Lesser-Known Defined Contribution Providers Tops in Service Study

By Staff Report

Jul. 6, 2011

Few defined contribution service providers are able to provide service and support in addition to brand recognition, according to a study from Cogent Research.

Cogent asked defined contribution plan executives with which providers they were most familiar and which they would want based on the knowledge of their service and support, according to Christy White, a principal at Cogent Research.

“Very few brands were able to succeed at both things simultaneously,” White said. While brands like Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab and Vanguard Group topped the list as recognized leaders in the defined contribution industry, smaller firms were better able to distinguish their brands on service and support. The top three providers cited for service and support were Ascensus, Milliman and Affiliated Computer Services.

Providing strong service and support “comes more easily for a niche player that’s not trying to be all things to all people,” according to White. “The challenge that plays up against is they’re not well known.”

“It is a great opportunity for them to capture [market] share if they can get their message out in the right places,” White said.

The Cogent Research Retirement Planscape 2011 Study is based on a survey of 1,600 DC plan sponsors on 13 attributes identified as significant drivers in choosing a plan provider, including service and support, and brand recognition.

Filed by Rob Kozlowski of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email


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