The power of being proactive

This year’s research shows the benefits of being proactive, including greater adoption of industry best practices to position more participants for greater retirement funding success.

Success starts with a proactive philosophy

When it comes to helping participants, plan sponsors with a proactive philosophy find their plans to be more effective in achieving goals than plan sponsors who are hands-off.


How effective has your DC plan been in meeting the following goals for employees?


Achieve a financially secure retirement 47% 71%
Retire at target age 43% 70%
Improve attitude and motivation 50% 71%

Imbalance between philosophy and action

Most plan sponsors feel a high level of responsibility for employee financial wellness (74%) but less than half of those surveyed take proactive measures (41%) to position participants for success.



Help bridge any gaps between philosophy and action


Proactive plan design is trending

The percentage of plan sponsors offering automatic features has increased since 2013.

  2013 2019
Automatic enrollment 43% 55%
Automatic contribution escalation 21% 38%

Highlight the benefits of automatic features


Many are overlooking key target date fund evaluation criteria

What percentage of plan sponsors think these criteria are either “extremely” or “very” important?

84%   Performance

80%   Fees
49%   Glide path structure

48%   Participant demographics

42%   How participants behave at retirement


Align target date fund (TDF) 
strategies with plan goals


Plan sponsors are at their best with proactive financial advisors

We surveyed plan sponsors—those with a proactive advisor/consultant, less proactive or without —about their confidence levels in plan design and overall plan decisions.



Learn more about the value in being proactive

About our survey

We surveyed 838 plan sponsors from January through March, 2019. All respondents are key decision-makers for their organizations’ DC plans. All organizations represented have been in business for at least three years, offer a 401(k) or 403(b) plan to their domestic U.S. employees and have at least 10 full-time employees.