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While DC plan providers are vetted stringently on their respective abilities to provide personalized, proactive client service and customized plan design, there are other factors that are essential to demonstrate in the recordkeeping suite. When we asked DC plan sponsors, heavy DC advisors and DC consultants which factors can best distinguish a DC plan provider from another competitor or incumbent firm, technology, language and educational capabilities were cited as must-have services with strong interplay.
“Serious investment into technology, making processes more efficient, effective. Designing interactions with participants to be easier, more mobile, transparent, resonating with all types of employees.” DC Advisor, RIA
“If you’re not investing in technology and you’re not investing in language, you’re just milking it. You’re not going to be around in five years. … In this day and age when people can withdraw money at an ATM in fifteen different languages, the fact that someone can’t get literature for their 401(k) in Spanish, it’s appalling.” DC Consultant
“Language capabilities, education capabilities. … One of our clients is a restaurant group that’s got 100 restaurants around the country. Not that we want to have on-site meetings at every restaurant, but they just want to know that the vendor has capabilities to help out in some way.” DC Consultant
For recordkeepers, this means creating easy-to-understand educational materials with minimal financial jargon and providing access to user-friendly websites with engaging online tools—in multiple languages. In fact, DC advisors and consultants—who play key roles in overseeing and securing new plan provider relationships—are staunch advocates for language capabilities.
“A lot of what recordkeepers do is fairly commoditized. I try and focus clients on the things that they can actually control. Whether or not there is any flexibility in customization around the website … communication, education program, the types of materials that are going out.” DC Consultant
“We met with a prospective client the other day. … Their current provider has … Spanish-speaking materials, the website’s great, etc. We requested an RFP, and they said, ‘No, we’re so happy with our current provider. If you can find us [another] that provides all these services and more, then we’ll definitely consider them.’” DC Consultant
Many are flabbergasted by the paucity of Spanish materials and websites, in particular, as well as Spanish-speaking client representatives in the DC market. As such, plan providers should make a concerted effort to invest more heavily in these three capabilities in order to boost client satisfaction and appeal to new clients.
For more insights on what plan sponsors, heavy DC advisors and consultants are looking for, review an overview of the DC Market 360°™ report.