Determining which recordkeeper may be best for your plan has become more challenging, because many of the small players that worked in niche mar- kets have consolidated. This means that most of the major recordkeepers
can serve all types of plans and has led to basic services becoming more commoditized. The Department of Labor (DOL) makes it clear that plan sponsors should
evaluate recordkeeping fees in the context of services received and their overall value.
Therefore, it’s crucial for sponsors to periodically assess more than just fees, but the
extent that what it receives for them benefits the plan—a variable that can be hard
to determine. In “Seeking Value” (page 22), Judy Ward identifies four areas where
many plan sponsors can find added value from a recordkeeper, given the fee charged.
In “Breaking Up With a Fund”
(page 58), John Keefe reports on what a
plan sponsor goes through in realizing
a fund has not met expectations or the
requirements as stated in the plan’s
investment policy statement (IPS). For
the sponsor, it can be challenging to
replace a fund—to find and install a
capable substitute without too much
plan disruption. One source explains,
“There are few situations in overseeing
a qualified retirement plan more chal-
lenging than replacing an investment.”
This story leads to the 2017 DC Survey: Plan Benchmarking (page 30), in which
we, again, present findings from our annual survey of DC plan sponsors. The results
may help validate your organization’s current plan design decisions or indicate that
your strategies are not quite on par with your peers’. Do you know the average participa-
tion rate in a plan with automatic enrollment and escalation? See page 35. How about
the percentage of plans that match catch-up contributions? See page 36. Brian O’ Keefe
and Quinn Keeler, authors of this and all surveys for PLANSPONSOR, also identify the
best and worst industries for retirement benefits, measured by key plan metrics. As I
reflect on the data, I see some unfortunate tales.
In this issue, we also present the “PLANSPONSOR Research Year in Review”
(page 46), reminding you of the full array of proprietary research we completed in
2017 and make available to our readers. This roundup presents snapshots of each
survey and buyer’s guide. As always, all of our research reports are fully accessible at
Columnists Steve Saxon and George Sepsakos of Groom Law Group offer a
special holiday guide for fiduciaries (page 63), and Summer Conley and Michael
Rosenbaum of Drinker Biddle and Reath LPP give sage advice on choosing the right
adviser (page 62).
Of course, we have much more to share in the magazine and on plansponsor.
com. If you don’t already receive our daily or weekly newsletters, sign up at plan-sponsor.com/subscribe/. We do not disappoint.
From all of the staff at PLANSPONSOR, we wish you a very happy holiday season.
—Judy Faust Hartnett, Managing Editor
EDI TOR-IN-CHIEF: Alison Cooke Mintzer
CREATIVE DIREC TOR: SooJin Chun Buzelli, SVP
MANAGING EDITOR: Judy Faust Hartnett
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EDI TORIAL STAFF: Lee Barney, John Manganaro,
Amanda Umpierrez, Karen Wittwer
CON TRIBUTORS: Anthony DiSanzo,
John Keefe, Judy Ward
SURVE YS & RESEARCH: Quinn Keeler,
Brian O’Keefe, Jackie Scott
DESIGN & PRODUCTION: Lynn Connelly,
Chris Kwon, Claire Merchlinsky, Tiffany Pai
DESIGN CONTRIBUTION: Cherese Rambaldi
ART CONTRIBUTORS: Julie Benbassat, Chris Buzelli,
Joseph Ciardiello, Alessandro Gottardo, Jon Han,
Alex Kiesling, Doris Liou, Elisa Macellari, Bill Mayer,
Wren Mc Donald, Red Nose Studio, Dadu Shin,
Katherine Streeter, Tomi Um (cover), Mark Wang,
Jean Wei, Ellen Weinstein
PUBLISHER & ADVER TISING: Michael Garity, VP
ONLINE/DIGI TAL PRODUC TS: Paul Zampitella, VP
ADVERTISING SALES: Katie Bacon,
Meighan Mc Gowan, Bill Murray, Lisa Reilly
GLOBAL SALES ADMINISTRATOR: Anthony Groccia
CONFERENCES: Carol Popkins, VP;
Katie Campbell, Ana-Alyse Castelluccio,
Melissa Groccia, Lucille Velander
GLOBAL CON TROLLER: Younes Ismael-Aguirre
ACCOUNTING OPERATIONS: Abeer Abu-Issa,
Mayrillane Bahi, Ruth Fissaha, Doreen Fucci,
Kristin Keeler, Ricky Kostik, Karen Kurtz,
Vivian Panton, Harris Weinstein
DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR: Justin Hoffman
TECHNOLOGY OPERATIONS: Stephen Dennis, Ray
Lucibello, Bhakti Patel, Jigar Patel, Dexter Reaves,
CUSTOM MEDIA PROGRAM MANAGER:
Drew Donaldson, firstname.lastname@example.org
REPRINTS: Michelle Judkins
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Stamford, CT 06901-2218; 203-595-3200
PLANSPONSOR (ISSN 1077-1816) is published
eight times per year by Strategic Insight.
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PLANSPONSOR, Vol. 25, Number 6. No part of
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