Cogent Syndicated

Retirement Planscape assesses the plan sponsor market, identifying strengths and weaknesses in brand, loyalty and key experience metrics. The report explores what plan sponsors consider when switching or choosing a new provider. It also examines the use and perceptions of DC investment managers from the perspective of investment decision-makers from organizations offering 401(k)s.

NEW THIS YEAR: Confidence in the global economy; outlook for the US economy; actions taken as a result of the pandemic; plans to restore employer match; how providers can become better virtual partners; reasons for joining MEPs/PEPs; interest in the new, tax-free student loan benefit under the CARES Act.

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


  • 1,500 401(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

  • Plan sponsors’ greatest fears
  • Confidence in the global economy and outlook for US economy
  • Actions taken as a result of the pandemic (personal, organizational)
  • Primary areas of focus and strategies to prevent 401(k) plan leakage
  • Changes to and types of intermediaries used

Plan Design and Financial Wellness

  • Use of automatic plan features, employer match, rollovers, loan features, etc.
  • Use of/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/interest in offering multiple or pooled employer plans (MEPs/PEPs)

Effectiveness of Plan Providers

  • Top criteria used to evaluate overall effectiveness of plan providers
  • Likelihood of conducting a formal plan review in the coming year
  • Plan provider contact and media consumption

Plan Provider Brand Equity, Use and Satisfaction

  • Awareness, impression and consideration of 32 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
  • Reasons for switching providers

Investment Menu Design

  • Number and types of investment options offered
  • Participant-managed account use
  • Assets by investment vehicle
  • Use of/interest in OCIO models
  • Historic and anticipated changes to investment lineups
  • Use of/interest in/barriers to ESG
  • Target date funds offered and criteria for provider selection
  • Availability and types of retirement income solutions offered

DC Investment Manager Brand Equity

  • Awareness, impression and consideration of 44 DC investment managers
  • Performance on 19 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 Use and Satisfaction

  • Number of, satisfaction with, and loyalty to DC investment managers
  • Anticipated changes to the plan investment mix
  • Reasons for dropping and/or reducing investments

Subscription Details

Publication Date: May 2021

  • 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