We undertake robust, whole of market research, assessing providers’ capabilities in all the main areas relevant to workplace provision and across the various types of DC pension schemes.

The strength of this research enables us to support our clients with selecting suitable DC providers and with monitoring their continued suitability.


Overview of our DC research process

The key elements of our multi-layered research process are set out in this diagram:

DC provider research committee

A senior team is responsible for questionnaire-based research, meetings and strategic discussions with providers and in agreeing our ratings of their capabilities.

Questionnaire-based research

Our questionnaire-based research looks at the key areas of retirement saving, identifying distinguishing differences between providers’ services and features.

Collaborative approach to research

Our independence of DC providers means that they willingly co-operate with our research process and actively keep us informed of developments and issues. We regularly invite providers to present to our consultant team, thereby enabling them to effectively support our clients.

Assessing providers

We input key features of providers’ propositions and our ratings of their capabilities into our GEM (Govern, Engage, Monitor) tool. This recognises our questionnaire-based research and our supplemental research on providers’ default investment strategies.

GEM allows us to identify the best-fit providers for our clients, through client-specific weightings of capability in the key research areas, experience sentiment, and analysis of how providers deliver on client-specific requirements. The interactivity of the tool also facilitates insightful discussions on the provider marketplace.

DC provider selection

Our tried and tested provider selection process utilises our research in considering the whole provider market. We will recognise your requirements and priorities, and will have the best interests of your members at heart, in providing our recommendation of suitable providers. And you can be assured that our advice is conflict free.

The selection process begins with a collaborative workshop of key parties, helping to create a reference guide for the process. This considers the membership profile, scheme design options and your requirements and priorities, including any non-negotiable ‘red lines’ and weightings for our assessment of providers’ capabilities in key areas.

GEM can help to analyse the various member cohorts to inform and shape the design, investment and engagement requirements of a new plan.

See more on our scheme design and governance services.

We summarise the key aspects of membership profile, scheme design and your requirements in a RFP and issue this with appropriately anonymised data to the provider longlist, i.e. those providers we believe, based on our provider research, to be potentially suitable.

We will analyse responses to the RFP and provide you with a summary report that gives our recommendation for the provider shortlist, i.e. those providers (normally two to four) who we believe you should consider further. The factors that we recognise include:

  • Our assessment of providers’ capabilities across key research areas, using the weightings agreed at the initial workshop;
  • Our sentiment of our wider clients and team’s experience of working with providers; and
  • Our analysis of providers’ fit with your requirements and priorities.

For the meeting to discuss and agree the provider shortlist, we will use our GEM tool to help understanding of how we reached our recommendation and for consideration of any changes, e.g. the impact of changing the weightings for the key research areas.

Thereafter, we will arrange for the shortlisted providers to present to you so that you can make your selection decision. We will facilitate arrangement of the presentations, areas to be covered and the debriefing and selection discussions. We can, if required, liaise with providers for you to visit their administrative headquarters.

Following selection, we can support you through the appointment process and implementation of your new scheme.

In conclusion, our approach to DC pension provider research and selection ensures that our clients receive tailored recommendations based on thorough assessments and strategic considerations. Our multi-layered research process, driven by a dedicated committee and supported by collaborative engagements with providers, allows us to identify the best-fit options for our clients.  

From initial workshops to provider presentations and implementation support, our comprehensive approach ensures a seamless transition to a suitable DC provider, setting the stage for long-term success. Get in contact with us today to find out more.

DC consulting services

Discover our full range of analytical services and technology for employers, trustees, providers and members of workplace pensions.

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