Public Plans Prize High Tech, Corporates High Touch

February 26, 2003 ( - When it comes to choosing master trust providers, corporate programs seem to prefer high touch, while their public plan counterparts seem more interested in high-tech.

According to the  PLANSPONSOR/Bank of New York Research Study on Master Trust & Custody , more than half (51.8%) of corporate plan respondents said that the client service team was the most important factor in assessing the value of their custodian, while only 27.3% of public plan respondents were so inclined.

Despite the relative significance, corporate plan respondents were much less likely to interact with a member of the custodian’s client service team on a daily basis.   Less than 18% of corporate plan respondents did so, with most (52.4%) interacting on a weekly basis, and nearly 30% doing so only once a month.

Tech Touch

On the other hand, a whopping 68.2% of public plan respondents said that technology/information delivery and reporting were most prized, compared with just 36.1% of corporate plan sponsors.   Ironically, more than half (52.2%) of public plan respondents said they speak to a member of the custodian service team on a daily basis, while 30.4% do so every week, and just 17.4% do so only monthly.

Pricing, cited by 10.8% of corporate respondents and 4.5% of publics, was also on the radar screen.

Regardless of the relative weighting, the vast majority of plan sponsor respondents review the custodian service team just once a year – 73.2% of corporate plan respondents and 63.6% of public plans opt for that review frequency.   Quarterly was the next most common review cycle, cited by 22.7% of public plans and 17.1% of quarterly plans, while 13.6% of public plans and 9.8% of corporates do so semi-annually.

The survey was based on 123 usable plan sponsor respondents during October and November 2002, based on a questionnaire developed jointly by The Bank of New York and PLANSPONSOR.