2016 Third Party Administrator Survey

A Third Party Administrator (or TPA) is an organization that is hired by the 401k plan sponsor to run many day-to-day aspects of retirement plans. These include amending and restating plan documents; preparing employer and employee benefit statements; assisting in processing all types of distributions from the plan; preparing loan paperwork for plan participant; testing the plan each year to gauge its compliance with all IRS non-discrimination requirements as well as plan and participant contribution limits; allocation of employer contributions and forfeitures; calculating participant vested percentages; and, preparing annual returns and reports required by IRS, DOL or other government agencies.This survey includes Third Party Administrators firms from the very small to the very large. The survey participants have offices in all but seven US states. About 75% of participants are "nonproducing TPAs," meaning they sell no investment products. The respondents represent more than 175,000 plan and 12.5 participants in various types of employer-sponsored retirement plans.

last published:August 2016

2016 Recordkeeping Survey

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.

last published:June 2016

PLANSPONSOR 2016 Participant Survey

The PLANSPONSOR Participant Survey examines the attitudes and behaviors of American workers participating—or not—in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. It gathers data about savings rates, employer expectations and confidence levels, among other measures.

last published:April 2016

2015 PLANSPONSOR DC Survey: Plan Benchmarking

PLANSPONSOR's Defined Contribution Survey - Industry Trends gathers data from thousands of plan sponsors about their plan design and administration, providing industry benchmarks. The survey is a study in contrasts and a demonstration of some surprisingly striking similarities among plans of varying sizes.

last published:January 2016

2014 Consultant Buyer's Guide

Investment consultants, like other providers in the retirement plan industry, can serve different purposes to different people. Depending on a client need, investment consultants can be tapped for a specific task, or be an extension of a plan sponsor’s own staff—or anything in between. The Investment Consulting Survey lists various consultants, highlighting what they do and who they serve.

last published:October 2014

2014 Transition Management Survey

While there are not as many providers of portfolio transition management services as there are, say, defined contribution providers, this is an extremely competitive field and the stakes are high. The survey serves two purposes: first, to take the pulse of pensions and other institutional investors which use transition management; and second, to highlight all the providers in the field.

last published:September 2014

Buyers guide


403(b) plans are in many ways the same as traditional corporate 401(k) plans, but they also have many unique challenges. The 403(b) Buyer’s Guide shows the providers who service this market, what they focus on in terms of market segment, and the services they provide to 403(b) plan sponsors.

last published:August 2015


In the past decade, and particularly since the passage of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, asset allocation funds—which include target-date and target-risk funds—have exploded both in terms of number of products and assets amassed. The Asset Allocation Fund Buyer’s guide endeavors to present these funds in an easy to use format for quick reference.

last published:September 2015


Navigating the ever-changing world of legislation and regulation pertaining to retirement plans and other benefits can be enormously challenging for any employer. This guide lists ERISA and benefits attorneys who are ready and willing to help guide plan sponsors through various legal issues.

last published:September 2011


By most accounts, defined contribution plan participants are increasingly turning to professionally managed asset-allocation solutions, whether they be a single target-date fund, a single traditional target-risk fund or a managed account advisory program. The Managed Account Buyer’s Guide is a snapshot list of the providers of managed account products, and how they differentiate themselves.

last published:October 2015


It is not surprising to find a certain nexus between the administrative underpinnings of today's deferred comp programs and that of the most widely utilized deferred compensation arrangement: the 401(k) plan. In fact, the services offered to participants in deferred compensation programs are much like those offered to qualified plans. This buyer’s guide provides a listing of which plan types, financing vehicles and service channels each provider offers as well as a survey of plan sponsors' experiences with deferred compensation plans.

last published:July 2015


With waves of baby boomers retiring in droves, retirement income investment options in DC plans have become increasingly prevalent. Not all of these options are the same—for instance, some are offered within the DC plan itself, while others are offered outside the plan—so this guide strives to keep plan sponsors abreast of what products are available, and from which providers.

last published:May 2014

Third Party Administration Buyer’s Guide

Some say that third-party administrator (TPA) services can surpass what most recordkeepers offer to aid with plan design—and that this is broadening the TPA’s use in the retirement industry. Our first annual PLANSPONSOR Third-Party Administrator Survey provides a detailed snapshot of each TPA respondent, revealing, by its numbers, how it compares with peers in the overall market landscape.

last published:August 2016


Time was when a "bundled" solution could not be delivered efficiently or effectively unless all the parts came from the same entity—no more. This bundled concept has, for the last several years, been presented under the banner of Total Retirement Outsourcing, or TRO. The Buyer’s Guide presents the providers of TRO services—which types and sizes of clients they service, and products offered.

last published:July 2013