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Retirement Planscape

Maximizing plan provider and investment manager success in the DC retirement market

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The report will enable subscribers to:

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

Determine which levers to pull to build loyalty with current plan sponsors to maximize brand momentum

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
  • We carefully analyze US retirement plan data from plan sponsor Form 5500 filings to design a sampling frame that mirrors the US plan sponsor
    market by plan asset size, number of plan participants and region


Subscription Details

Survey fielded: February 2019
Publication: June 2019
On-site strategy session: July 2019


  • Detailed report including a summary of findings and strategic implications
  • On-site strategy session and presentation designed to deliver actionable results and facilitate strategic planning
  • Custom data cuts and survey work by senior analysts

Investment: $40,000


Areas of Inquiry

Plan Sponsor Mind-set

  • Primary areas of focus
  • Engagement in helping participants prepare for retirement
  • Challenges in maintaining a successful retirement plan
  • Types of intermediaries used

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 35 plan providers
  • Performance on 17 critical brand attributes that drive selection
  • Strengths, weaknesses and growth potential
  • Satisfaction with and loyalty to current plan provider; reasons for switching

Plan Design

  • Use of automatic plan features, Roth 401(k)s, loans and employer match
  • Frequency of QDIA reviews
  • Availability, types and components of financial wellness programs offered

Investment Menu Design

  • Frequency of investment lineup reviews
  • Use of and interest in adopting OCIO models
  • Historic and anticipated changes to investment lineups
  • Distribution of assets by investment vehicle
  • Types of 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 46 DC investment managers
  • Performance on 16 critical brand attributes that drive selection
  • Strengths, weaknesses and growth potential
  • Desired frequency and types of contact

DC Investment Manager Use and Satisfaction

  • Number of DC investment managers used
  • Satisfaction with and loyalty to current DC investment managers
  • Anticipated changes to the plan investment mix
  • Reasons for dropping and/or reducing investments
  • Recent “watch list” outcomes
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
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Retirement Planscape