TPAs Boost Comfort Level

December 20, 2004 ( - According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds (65%) of plan sponsors feel that the third party administrator (TPA) firm they work with makes participants feel more comfortable with the plan - and more than half are willing to pay higher fees for a higher level of TPA service.

The  study , conducted by PLANSPONSOR and The Hartford, gathered the perspectives of 237 plan sponsors, nearly three-quarters of which rely on TPA firms to provide plan administration and other services.   Theirs is no back-office service support, however.   Most plan sponsor clients feel that the TPAs’ value lies in the work they do in educating employees—promoting the retirement program in order to increase plan participation and understanding of plan features.

The local presence of the TPA firm is also a key advantage, according to plan sponsor clients.

On the other hand, when TPAs themselves were asked to choose what they thought their greatest value was to plan sponsors, they cited their plan design and regulatory expertise.

For the very most part, plan sponsors and TPAs were in agreement on the most critical elements to better maximize and communicate the benefits of the retirement program to participants.   Conducting periodic educational meetings topped both lists, while being available to employees and promoting the program ranked second.   Financial advisors were part of the equation as well, ranked fourth by both TPAs and plan sponsors.   The rest of the list (in order) was:

  • Increase company match, other incentives,
  • Incorporate or consider automatic deferral increases,
  • Open enrollment periods,
  • More communication via statements or e-mail.