Research

2016 Defined Contribution Survey

PLANSPONSOR's annual Defined Contribution (DC) Survey provides important client satisfaction information, as it measures and evaluates 401(k) and other DC providers according to feedback from our own plan sponsor 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.

Published in PLANSPONSOR November 2016

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Average Service Ratings

TECHNOLOGY
MeanMinMax
Participant call centers6.125.196.72
Participant website functionality6.025.196.65
Plan sponsor website functionality6.024.476.64
Plan reporting5.854.076.58
Plan analytics/benchmarking5.854.066.68
EDUCATION
MeanMinMax
Online tools/investing services/advice5.884.716.44
Participant statements5.874.976.39
Education programs5.604.596.50
Plan communications6.355.536.88
Enrollment assistance6.255.356.79
Onsite meetings5.734.636.38
PLAN ADMINISTRATION
MeanMinMax
General plan administration5.865.186.71
Retiree services/payments5.944.676.68
Form 5500 processing6.456.036.84
Compliance support/testing6.465.966.84
INVESTMENT/FEES
MeanMinMax
Investment offerings6.085.286.71
Fee clarity/disclosure6.104.876.68
Value for price6.104.866.65
ACCOUNT/SERVICE TEAMS
MeanMinMax
Legislative/Regulatory updates6.385.586.88
Service team* industry knowledge6.385.186.94
Service team responsiveness6.465.586.94
Service team consistency6.275.166.91
Footnote:*All references to service teams include both account and service teams.
Recommendation Likelihood
BY ASSET SIZES
64.9%
64.1%
61.8%
64.7%
57.0%
42.8%
< $5MM$5MM – $25MM>$25MM – $50MM>$50MM – $200MM>$200MM – $1B> $1B
2011-2016
62.2%
58.6%
62.5%
64.7%
60.2%
62.1%
201120122013201420152016

Methodology

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Survey/Best in Class
Between early July and mid-September, approximately 40,000 survey questionnaires were sent to defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors included in the PLANSPONSOR magazine database, as well as to client lists supplied by defined contribution recordkeepers; a total of 4,819 responses were received by the close of the survey, September 23. To qualify for ratings, a provider needed a minimum of 35 client responses; to be rated in a particular asset category, a provider had to meet specified minimum response levels. A total of 29 providers qualified for listing; additional details on these and other providers can be found in our 2016 Recordkeeping Survey.
 
Provider Listings
Providers were rated in 56 areas of ­participant/sponsor services covering five broad ­categories: Technology, Education, Plan Administration, Fees and Investments, and Account/Client Service Teams. The percentage of “completely satisfied” ratings among all categories was calculated both overall and in each of six plan asset sizes; percentages were then ranked among qualifying providers and flagged (u) if the score was within the top quartile of all scores.  The recommendation likelihood score is based on Satmetrix Systems’ Net Promoter ScoreSM.‡ For more information, contact Brian O’Keefe at brian.okeefe
@strategic-i.com.

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.

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