Record keepers saw a drop in RFP volume in the second quarter, while defined contribution investment-only managers reported a meteoric rise in RFPs, according to the preliminary results of a survey conducted by the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association's Retirement Research Center and the SPARK Institute.
Although the survey is still gathering responses, early results from the six record keepers that have thus far responded to the survey said they've experienced a 47% decline in RFP activity in the second quarter from the same period a year ago.
Meanwhile, DCIOs have seen a massive spike in RFPs — an average of 453% more in the second quarter vs. the same quarter in 2019. In fact, three of the four DCIOs that responded to the survey reported increases exceeding 600%.
"The drop in record-keeping RFPs in this environment of restricted travel is not surprising," said Tim Rouse, SPARK's executive director, in a news release announcing the early results. "Plan sponsor searches for new record keepers typically require travel. Generally, record keepers send client-facing teams to the plan sponsor as part of the evaluation process or plan sponsor staff do site visits to record keepers, or both."
In addition, the early survey results reveal a 50% to 60% overall decline in RFPs being sent by consultants.
SPARK and DCIIA plan to conduct a second survey of plan sponsors to better understand their plans and goals moving forward once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.