Industry Voices

Considerations When Selecting a Plan Provider

January 23, 2013 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - If only designing the best retirement plan to offer your employees were as easy as it sounds.

By PS | January 23, 2013
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With so many provider options available, it can be confusing to know what you should be looking for.   And, considering that Americans’ confidence in their ability to retire comfortably is stagnant at historically low levels, with only 14% of workers noting they are very confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement (According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) 2012 Confidence Study.  Data is statistically equivalent to the survey low of 13% measured in 2011 and 2009), building that confidence to reach out for assistance can be a challenge.  While selecting your provider may feel like a daunting task, there are staple elements that should always be considered when choosing one.  

Below are five crucial items plan sponsors should examine when choosing a retirement plan provider: 

Experience 

It’s important to look for a provider with a proven track record of offering successful retirement plans. Some attributes to consider include: 

  • Size – Consider how many plans and participants a provider already serves, and how long they’ve been in the business. What’s the average tenure of with the provider’s plan sponsors? Whether you’re a for-profit or not-for-profit, you’ll want a provider with the right scope of resources to meet your needs. 
  • Types of Plans – A provider should be able to offer a plan that is designed with features to support you and your employees, including the type of plan, size and participants’ needs.  Providers should be willing to offer you a customized solution, and work with you to create a successful plan built around your plan’s specific needs.   
  • Stable and Committed –Look for a provider with a good reputation that is committed to developing innovative retirement solutions with a strong track record of doing so. 

Plan Sponsor Support 

In addition to offering competitive products, a good provider should offer customized support for your plan, as well as assistance in navigating industry changes and information concerning legal and regulatory issues. 

Closely examine what type of plan sponsor support will be provided, from transition to implementation. A qualified provider can also help you define possible priorities that will lead your plan on a path that results in better outcomes for your participants, and then developand execute strategies to achieve those objectives. Does the provider offer customized reports that can help plan sponsors analyze their plan and compare options? An experienced provider willclosely review the plan data, demographics and activity to see if the plan is meeting its goals. 

Accessible customer service is a must, whether it’s through a user-friendly website a provider can offer or through a dedicated 24-hour hotline that can assist to resolve any issues you may have, as well as serve as an educational resource to learn about industry changes that may affect your plan.  

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