Automation is a hot topic in defined-contribution plans, but while there has been a steady increase in the adoption of features such as automatic re-enrollment and other automatic plan features, they still haven't reached ubiquity and might never get there.

That is one conclusion that can be found in the Callan Investment Institute's "2015 Defined Contribution Trends" study, based on a survey last fall that included 144 plan sponsors at large and mega 401(k) plans, as well as some government and not-for-profit plans.

The study found that while 61.7 percent of plans now offer automatic enrollment, it's still not the norm. Auto-enrollment is primarily targeted at new hires, and those who do not implement it cite it as being a low priority, too expensive or unnecessary.

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