Organizations that sponsor 403(b) plans are accelerating adoption of plan automatic features to improve plan design and participant outcomes, according to the 2018 annual 403(b)
The PSCA 403(b)
"Throughout the past decade, PSCA research has revealed the significant contributions 403(b) plan sponsors have made to their workers," notes
The PSCA 403(b) survey findings support financial advisors' discussions with plan sponsors to recommend plan design changes that may improve their plan, and thus participant outcomes.
"The PSCA survey suggests a correlation between an increased presence of advisors among 403(b) plans, and higher adoption rates of positive plan design features such as auto enrollment," said
Highlights from the 10th PSCA 403(b) survey
More plan sponsors see the value of advisors.
The use of an investment advisor who acts as a plan fiduciary has increased by 40% in just 4 years--likely spurred by advisors helping clients manage the complex regulations that govern plans.
Auto-enrollment features continue to improve plan design.
The use of automatic enrollment increased by 45% from 2008, and is now used by nearly a quarter of plans (23.9%). More than a third use a default contribution rate higher than 3%. Organizations offering auto-enrollment see auto-escalation as a good companion service. Of those offering auto-enrollment, more than half (56.6%) also offer auto escalation--an automatic increase in the initial savings rate--up from 43% in 2015.
More plans have investment policy statements.
This year, nearly 60% of plans have an investment policy statement, up from 46% in 2008.
Sponsors are streamlining their investment lineup.
Sponsors are realizing that more isn't necessarily better when it comes to investment options. This year, 403(b) plan sponsors offered an average of 25 investments -- down from a high of 31 in 2013.
Roth options are expanding.
The number of employers making Roth contributions available to employees is up 169% from 2010 (13.9%) to 2018 (37.4%). Nearly half of plans with more than 1,000 workers now offer Roth.
PSCA's survey data points to the need for continued focus in areas of partnering with advisors, auto-enrollment, and plan governance measures to better prepare American workers for retirement. Despite a dramatic expansion in recent years, three-fourths of 403(b) plans do not currently have auto-enrollment features. Additionally, nearly 44% of non-profits are dealing with complex issues without the assistance of an advisor.
Based on this year's findings, there are several trends to monitor:
Fluctuation of investment options available to employees
Increasing access to Roth
Re-evaluation of employer contribution formulas
"To keep improving participant outcomes, plan sponsors need to continue the improvements that are reported in the survey," said Friedman. "Setting up the plan for success is imperative--as it encourages participants to start saving early and to increase their deferral percentage as their salary grows over time."
About the PSCA 403(b)
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