3 Top Priorities of 401k Plan Sponsors Now. They’re just a few of the findings from consulting firm Callan’s 2019 Defined Contribution Trends Survey.

In its 12th year, the survey offers actionable insights for corporate defined contribution plan sponsors and incorporates responses of 106 plan sponsors.

85 per cent of the DC plans surveyed offer a Roth



Top priorities for the coming year are plan fees, participant outreach, and participant financial wellness.

The majority of survey respondents offer a 401(k) plan as the primary DC plan (86 per cent).

Also, 85 per cent of the DC plans surveyed offer a Roth feature—a notable increase from 68 per cent in 2016.

As for other high-profile topics:

Fees: Plan sponsors cited the most important step in improving fiduciary positioning in 2018 was reviewing plan fees—by a wide margin. Also, fee payments are shifting away from participants: about one third (32.5 per cent) of all administrative fees were paid entirely by participants, down significantly from 62.7 percent in 2017.



Success measurement: Plans cited participation, contribution rates, and cost-effectiveness as the most important indicators of plan success in 2018.

Cybersecurity: Despite being a newsworthy topic, cybersecurity was reported as a low priority for 2019.

Company match: Fully 22 percent made a change to their company match policy, with 33 percent increasing the match rate. These numbers are up significantly from 2017.

Asset retention: Fully 58 percent have a policy on asset retention, with 70 percent focused on retaining assets.

Consultant engagement: Four out of 5 plans work with an investment consultant. 16 percent gave their consultants some level of discretion over their plans, while 16 percent are unsure if their consultant has discretion.

Fund types: Fully 87 percent of plans have a target date fund, and 75 percent use collective trusts in their fund lineups.



Recordkeeper searches: One in 5 plans (20 percent) intend to conduct a recordkeeper search in 2019.

“With the amount of fee study and recordkeeper search project work we see, it is not surprising that fees are the No. 1 priority for plan sponsors in 2019,” co-author and Callan defined contribution consultant Jamie McAllister said in a statement. “What is surprising: Over 40 percent of plan sponsors said they don’t evaluate indirect revenue when calculating and benchmarking fees. As indirect revenue can be a meaningful amount, we feel it’s important for sponsors to consider this in their overall fee evaluation.”

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