Plan Sponsors Sticking With Providers

November 21, 2003 ( - In spite of the sustained shifts in the markets, or perhaps largely as a result, plan sponsors have hung tough with their current providers.

According to PLANSPONSOR’s seventh annual  Defined Contribution Survey , a surprisingly robust 40% have been with their current providers for five years or more, and nearly 21% have been with their providers for three to five years.

Nearly all say they would recommend their current defined contribution provider to a colleague and, while that sentiment paled a tad compared with a year ago, it remained largely unchanged despite the increase in survey respondents (a record 3,246).   Still, more than a quarter say they plan on issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) or reevaluating their provider in the next year—although only 16% say they formally make that evaluation on an annual basis.

While more than half say it will be more than a year before they reconsider, a comparable 58% say they only formally evaluate their defined contribution providers “as necessary.”   Only about 38% of this year’s respondents say they use a consultant for their retirement program, aside from their specific provider—a reading down somewhat from the 43% in last year’s survey, which itself marked a continuing downtrend.

Not too surprisingly, while roughly half of the programs with more than $50 million in assets used an outside consultant, less than a third of those with less than $5 million in assets did so.