Strengthening Trust Will Help Plan Providers Weather the Storm

June 10, 2020
Author: Sonia Davis

Earlier this year, plan sponsors were focused on traditional tasks such as reducing costs, regulatory plan compliance and exploring ways to boost participant contributions. The concerns of preventing 401(k) plan leakage have abruptly morphed by the COVID-19 pandemic into an entirely new set of challenges, including how to keep corporate payrolls and everyday operations afloat, while assisting employees with short-term financial stress in addition to preparing employees for retirement.

Our Retirement Planscape survey closed on March 16, just before the markets collapsed in reaction to the unparalleled and devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. On a somber note, we published our 2020 study last month in the shadow of a grim milestone for our country: over 100,000 lives lost in the US alone. Our research findings provide important pre-pandemic context for providers to consider as organizations search for a renewed sense of stability in the months ahead.

Before stay-at-home advisories and social distancing stunned the nation, trustworthiness served as the most influential driver of consideration among DC plan providers and DC investment managers alike. Now, as employers cautiously reopen in hopes of recouping massive losses in revenue and staffing, brand trustworthiness has become more vital. Service and support capabilities—the most critical satisfaction and loyalty driver—have undoubtedly grown more essential as plan sponsors aim to provide more financial guidance and plan participants mull 401(k) hardship loans and withdrawals.

As employers strive to keep plan participants on course with their long-term retirement goals, providers must respond to plan sponsors’ ever-changing needs and collaborate with DC advisors and consultants as the country rides out this market upheaval. This year’s Retirement Planscape study offers in-depth analyses on the latest industry trends and provides updated competitive benchmarking for the leading 34 DC plan providers and 45 DC investment managers. Our findings confirm that, even amid a global pandemic, opportunities beckon within each segment of the DC marketplace for firms that use this time to enhance overall confidence in their businesses and strengthen trust in their brands.

 

Click below for more information on the Retirement Planscape study.

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Sonia Davis
Senior Product Director, Cogent Syndicated

Sonia is a senior product director for Cogent Syndicated with more than 12 years of market research experience. She has managed numerous qualitative and quantitative studies in financial services industry research, as well as the hospitality, consumer packaged goods and retail sectors. Prior to Escalent, Sonia served as a community manager for C Space, a public relations specialist for Putnam Investments and as a staff reporter for Community Newspaper Company. Sonia earned an MBA from Boston University School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Simmons College. She’s a proud finisher of the rainiest Boston Marathon on record (2018), but truly enjoys triathlon training and outdoor adventures with her black lab.