Callan's Defined Contribution Survey Covers the Pandemic Impact and Trends in DC Plan Management, Financial Wellness, and HSAs

Plan governance and process ranks as top area of focus by a notable margin

February 16, 2021 6:11 AM EST

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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Callan, a leading institutional investment consulting firm, announced the results of its 2021 Defined Contribution (DC) Survey. Now in its 14th year, the DC survey offers actionable insights for defined contribution plan sponsors.

New this year: The survey covers the SECURE and CARES Acts, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and key tenets of DC plan management, financial wellness, and health savings accounts (HSAs). The survey, which Callan conducted online in September and October 2020, incorporates responses from 93 large DC plan sponsors, including Callan clients and other organizations.

"The world is changing dramatically, and our annual survey is evolving to fit the shifting landscape," said Jana Steele, survey author and a senior vice president in Callan's Defined Contribution Consulting group. "Some of the traditional activities we see in DC plans slowed this year or required greater urgency, likely due to the twin forces of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting financial shocks."

Key Findings

More than 90% of plans in the survey had over $100 million in assets, and the majority of respondents (60%) had more than 10,000 participants.

  • Plan governance and process ranks as the top area of focus by a notable margin.
  • 2x as many plans suspended or reduced the matching contribution in 2020.
  • 71% of plan sponsors are either somewhat or very likely to conduct a fee study in 2021 
  • 73% adopted coronavirus-related distributions related to the CARES Act.
  • 65% offer a health savings account, and 22% are bundled with DC services, with participation and cost tied for top concerns.
  • 60% of respondents offered financial wellness support, while only 14% offer a standalone financial wellness program.

"We are grateful for the tremendous participation from our clients and non-clients in helping create such a robust survey," said Greg Ungerman, Callan's DC practice leader.

You can find the survey here.

Media Contact: Elizabeth  415-274-3020

About Callan Callan was founded as an employee-owned investment consulting firm in 1973. Ever since, we have empowered institutional clients with creative, customized investment solutions backed by proprietary research, exclusive data, and ongoing education. Today, Callan advises on more than $2 trillion in total fund sponsor assets, which makes it among the largest independently owned investment consulting firms in the U.S. Callan uses a client-focused consulting model to serve pension and defined contribution plan sponsors, endowments, foundations, independent investment advisers, investment managers, and other asset owners. Callan has six offices throughout the U.S. Learn more at

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