Art by James Young
Plan analytics tools have been the latest innovation made by many plan recordkeepers in the area of technology. However, usage of those tools may not be as robust as providers have expected. Do you as a plan sponsor ever find it difficult to utilize your plan health tools? Do you think this is because you are 1) not a Millennial, or 2) just plain bad with technology? Have you ever felt that your recordkeeper service reps 1) are unresponsive to your requests, or 2) have no idea what you’re asking them?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, you aren’t alone. There may be real usability issues with your recordkeeper’s analytics tool—and you should not have to be a technology guru to get a quick overview of your plan’s health. As for service representatives, they are at the front line, and ideally are the best part of your recordkeeper relationship. The annual PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution (DC) Survey gathers plan sponsor sentiments about issues such as technology and service reps so you can see which providers get rave reviews. Ahead of the individual provider results in our 2016 DC Survey is an analysis of survey trends, in “Chasing Expectations.” The article and survey offer insight into plan sponsor satisfaction with specific recordkeepers and their services.
“Getting to a Better Place,” our cover story, coincides with the DC survey and examines how plan sponsors can improve their defined contribution plan fees and/or services through the request for proposals (RFP)/request for information (RFI) process. Tim Rouse, executive director of The SPARK Institute, in Simsbury, Connecticut, says, “The marketplace is still very competitive, and most recordkeepers are finding they can’t go much lower on fees, so instead they try to compete on service.” From Rouse’s experience, if a plan sponsor makes something a priority, the recordkeeper will find a way to deliver on it. “If plan sponsors focus only on fees and are silent on services, then the recordkeeper will deliver just the basic service and make its fees as low as possible,” he says.
Going beyond the DC plan is “The New Overtime Rule," which examines changes made to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that broaden overtime eligibility to include many salaried employees. The rule, issued last spring by the Department of Labor (DOL), becomes law on December 1 and will affect plan sponsors and companies across many industries.
Retirement income continues to be a topic of interest, as employees need to make sense of how to manage their savings after retiring. This month, we report on the retirement income “bucket” strategy—and how plan sponsors can educate employees about it. “Spending Down” fills you in on this approach, plus one alternative strategy. And, as always, there’s a lot more “recommended reading”—too much for me to describe on one page!
As we approach the holidays, we wish you a season filled with peace and joy.