Over the course of 2016, the Retirement Plan Road Show gathered over 550 retirement 401(k) and 403(b) plan sponsors across the nation. We asked these human resource, finance, and business professionals for insight on their plans, topics of interest, and more. We are sharing these insights and trends from our survey as we continue our mission to help improve the nation’s retirement outcomes.
There is still a major need for fiduciary training. When we asked plan sponsors if they’ve ever had fiduciary training; 67% of 403(b) plan sponsors and 69% of 401(k) plan sponsors reported reported “No,” never having had fiduciary training. Comparing this from the same question we asked in 2015, we saw 71% of 403(b) plan sponsors and 73% of 401(k) plan sponsors. These statistics indicate that plan sponsors are thirsty for fiduciary education and training, but still lack resources or a quality forum to do so.
The number one topic for both 401(k) and 403(b) plan sponsors remains fiduciary responsibilities by far. The new fiduciary rule likely kept fiduciary responsibilities in the headlines and, therefore, also in the minds of most plan sponsors. This trend will likely continue into 2017 as regulations and lawsuits continue to play out.
Most topics of interest were similar for 401(k) and 403(b) sponsors, except for benchmarking & RFPs, where 42% of 401(k) plan sponsors and 32% of 403(b) plan sponors were interested in the topic. This may indicate that 403(b) plan sponsors need to learn more about the importance of benchmarking and RFPs, and until then it is not a topic of interest. Considering that higher education 403(b) plan sponsors this year were rocked by lawsuits, it may play out where the important due diligence processes of benchmarking and RFPs will become a bigger focus in the year to come and may trickle down to the smaller 403(b) market place.
For the full report including information broken down by plan size and questions regarding RFPs and service provider searches, please download below.