or to provide educational seminars to the employees. In each of these situations, however, the client is still the Plan itself.
Oftentimes, however, individual employees will ask the adviser for additional assistance. It is often the case that the employees may feel more comfortable with the adviser who is managing their 401(k) Plan because they feel that their employer must have performed some due diligence before hiring him or her or they may have developed a relationship via the educational seminars the adviser presented or the assistance he or she provided in helping the employee select the funds. In any event, you may be the first investment adviser many of these individuals have met and they may therefore feel you are more trustworthy than someone they would pick out of a phonebook.