Annual 401(k) Benchmarking Survey: 2010 Edition

Turning the spotlight to retirement readiness


Now in its tenth year, the 2010 installment of the 401(k) Benchmarking Survey revealed that the spotlight is shifting to retirement readiness as plan sponsors are taking an increased interest in whether employees are preparing for a comfortable retirement. In fact, for the first time we saw "participant retirement readiness" move up as one of the most important improvements plan sponsors want from providers. However, these plan sponsors appear unsure about which tools and offerings are most effective at helping participants manage retirement planning.

The survey results offer a detailed snapshot of the 401(k) policies, features, objectives and expectations of hundreds of diverse employers. More than 600 companies responded to the survey, representing a wide distribution of employers in terms of geography, size and industry and ownership structure (publicly or privately held). Among the notable findings:

  • Only 15 percent of surveyed employers believe most employees will be prepared for retirement.
  • 75 percent are NOT considering adding retirement income products to their fund line up.
  • Among respondents that previously suspended employer match, 55 percent plan to reinstate within the next 12 to 24 months.
  • 36 percent of employers closely align their retirement plan design and overall business strategy.
  • More than half (56 percent) of respondents indicated statements are most frequently delivered hard-copy via the mail.
  • 83 percent of plan sponsors have not used PDA tools related to retirement plan administration.

The survey sheds light on the collective “frame of mind” of employers. And while survey participants remain cautious, plan sponsors appear to be more trusting of the recovery as they begin shifting from cost cutting back towards ongoing management. To that point, more sponsors are offering employer matching contributions in 2010 than in 2009 (66 percent and 59 percent, respectively).

This comprehensive survey, conducted jointly by Deloitte Consulting LLP, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, offers a detailed examination of 401(k) policies and practices, and how plan sponsors and participants intend to utilize these powerful retirement savings instruments. To learn more, download the complete report.