How do record-keepers differentiate from one another in the crowded $7 trillion defined contribution market? A cynic might say they don't.

The commoditization of services, the lock-step descent of fees across industry, the increasing adoption and role of set-it-and-forget it target-date and managed investment options, all make it difficult for competitors to separate from the pack.

Agnostic analysis exists of record-keeper metrics—how many plan sponsor clients and participants they serve and in what segment of the market. Plan sponsors and advisors can also measure how a record-keeper's proprietary products fare against the seemingly infinite queue of investment options available.

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