Web Widens For Participants, Sponsors

November 26, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - These days participants are able to tap into a growing array of Web-based resources, and plan sponsors appear to be increasingly reliant on that expertise.

Nearly 96% of plan sponsor respondents to the 2002 PLAN SPONSOR Defined Contribution Survey said their participants had access to account balance lookup online, while more than 85% could process transfers and rebalance their accounts online.  

Savings calculators, loan modeling, changes in deferrals, and loan distribution availability were also on the rise.   More than 37% now offer online plan enrollment, compared with less than 30% a year ago – which was itself nearly double the level reported in the prior survey.

Rely “Ability”

It seems that plan sponsors are increasingly relying on their provider’s web presence, since overall, only about a third of respondents claim to have their own website/intranet that provides information about their defined contribution plan.   However, that experience varies widely depending on plan size.  

For example, while three-quarters of the largest plans have their own web site, only about two-thirds of those with $200 million to $500 million in assets do.   That number drops to about half for plans with $50 million to $200 million in assets, and just a third of those with $5 million to $50 million.  

Plans with less than $5 million were, perhaps not surprisingly, the least likely – just 16% had their own web presence for their DC plan.   All in all, those statistics were comparable to last year’s findings, though slightly down across the board.

Tomorrow:   The Itch in Time – Picking Another Provider