Top 5 Topics of Interest Reported by Plan Sponsors

Wading through the responsibilities of setting up a retirement plan is a daunting task, with Plan Sponsors often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information, advice and marketing in the industry – but helping businesses build an effective benefits program calls for a focused approach that addresses Plan Sponsor concerns directly. 

Below are the top 5 topics of interest reported in a Plan Sponsor Survey compiled by Xponential Growth Solutions (XGS.)

1)     Fiduciary Responsibility – 86%


“I am not a trustee of our plan, but I process all contributions from payroll and partner draws and all transmittal to our plan and a handful of self-directed accounts. Am I considered a fiduciary? What is my potential liability?”

- Commonly-asked question in Plan Sponsor Survey

Fiduciary Responsibility was by far the number one topic for respondents to the XGS survey. Eighty-six percent were unsure whether their existing job functions qualified them as a Fiduciary, even if they weren’t labeled as one.  

Fiduciaries are obligated to act in the best interest of participants, and not doing so can lead to big legal trouble – so it’s no surprise that understanding their role is a top priority for Plan Sponsors. Fiduciary Responsibility means steering clear of potential conflicts of interests in favor of making the best decisions on behalf of plan participants.

2)     Plan Design & Participant Behaviors – 65%

The second-largest concern for Plan Sponsors was the design, implementation and management of the plans themselves. Putting a benefits plan in place is only half the battle – it’s also imperative to recognize participant behaviors and anticipate their needs. Even the most well-crafted programs need participation to work, and sixty-five percent of Plan Sponsors know it.

3)     Retirement Plan Fees – 59%

So you’ve got a plan and participation, but are you paying too much in fees? Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed by XGS aren’t sure. Understanding the expenses involved in managing any benefits plan is an essential part of fiduciary responsibility to ensure participants are getting the most out of their investments.

What’s the importance from a fiduciary standpoint of having an unbiased financial wellness program versus having the plan advisor deliver programs, and is it worth the extra investment?
— Commonly asked question in XGS Survey

4)     Economic and Legislative updates – 57%

More than half (57%) of respondents want to keep an eye on Wall Street as well as Capitol Hill. Changes to legislation and an unpredictable economy can have a huge impact on the decisions Plan Sponsors make, and staying ahead of the curve can significantly limit fiduciary risk.

5)     Financial Wellness – 55%

XGS found a noticeable uptick in interest in Financial Wellness from previous survey years, especially from smaller size plans. As more employers come to realize the benefits of Financial Wellness programs, some fifty-five percent are confused about what kinds of programs actually qualify as such, and whether they fall under the umbrella of fiduciary responsibility.