Research Institutes Increasing Fiduciary Focus

April 4, 2013 ( – A retirement plan survey of independent, not-for-profit research institutes shows a renewed focus on fiduciary responsibility.

Overall, research institute plan sponsors are seeking to increase employee participation, lessen administrative bur­den, and facilitate compliance through simplification and enhancement of their retirement plan arrangements, according to the survey by the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI), in conjunction with Cammack LaRhette Consulting. More than two-thirds of plan sponsors surveyed utilize a consultant or investment adviser, citing increased fiduciary concerns as the primary reason.  

More than 83% of respondents have established a retirement plan committee. Implementing a formal due diligence process was listed as the top challenge for plan sponsors.  

Forty percent of plan sponsors have completed a request for proposal (RFP) for recordkeeping and administrative services in the last five years.

Other survey findings include: 

  • Employer contributions to private research institutes are robust, with an average employer contribution amount of 10.2%. Nearly two-thirds of respondents offer an average non-matching contribution of 9%. More than 40% offer a matching contribution with an average contribution of 5%, and 21% of plan sponsors have both a non-matching and matching contribution. 
  • Plan sponsors are not convinced that fee disclosures will help participants make better investment decisions, with 10% of respondents saying the fee disclosures will actually make it more confusing for participants, and only 2% believing they will make it easier. 
  • Exclusive recordkeeper arrangements dominate the marketplace, with four-in-five respondents utilizing only one recordkeeper and 100% utilizing three or fewer recordkeepers.   
  • Increasing plan participation was an influencing factor for three-quarters of plan sponsors that listed improving employee education as their number one initiative.   


As a service to the research institute community, the survey is commissioned and paid for by Cammack LaRhette and the survey report is offered at no cost to participating organizations. For more information, or to participate in the 2012-2013 survey, contact Cara Belmosto at or 781-997-1490.