Half of Plan Sponsors Fail to Measure Employees’ Retirement Progress

According to the 2011 Wells Fargo Retirement Plan Sponsor Survey, 50% of companies have not measured their employees’ retirement progress.

Thirty-two percent of plan sponsors said they are “analyzing plan participation, balances and deferral rates.”  Only 11% are measuring each employee’s retirement income and comparing it with expected needs. The majority (51%) do not provide employees with estimates of annual retirement income they can expect based on plan balances.  

Well over half the companies surveyed (63%) said their primary goal for plan management in 2012 is either overall retirement needs  and to educate employees about how much to save, or to increase employee savings.

Plan Sponsor Challenges and Concerns 

One of the greatest concerns among plan sponsors is the impact of market volatility on account balances and pension plan funding (29%).  Other challenges include: participants’ appreciation for and use of the plan (19%); providing employees with the financial ability to retire (18%);  managing fiduciary risks (12%); compliance with changing regulatory requirements (10%); the program’s effectiveness to recruit, retain and facilitate retirement (6%); understanding and managing plan expenses (2%); and management and oversight of service providers (2%).

Fee Disclosures 

Forty-eight percent of companies that sponsor 401(k) plans said the new requirements for fee disclosures to employees will “have little impact” on plan participants and 49% said “participants will be confused.”  Only 5% said the requirements will lead participants to “make better investment choices.”

The Wells Fargo Retirement Plan Sponsor Survey and its resulting analyses, Challenges and Risks Facing Plan Sponsors, are jointly developed and sponsored by Wells Fargo and its benefits consulting division, Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McAllister, LLC (BPS&M). This is the 16th employee benefits survey analysis prepared by BPS&M. The survey analysis includes information on defined contribution and defined benefit plans. Boston Research Group conducted the online survey during the fall of 2011. Data was collected from 452 employers from organizations around the country. ***(I’ve mainly seen our sites have data take the singular.)