2011 Recordkeeping Survey: Tying it all Together

In the 13-year history of PLANSPONSOR’s annual Recordkeeping Survey, there has only been one year of reported "downturn" in terms of total assets in defined contribution plans—2008—when the stock market fell 34% from a year-end 2007 close of 13,265 to just 8,776 a year later. Defined contribution assets fell in similar fashion—down $750 billion in 2008, or 20% off 2007 levels.

2010, on the other hand, was a record year for the defined contribution industry, with total assets of more than $4 trillion—a level that finally surpasses the previous high of $3.72 trillion in 2007, and betters 2009 by 14%. Total DC plans and total DC participants also hit new highs in 2010—albeit at more modest growth rates—with more than 677,000 plans (up 0.4%) and more than 82 million participants (up 1.9%).

The industry has certainly come a long way in a relatively short time. In 1998—the first year we began tracking total industry statistics—total DC assets were a "mere" $1.67 trillion. That translates to a 147% or $2.46 trillion increase in assets in 12 years.

Of course, "the industry" is not the only—nor even the most important—beneficiary of increased asset levels: A rough calculation of total DC assets per participant in 2010 comes to $50,000—a 32% increase over the $37,800 average in 2008.

Quinn Keeler 


Published in PLANSPONSOR July 2011

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Respondent Provider Types
Bank or Trust Company27.0%
Insurance Company27.0%
Mutual Fund Company23.0%
Fully Service Bundled (RK, Inv. Mgmt., Plan Admin)75.7%
Partially Bundled Provider (RK, Inv. Mgmt.)40.5%
Recordkeeping Only47.3%
Broker Dealer/Wirehouse8.1%
Annuities/Retirement Income Options offered
Out of Plan47.3%
In plan36.5%
Company Stock Administration
Will administer company stock81.9%
Will not administer company stock18.1%
Recordkeeping Technology Used
SunGard Omni33.8%
SunGard Relius25.7%
DST Systems TRAC4.1%
Schwab Retirement Technologies12.2%
Proprietary system31.1%
% of Providers Offering Managed Acct/Adv Offerings
Financial Engines13.60%
Investment Options Supported
Brokerage Windows/Self-directed Brokerage93.3%
Custom Allocation Funds or Models84.0%
Collective Trusts80.0%
Managed Accounts76.0%
Group Annuities56.0%
ETFs (exclusive of self-directed brokerage accounts)44.0%
Total Assets and Plans by Participant Size
<100 participants$ 959,107578,669
100-499 participants$ 485,79555,171
500-999 participants$ 383,2698,179
1,000-4,999 participants$ 602,1247,760
5,000-9,999 participants$ 364,3051,258
>10,000 participants$ 1,296,3891,941
Total Assets and Plans by Plan Type
401(k)$ 2,878,543437,27353,538,518
ERISA 403(b)$ 372,17682,5199,274,037
Non-ERISA 403(b)$ 213,64357,1104,458,833
457$ 199,48534,6895,755,544
401(a)$ 116,66910,9953,182,774
Profit Sharing$ 105,0727,5751,922,886
Nonqualified DC$ 64,1197,107665,647
ESOP$ 36,9781,020727,850
SEP$ 10,674170,438293,426
SIMPLE$ 18,253181,513912,926
Other$ 139,75313,7554,949,712
Total Assets and Plans by Plan Size
<$1MM$ 118,792459,5556,685,111
$1MM-$5MM$ 302,030137,3609,209,185
$5MM-$10MM$ 173,53324,8934,943,038
$10MM-$49MM$ 472,56922,69411,994,071
$50MM-$99MM$ 257,9983,6876,164,145
$100MM-$249MM$ 419,6992,6868,875,570
$250MM-$499MM$ 359,3361,0316,926,033
$500MM-$1 Billion$ 367,5245286,134,845
>$1 Billion$ 1,620,25854422,214,963
Availability of Multi-Lingual Communication by Channel
% of Providers Offering Managed Acct/Adv Offerings
Stadion/401(k) Toolbox/PMFM9.20%
Proprietary advice offerings7.70%


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PLANSPONSOR’s 13th annual Defined Contribution Recordkeeping Survey questionnaire was distributed to providers of full service and unbundled recordkeeping for defined contribution plans, and we received 74 complete responses this year.

The questionnaire, which asked for approximately 290 different data points pertaining to each provider’s assets, number of plans and participants in various plan size and type categories, as well as product and service capabilities, was available for providers to complete online between March and late April 2011. All data are as of 12/31/2010; comparable data from the prior year are as of 12/31/2009 and have been updated in some cases for consistency purposes.

The providers are listed in alphabetical order. The "rank" indicates the relative order by total recordkeeping assets under administration, reported in $ millions.

Although the tables that follow provide a wealth of information, they contain only a small portion of each provider’s response to the survey. To purchase an Excel spreadsheet containing the full data set of responses from all 74 providers, including historical information, please contact Michelle Judkins at Cost: $3,500. 


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As a complement to our Defined Contribution Survey - which measures how satisfied DC clients are with their providers - our annual Recordkeeping Survey gives employers the chance to see exactly which products and services each provider offers, as well as listing information on total assets and overall client demographics. This survey, as opposed to the DC survey, is comprised of data collected from the providers themselves.