Research

2010 Defined Contribution Survey

Published in PLANSPONSOR November 2010

For more than a decade, PLANSPONSOR's annual Defined Contribution Survey has been the most important industry benchmark, measuring and evaluating 401(k) and other DC providers according to feedback from their own clients. Dozens of categories are rated in service to the employer as well as participant service.

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The Standard

78 Responses (n/a of total plans)

Respondents
Micro  <$5MM62.8%
Small  $5MM-$50MM37.2%
Mid  $50MM-$200MM0.0%
Large  $200MM-$1B0.0%
Mega  >$1B0.0%
Participant ServicesScoreBest In Class
Micro  <$5MM88.2%0
Small  $5MM-$50MM88.3%0
Mid  $50MM-$200MM0.0%0
Large  $200MM-$1B0.0%0
Mega  >$1B0.0%0
Sponsor ServicesScoreBest In Class
Micro  <$5MM91.7%0
Small  $5MM-$50MM91.9%3
Mid  $50MM-$200MM0.0%0
Large  $200MM-$1B0.0%0
Mega  >$1B0.0%0
Recommendation Likelihood
Extremely Likely65.8%
Moderately/Slightly29.0%
Neutral3.9%
Recommended Against1.3%
Client Tenure
More than 7 years24.0%
Five to seven years14.6%
Three to five years30.7%
Less than 3 years30.7%
Respondent Metrics and Plan Design
Average participation rate73.3%
Clients with auto-enrollment27.0%
Clients having written IPS69.4%
Clients using adviser71.4%
Top 2 Industries Represented
1. Nonprofit Organizations14.1%
2. Consumer Products10.3%

Methodology

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METHODOLOGY: Between late June and late August 2010, approximately 35,000 survey questionnaires were sent to defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors from the PLANSPONSOR magazine database, as well as to client lists supplied by DC providers; 5,929 total usable responses were received by the close of the survey on September 10, 2010. In order to qualify for rating in the survey, providers needed a minimum of 35 total client responses. In order to be rated in a particular asset category, a provider needed at least 15 client responses in the micro, small, or mid asset categories, and at least 10 responses in the large or mega asset categories. Quartiles for participant services and sponsor services were calculated in each asset category in which a provider qualified for a rating.

In addition to the data published here, customized research reports are available by provider, by market segment, by industry, and by region. For more information, contact Brian O’Keefe (bokeefe@assetinternational.com).

Micro (<$5mm)Participant ServicesSponsor Services  
1st Quartile 92.7%-96.4% 94.8%-98.3%
2nd Quartile 90.1%–91.7% 92.3%–94.5%
3rd Quartile 88.0%–89.9% 90.6%–92.0%
4th Quartile 79.2%–87.9% 79.7%–90.0%
Small ($5mm–$50mm)
1st Quartile 92.8%–97.8% 93.4%–98.6%
2nd Quartile 90.0%–92.2% 92.5%–93.3%
3rd Quartile 88.9%–89.5% 90.8%–92.1%
4th Quartile 86.4%–88.3% 86.4%–90.5%
Mid (>$50mm–$200mm)
1st Quartile 92.1%–93.9% 93.1%–94.4%
2nd Quartile 90.7%–91.9% 90.0%–92.0%
3rd Quartile 89.5%–90.6% 89.6%–89.8%
4th Quartile 82.5%–88.1% 86.2%–89.1%
Large (>$200mm-$1b)
1st Quartile 93.1%–94.9% 94.2%–95.5%
2nd Quartile 90.9%–92.6% 92.6%–93.5%
3rd Quartile 86.4%–89.1% 87.4%–89.2%
4th Quartile 77.7%–85.5% 83.0%–87.2%
Mega (>$1b)
1st Quartile 90.2% 89.6%
2nd Quartile 89.4%–89.7% 88.8%–89.3%
3rd Quartile 86.3% 86.6%
4th Quartile 85.4% 84.6%

Archive

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DEFINED CONTRIBUTION SURVEY - Provider Ratings

For nearly two decades, PLANSPONSOR's annual Defined Contribution Survey has been the most important industry benchmark, measuring and evaluating 401(k) and other DC providers according to feedback from their own clients. Major defined contribution providers are rated in the various client categories they serve, and benchmark information is collected for plan sponsors to gauge their plans against their peers.