Public DC Plan Benchmarking

At this year’s National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA) conference, AndCo Executive Director and Senior Consultant Steve Gordon was honored to act as moderator for a lineup of industry experts including Steve Ferber of PIMCO, Keith Overly of the Ohio Deferred Compensation Program and Jean Young of Vanguard. These professionals came together in Milwaukee to discuss the data collected in a new and extremely valuable public plan Defined Contribution (DC) survey.

What made this survey so valuable was that it was comprised solely of non-taxable, public defined contribution and deferred compensation plans. While participant and sponsor level DC plan surveys are not uncommon, they are typically limited to widely available ERISA data or the clients of a particular vendor, such as the recordkeeper housing the data. Since non-taxable public plans are not subject to filing data-rich form 5500s with the IRS, we are often reliant upon the significant time, energy and cost of requesting this data on a plan-by-plan basis.

As a method of data collection, surveys become more useful with each qualified participant, and representing 62 plans, $116 billion in assets and with 2.4 million participants providing data for the NAGDCA 2017 conference, we have been able to yield some powerful analytics for benchmarking. Moreover, this level of data was, until this point, largely unavailable in the public sector.

Watch how the panel of experts interpret the rare and invaluable data collected on public plan, DC sponsors for the NAGDCA 2017 conference.



  • Steve GordonAndCo Consulting | Introduction and panel Q&A moderation.
  • Steve FerberPIMCO | DC market and DB plans to discuss front-end analysis.
  • Jean YoungVanguard | Trends based on mining of plans as opposed to data from surveys, participation rates and taking action on data found.
  • Keith OverlyOhio Deferred Compensation Program | A look at perspectives in practice and how to bring it to life and improve your plan.


Steve Gordon:

  •      0:59 – “The four keys to any survey process – collect, organize, analyze and interpret.”

Steve Ferber:

  •      4:42 – “Historically there’s been information available on two types of DC plans – 403(b)’s and 401(k)’s. With the NAGDCA benchmarking tool, we now have some very valuable information on 457’s.
  •      5:48 – “Let’s get into the data. It broke down into basically 3 categories: plan participation, oversight, and investments”
  •      13:33 – “What’s the right number of core options for your DC plan?”
  •      17:12 – “Opportunities are there for all plan types.”

Jean Young:

  •      19:50 – “As I think about retirement savings in America, particularly the private sector where DC is what we’ve got, it’s really quite simple.”
  •      21:10 – “If you want to move the dial on savings and participation rates, it really is a plan design effect.”
  •      23:18 – “What are the deferral rates doing?”
  •      30:55 – “People are people the world over, and when we give people the option of doing this on their own, we give them the ability to potentially make mistakes or harm themselves.”

Keith Overly:

  •      31:51 – “If you want to get people into security and retirement it really boils down to saving and investing.”
  •      38:49 – “Sometimes it’s good to take a deeper dive to get a better understanding of what some of the data means.”
  •      42:39 – “How do you improve your plan?”
  •      43:37 – “Use this data when you’re considering new plan features.”

We regard the NAGDCA 2017 conference as a complete success, not only analyzing what the data is telling us, but how we should interpret it. Thanks to Steve Gordon for representing AndCo and all of the speakers who made this event such an enriching experience.