CHICAGO -- William M. Mercer Inc. has created a defined contribution service provider database that uses the Internet to shave weeks from the search process.
The Defined Contribution Plan Management database also reduces the paper RFP to four pages, down from the traditional 90-plus.
To gather information for the "first of its kind" database, Mercer approached 401(k) plan administrators across the country with a questionnaire, similar to an RFP, that asked more than 230 questions within 19 broad categories. The questionnaire was designed to gather generic information common to all providers, including questions about administrative capabilities, organizational structure, quality standards, staffing, breadth of service offerings and client base statistics. Responses were evaluated against market standards and entered into the database.
Plan administrators, who do not pay to be included, are responsible for updating the information as needed via a password-protected Internet site. Forty-nine vendors are in the database.
Mercer consultants will use the database to select, evaluate and measure vendors, based on specific client requirements.