One-Fourth of Sponsors Lack IPS

In a recent survey by Cowden Associates, 25% of defined contribution plan sponsors reported not having an investment policy statement (IPS).

That number is a slight improvement, as the number of respondents who either did not have an IPS or did not know what their IPS contained dropped from 52% in 2007 to 41% in 2008, according to a press release of the results.

The survey also found the number of DC plan sponsors who implemented an automatic enrollment program jumped from 16% in 2007 to 25% in 2008. Automatic annual deferral rate increases also were more prevalent, jumping from 7% of employers who implemented the increases in 2007 to 10% in 2008.

Top-Down Approach

Survey respondents said more senior executives are taking a direct role in decisions regarding their organizations’ 401(k) plans than in the past. According to the release, 94% of survey respondents indicated their senior executives are involved in the investment decisionmaking process, compared with 30% who said the same in 2007.

The survey also found more senior managers are serving on their organizations’ investment/retirement committees—taking responsibility for selecting and monitoring the investments offered in their plans, participating in any plan design changes, and overseeing plan service providers and their fees.

“Recent legislation, including the Pension Protection Act and the Supreme Court’s ruling that individuals can sue defined contribution plan sponsors who mismanage their funds, has been a real wake-up call for plan sponsors,” said Jim Bartoszewicz, executive vice president of Defined Contribution & Investment Advisory Services, in the release. “In just one year, we’re seeing a significant shift in the way defined-contribution plans are managed.”

More than 125 employers participated in the survey.