Nearly everyone agrees 401(k) plan sponsors should measure their plans against their peers using independent and credible benchmarks (see “Benchmarking: The Key to a 401(k) Plan Sponsor’s Fiduciary Compliance Review,”, January 24, 2012). Such a self-assessment, conducted periodically, can help 401(k) plan sponsor reduce the risk of personal fiduciary liability and help build a better retirement plan by identifying what the plan sponsor does well, what needs to be improved and what needs to be changed or eliminated.

But if benchmarking is such a great idea, why do so few 401(k) plan sponsors actually do it? Don’t plan sponsors use similar techniques in other areas of their organization? Isn’t self-assessment one of the hallmarks of good business practices? What’s holding back otherwise competent executives from undertaking a standard procedure on one of the most important benefits they provide employees?

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