Archived Insight | September 27, 2018

Defined Contribution Plan Consulting Helps Protect Your People

Whether used to supplement a pension plan or serving as the main source of retirement income for your people, the defined contribution (DC) plan is an important — and complicated — financial tool to master. 

Our consultants possess extensive administrative and investment expertise, regulatory and compliance knowledge and experience in plan design, risk mitigation, vendor searches and plan assessment studies. We can help with your defined contribution consulting needs, tailoring each project to your specific concerns and objectives. 

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How we can help you with your defined contribution plans

We'll help you tackle all the problems that crop up when managing a defined contribution plan, offering advice that broadly fits into the three following categories.

Plan Design: Careful planning and creativity are needed to ensure that the design of DC programs will meet the goals and needs of plan participants over the long term. We offer a multi-disciplinary approach to assisting with the design of new defined contribution programs, as well as with modifying existing plans.

Compliance: We provide ongoing compliance consulting services for DC plans by periodically reviewing plan documents and operations for compliance with federal legislative and regulatory requirements. We provide specific advice and recommendations for plan changes required to maintain compliance, as well as assist administrators and legal counsel in developing plan amendments. 

Investment Consulting: Investment solutions for DC plans are provided by Segal Marco Advisors, our SEC-registered investment consulting affiliate. As DC plans grow in prominence and asset size, sponsors are continually evaluating their investment options and looking at ways to improve them with the ultimate goal of improving a participant’s retirement offering competitive returns at the most reasonable cost possible. Continual evaluation of options is prudent and Segal Marco Advisors works with funds to ensure they are making optimal investments.

One example of defined contribution plan consulting

Here's just one example of how our unmatched expertise helped one organization with its defined contribution plan.


The issue

The benefits director at a large national entertainment company noticed on a recent recordkeeper report that the average defined contribution plan deferral percentage for mid-career personnel had decreased since the prior year. This was unexpected since the client had recently had the recordkeeper conduct optional in-person sessions on retirement savings. The client was concerned that employee savings would be insufficient as this group approached retirement age and wanted to investigate the reasons behind these decreases to be able to promote higher savings and engender confidence in retirement readiness. 

Our solution

We conducted an employee engagement survey that isolated the mid-career population. Part of the survey involved reviewing these employees’ DC plan queries. The results showed that mid-career hires in the Northeast were more disengaged than other groups in the organization, which is not uncommon for the “sandwich generation.” Because of their disengagement, they had elected not to participate as actively in their DC plan and decided to spend their money elsewhere.

We worked with the organization to conduct focus groups to develop a personalized retirement readiness statement for this cohort (see the sample below). The statement provided a complete view of their current outlook across all of their retirement plans (DC and defined benefit) and incorporated scenarios detailing the impact their deferral choices would have on their future retirement savings.

The result

Because this client viewed us as an independent trusted adviser, they gave us access to multiple data sources. Because of this, the personalized retirement readiness statement was able to provide a more all-inclusive view.

This enabled employees to more fully understand their situation. Those who were on the right track felt more engaged and confident about their retirement planning, while those who were less engaged were reminded about the organization’s valuable DC plan benefits.

The client is now considering an additional communications campaign and a follow-up engagement survey to understand how their response to the problem that we identified affected their employees.

If you want similar help from us, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.

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