Plan Administration Guide, Part Two: Recordkeeping Survey

Breaking down the DC industry by plan type.

Industry Snapshots

403(b) Industry Snapshot

Authorized in 1958, 403(b) plans have been around far longer than their 401(k) counterparts, but it has taken nearly 60 years for them to accumulate $1 trillion in total assets—a benchmark 401(k) plans passed more than two decades ago. Over the years, 403(b)s and 401(k)s have started to look more alike, but clear differences remain. Most notably, many 403(b) plans are exempt from requirements set forth by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and some continue to offer multi-vendor environments, where a participant can choose from a number of recordkeepers to service his plan.

The annuity-based origin of the 403(b) market is evident among service providers: Organizations with roots in the insurance industry still control a significant portion of 403(b) assets. Like the overall market, these providers have evolved to offer products and services on par with those of other competitors in this market. Additionally, service models have changed to align with specific market sub-segments, such as K – 12 schools, which can vary widely based on their geography and community; higher education institutions, hospitals and health care organizations—affluent compared with other organizations; and many churches and charities, which tend to have smaller plans. As a result, sponsors have many good choices for a 403(b) recordkeeping partner. —BOK

Total 403(b) Plan Assets ($mm)


Total 403(b) Assets, Plans, and Participants

Total 401(k) Assets, Plans, and Participants
By Plan Size Assets ($mm)* Plans* Participants*
<$10mm $115,689 149,105 3,352,846
$10mm – $50mm $125,292 5,990 2,626,880
>$50mm – $200mm $153,546 1,590 2,443,045
>$200mm – $1b $261,851 630 3,470,775
>$1b $272,529 120 2,883,011
*Not all providers report complete data, therefore data segmented by plan size will not equal the corresponding overall