Investment Menu Simplification on Sponsors' To-Do Lists

July 11, 2013 ( – More retirement plan sponsors are looking to simplify their plans' investment menus.

Strategic Insight (SI), an Asset International company, released its latest “Defined Contribution (DC) Research Suite Report,” which indicates investment menu simplification is becoming noticeable among large plans. In 2012, 15% of plans with more than $500 million in assets said they removed or plan to remove investment options from their lineups. Each year, fewer plans of this size intend to add new investment options.

“The percentage of plan sponsors that planned to reduce investment options increased from 6.3% in 2010 to 8.1% in 2012,” said Bridget Bearden, SI research analyst and author of the report. This action, she said, seems to be connected with the size of plan assets. Of plans with less than $1 million in assets, only 4% said they removed or plan to remove investment options from their lineups, and among plans having between $10 and $50 million in assets, only 9% said the same.

The research also found in 2012, 56% of plan sponsors said they were increasing their participant education or content, up from 50% in 2010. Supporting these initiatives is the fact that plan sponsors most frequently cited participant education as their biggest challenge.

The data in the report was drawn from surveys of plan sponsors conducted by PLANSPONSOR magazine between 2010 and 2012. For information about purchasing a copy of the “2012 Defined Contribution Survey,” visit  

Between 6,000 and 7,000 plan sponsors took part in these surveys. Retirement plans with less than $50 million in assets make up the majority of the survey base.  

The report is available to subscribers to Strategic Insight. To learn about subscription options, visit