Plan sponsors in a new study say their top concern is whether their plan effectively prepares employees for retirement financially, a finding consistent with previous years, Fidelity Investments reported Monday.
The study also showed that plan sponsors continue to make changes to their investment menus and plan designs in an effort to improve participant outcomes.
“While supporting their employees’ retirement readiness has always been a top priority for plan sponsors, the current market crisis has accelerated its importance,” said Elizabeth Pathe, head of DCIO sales at Fidelity Institutional, said in a statement.
“Plan sponsors are looking for guidance and reassurance during this difficult time, and we continue to see plan advisors playing an important role in helping companies identify ways to improve their retirement plans and help their employees strengthen their financial well-being.”
Fidelity conducted an online survey between Feb. 2 and Feb. 24 among 1,555 employers that offer retirement plans that use a wide variety of recordkeepers.
During a webinar on March 30, in the midst of market volatility due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fidelity also polled 956 plan sponsors that keep records with Fidelity, and found that their top concern was employee financial well-being.
Good Value From Advisors
As part of its new study, Fidelity reviewed data following the 2008 financial crisis for perspective on plan sponsors’ areas of focus during that earlier period of uncertainty.
In 2010, 35% of sponsors said the chief reason they had decided to begin using a plan advisor was to receive help with plan investments, especially given the market situations.
This year, sponsors’ top reason for working with an advisor, cited by 29% of respondents, was to obtain assistance with the increasingly complicated process of managing a retirement plan.
Plan investments will likely become an area of focus again, according to Fidelity. Asked how their plan advisors underscore their value, 56% of sponsors said performance of plan investments. Overall, 53% of sponsors said a desire for better performance investment drove menu changes.