Best in Class DC Providers

This year’s Best in Class providers represent an evolving set of best practices.



The 2021 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution (DC) Survey summarizes plan sponsor satisfaction with DC recordkeeper offerings in 12 areas of service covering four broad categories: Recordkeeping Platform; Participant Services; Sponsor Services and Support; and Investments and Fees. Responses were gathered via an online questionnaire from September through November. A total of 1,684 responses factored into the analysis for Best in Class providers.

To qualify for inclusion in the published results, a provider had to meet quotas in each of six asset-based markets. A total of 15 providers qualified for listing in at least one market. A complete list of DC plan recordkeepers may be found in the 2021 PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey, available at plansponsor.com/research; free registration is required.

Best in Class Awards  are based on sponsor satisfaction within a given area of service. Ratings were derived from the percentage of respondents “completely satisfied” (9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) less those that were “dissatisfied” (6 or less). The three highest-scoring providers in the Micro and Small Market – A groupings and the two highest-scoring providers in all other markets earned a Best in Class Award, as did those providers with a net satisfaction rate above the 70% benchmark score.

Service Commendations  were given to recordkeepers that did not receive Best in Class honors but exhibited strong client satisfaction within a service attribute—i.e., more than 70% of clients were “completely satisfied” with the service offering.

Results are presented by market to reflect differences in the competitive landscape. For more information, email surveys@issmediasolutions.com.

Net Promoter® Score

PLANSPONSOR uses a modified version of Satmetrix Systems’ Net Promoter System (NPS®) to measure sponsor satisfaction. NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers that are “detractors,” giving a score of 6 or less, from the percentage that are “promoters,” giving a 9 or 10. The thinking is that this measure assigns equal importance to clients that love a company’s product or services and to those that are less happy—and possibly at risk of leaving for a competitor that offers something better. “Passives”—7s and 8s—are thought to be only somewhat satisfied and do not influence the final score. A score of 70% has become a benchmark for “best in the industry,” which matches the Best in Class benchmark used in PLANSPONSOR’s DC Survey. For additional information, please visit netpromotersystem.com.

*Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

These Top 12 Providers May Be Missing From A List

= Listed in the DC Survey; = Active in the market, but not listed in the DC Survey

Assets Assets($MM) Micro Small – A Small – B Midsize Large Mega
1 Fidelity Investments $2,896,282
2 Empower Retirement1 $1,244,355
3 TIAA $649,073
4 Vanguard $602,663
5 Alight Solutions $480,186
6 Voya Financial $458,455
7 Principal Financial Group $451,363
8 Bank of America Corp $268,648
9 Ascensus2 $256,183
10 T. Rowe Price $246,962
11 Schwab Ret Plan Svcs $215,629
12 Transamerica Ret Solutions $204,725
1Empower’s assets include those from its planned acquisition of Prudential Retirement. 2Ascensus’ assets include those from its planned acquisition of Newport retirement services.
Source: 2021 PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey

ALTHOUGH industry consolidation continues to narrow the competitive landscape, the annual PLANSPONSOR Recordkeeping Survey confirms that there are still dozens of recordkeepers capable of servicing most defined contribution (DC) plans, which raises an important question: Why are not more recordkeepers included in the DC Survey results? The quick answer is that many providers receive too few responses to qualify for a rating in the markets they typically service.

PLANSPONSOR is committed to improving the accuracy and coverage of this survey, which continues to be one of the only openly published surveys of its kind in the industry. Next year’s methodology will build on lessons learned from 2021 and an ever-growing knowledge of our audience. Want to help? Email surveys@issmediasolutions.com to be added to the list of invitees for 2022. All respondents receive a complimentary 2021 PLANSPONSOR Industry Benchmarking Report.