Cogent Syndicated

Retirement Planscape uncovers the most important trends in the plan sponsor market and benchmarks the leading DC plan providers and DC investment managers on key brand equity and experience metrics to help firms grow market share and strengthen plan sponsor loyalty despite market disruption.

NEW THIS YEAR: Biggest pain points and specific actions to make plan sponsors’ roles easier; attitudes on 401(k) trends like cybersecurity and retaining assets in-plan; awareness, appeal and consideration of eight digital plan providers; 3(21) co-fiduciary and 3(38) investment fiduciary use; who’s involved and the most influential factors in investment lineup reviews; impact of DE&I and ESG on firm selection

Percentage of AUM in DC plans
• Percentage of compensation from DC plans
• Number and size of plans managed
Services provided to DC plan sponsors and participants
• Impact of fee disclosure regulations
• Number of plan providers typically recommended
• Number and type of investment options typically recommended
• QDIA option used most often
• Target date fund recommendation


The report will enable subscribers to:

Maximize Revenue
Monitor key drivers of plan sponsor consideration to retain current clients and acquire new business

Measure Loyalty & Momentum
Determine which levers to pull to build loyalty with current plan sponsors to maximize brand momentum

Understand Plan Sponsor Needs
Identify product and service offerings plan sponsors are looking for to increase satisfaction


  • 1,300 401(k) plan sponsors managing <$5M to $500M+ in DC assets
  • Web-based survey
  • Carefully analyzed sampling frame based on US retirement plan data from plan sponsor Form 5500 filings that mirrors the market by asset size, number of participants and region

Areas of Inquiry

Plan Sponsor Mind-Set

  • Primary areas of focus
  • Greatest fears and pain points
  • Steps firms can take to make plan sponsors’ roles easier
  • Confidence in the global economy and outlook for US economy
  • Changes to and types of intermediaries used
  • Print and online media consumption

Plan Design and Financial Wellness

  • Use of and interest in 401(k) student loan match and new student loan debt initiatives
  • Availability, types and components of financial wellness programs; participant use, metrics to evaluate success
  • Types of investment advice offered, use rates and barriers
  • Use of and interest in offering multiple or pooled employer plans

Plan Provider Relationships

  • Tenure with current plan provider
  • Likelihood of conducting a formal plan review and switching in the coming year
  • RFP issuance and results of RFP
  • Reasons for switching providers

Plan Provider Brand Equity, Use and Satisfaction

  • Awareness, impression and consideration of 28 plan providers
  • Performance on 17 critical brand attributes that drive selection
  • Strengths, weaknesses and growth potential of specific brands
  • Satisfaction with and loyalty to current plan provider
  • Plan provider contact recall

Investment Menu Design

  • Use of and interest in OCIO models
  • Anticipated changes to investment lineups
  • Use of, interest in and barriers to ESG
  • Target date funds offered, criteria for provider selection
  • Participant-managed account use
  • Availability and types of retirement income solutions offered
  • Anticipated changes to the plan investment mix
  • Reasons for dropping and/or reducing investments

DC Investment Manager Brand Equity, Use and Satisfaction

  • Awareness, impression and consideration of 43 DC investment managers
  • Performance on 16 critical brand attributes that drive selection
  • Strengths, weaknesses and growth potential of specific brands
  • Frequency and types of contact wanted from DC investment managers
  • DC investment manager contact recall
  • Satisfaction with and loyalty to DC investment managers

Subscription Details

Publication Date: May 2022

  • Detailed report with a summary of findings and strategic implications
  • Strategy session and presentation to deliver actionable results and facilitate planning
  • Custom data cuts and survey work by senior analysts

Investment: $40,000

Retirement Planscape_2021 Fact Sheet