PSCA Opens Annual Survey of DC Plan Trends

The Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) has begun its 56th Annual Survey questionnaire, which will examine trends with defined contribution (DC) plans.

PSCA surveys plan sponsors to track evolving trends in employer-sponsored DC plans. People who complete the survey questionnaire receive a free copy of the results, valued at $395.

As DC plans evolve in response to changing economic and industry conditions, PSCA has expanded the survey to include topics that will provide data that is most relevant to plan sponsors. New topics this year include plan fee benchmarking, participant education, and target-date fund structure.

“With the focus on plan fees the last few years, plan sponsors have been asking us for fee benchmarking data,” said Bob Benish, PSCA’s interim president and executive director. “The addition of the fee questions to the survey will allow us to provide this information and begin to trend plan fees.”

He added: “With the recent economic fluctuations, there has been a discussion of how to best provide information to participants and whether we should be taking a more holistic financial wellness approach. This is good in theory, but are plan sponsors committing the time and resources into doing this, and if so, how are they implementing it?”

Benish told PLANADVISER, “I believe that the actions of participants are based in large part on their personal levels of financial literacy and financial knowledge. This is a plausible explanation as to why a percentage of people are not fully taking advantage of features like company match, catch-up contributions, etc. We also need to take a more holistic approach to saving for retirement, by helping people to understand the importance of financial planning, paying down debt and taking advantage of their tax-deferred employer-sponsored retirement plan.”


Plan trends to be examined include:

  • Investment fund lineups;
  • Number of investment funds;
  • Plan loan and hardship withdrawal usage;
  • Participation and deferral rates;
  • Investment advice;
  • Target-date funds; and
  • Automatic enrollment default deferral rates and auto-escalation.

Because the data is reported by plan size and type, PSCA surveys are effective tools that help clients benchmark their plans, Benish said. This can make the data more valuable for plan advisers encouraging clients to participate in the survey.

The deadline for survey responses is May 3. More information about completing the survey is available at Advisers interested in encouraging their clients to participate in the survey should contact PSCA at or 312-419-1863 for more information.