Vendor Consolidation Helped Grow 403(b) Participant Base

Fidelity Investments reported a 20% increase over the past three years in the number of participants in its tax-exempt savings plans, which serve higher education, health care, and other not-for-profit institutions.

Fidelity said the increase in participants is in part a result of regulatory changes in the not-for-profit or 403(b) industry that have caused some employers to consolidate providers. Many higher education and health care institutions, some of which may have as many as 50 different providers, have decided to reduce the number of retirement providers offered in their plans.   

According to a press release, Fidelity has partnered with employers to achieve a variety of consolidation strategies, including moving to a single provider. Fidelity said emerging trends show higher education institutions embracing a two-vendor model while health care organizations are more likely to move to a single provider.  

The firm said it has made significant enhancements in technology, recordkeeping, communication, and education. Higher education and health care professionals have access to retirement guidance through a variety of services including in-person meetings at an investor’s place of work or at one of Fidelity’s 145 investor centers nationwide, along with dedicated support over the phone or through Fidelity’s participant Web site.  

Fidelity serves over 3.4 million not-for-profit participants in more than 2,000 workplace savings plans.