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Just Published: Plan Sponsor Survey on Auto Features

Posted By Karen Witham, Thursday, April 30, 2020

DCIIA has just published the fifth edition of our plan sponsor survey, which was first fielded in 2010. The survey, conducted by DCIIA's Retirement Research Center (RRC), represents the views of 175 defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors.

Read the Survey in Our Resource Library

This year's report offers observations relative to prior survey findings, where applicable, and provides historical perspectives on how plan sponsor behaviors and attitudes towards auto features have developed over time.

Key findings include:

* Auto enrollment saw growth in adoption, to 69% in 2019, up from 60% in 2016. However, future adoption of auto enrollment may slow.

* Presently, 69% of plans offer auto escalation, up from 50% from our prior survey. Auto escalation may also be reaching its maximum adoption level.

*Adoption of QDIA re-enrollment remains limited. This year's survey reports a modest increase, with 24% reporting having ever done a QDIA re-enrollment, up from 18% in the prior survey.

The majority of plans offering auto features see a direct and attributable benefit to their plans' outcomes as a result. The most commonly cited benefit is having higher participation, followed by faster growth of assets in the plan, which can lead to reduced costs.

In their survey responses, plan sponsors indicate that increasing savings rates and improving communications top their list of objectives for their plans. Implementing auto features is directly helping plan sponsors get the results they desire. In short, plan sponsors are adopting auto-feature practices because they recognize that they are working.

If you have questions about the survey, please contact DCIIA RRC Executive Director Warren Cormier on

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