There's a big gap between what employees and employers believe is the responsibility of defined contribution sponsors in encouraging adequate retirement savings, according to new research commissioned by BlackRock.
Comparing one survey of 1,000 participants and another of 119 plan executives, BlackRock found that 52% of employees said sponsors weren't helpful in safeguarding assets after retirement, according to survey results presented Wednesday at a BlackRock news conference. Only 14% of employers said they “feel a great deal of responsibility,”
The BlackRock surveys also noted that 57% of participants said sponsors were not helping them “make sure my money lasts all through retirement,” while only 17% of employers said they “feel a great deal of responsibility” to assist in this goal.
The gap between participant and employer attitudes is “troubling,” said Chip Castille, managing director and head of BlackRock's U.S. & Canada defined contribution business, during the news conference.
Although participants appreciate employer guidance during their working years, Mr. Castille said participants want more assistance preparing for — and providing for — retirement. Employers, he added, want more federal regulatory guidance regarding fiduciary responsibilities in providing retirement options within DC plans.
“The workers gave employers fairly good marks on the accumulation side,” said Warren Cormier, founder and president of Boston Research Group, which conducted the surveys for BlackRock.
On the post-retirement spending side, participants want more information but employers are less enthusiastic about providing it, according to the survey data presented at the news conference. For example, 40% of participants said they wanted to receive a “great deal more” information on “how to generate secure income in retirement,” while 25% of employers said they “want to deliver a great deal more” of that information.
Also, 36% of participants said they wanted to receive “a great deal more” information on “how to make sure their money lasts through retirement,” but 22% of employers “want to deliver a great deal more” of that information.
The survey of 1,000 employees covered participants in different types of DC plans that aren't necessarily BlackRock clients. The sample was drawn randomly from plans of various sizes. The survey of 119 executives from sponsors that are BlackRock clients “was intentionally designed to represent extremely large plans to capture the opinions of thought leaders among the plan sponsor universe,” according to information presented at the news conference.
The surveys were conducted online in February and March.