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New 403(b) benchmarking data

Benchmarking data on 403(b) plans hasn’t always been easy to find. But over the last 10 years, the Plan Sponsor Council of America 403(b) Plan Survey has delivered a wealth of 403(b) benchmarking data.

The latest survey results give you a chance to compare a 403(b) plan to others. And find ways to make a plan even better.

Highlighted trends

Here are key trends from this year’s survey:

More employers see the value of financial professionals.

Since 2014 (the year the question was first asked), having a financial professional on the plan has risen 26% (from 44.1% to 55.6%). That means about 44% of existing plans could use the help of a financial professional.

Auto-enroll and auto-escalate are on the rise.

The use of auto-enroll increased 45% from 2008. It’s now used by nearly a quarter of plans (23.9%). Of those offering auto enroll, 57% also offer auto escalation—up from 43% in 2015.

More plans have investment policy statements.

This year, nearly 60% of plans have an investment policy statement, up from 46% in 2008. That means more organizations are prepared from a fiduciary standpoint.

More financial professionals are serving as plan fiduciaries.

The use of an investment advisor who acts as a plan fiduciary has increased by 40% in just 4 years—likely spurred by financial professionals helping clients manage regulations.

Sponsors are streamlining their investment lineup.

Sponsors are realizing that more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to investment options. This year, 403(b) plan sponsors offer an average of 25 investments—down from a high of 31 in 2013.  

Roth contributions are hot.

The number of employers making Roth contributions available to employees is up 169% from 2010 (13.9%) to 2018 (37.4%).


We’re here to help. Contact your local Principal® representative.

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