Defined Contribution Consulting

For many employers in the higher education industry, defined contribution (DC) plans are the primary form of retirement savings offered for plan participants. The plans may have very different designs with varying contribution schedules and benefits provisions. This complexity, along with increased regulatory requirements, can present challenges to plan sponsors trying to administer their plans correctly.

Sibson has a dedicated team of experienced defined contribution professionals with extensive administrative and investment expertise, regulatory and compliance knowledge and experience in plan design, risk mitigation, vendor searches and plan assessment studies.

Sibson can help higher education institutions with their defined contribution consulting needs, tailoring each project to the plan’s specific concerns and objectives.

Plan Design

Careful planning and creativity are needed to ensure that the design of DC programs will meet the goals and needs of plan participants over the long term. Sibson offers a multi-disciplinary approach to assisting with the design of new defined contribution programs.

Likewise, we work with institutions to modify existing DC plans by:

  • Conducting plan optimization studies
  • Advising on plan changes mandated by federal laws and regulations
  • Providing information and input on industry trends
  • Proposing changes related to fiduciary and governance structures
  • Reviewing and advising on changes to the plan’s, plan document provisions and administrative processes and procedures


Sibson provides ongoing compliance consulting services for DC plans by periodically reviewing plan documents and operations for compliance with federal legislative and regulatory requirements. We provide specific advice and recommendations for plan changes required to maintain compliance, as well as assist administrators and legal counsel in developing plan amendments. 

Our compliance consulting services include advice on the following:

  • Trust requirements and fiduciary duties
  • Required minimum distributions
  • Internal Revenue Code limits on contributions, benefits and compensation
  • IRS withholding, reporting and notice requirements
  • Administering direct rollovers and transfers
  • Permitted distributions
  • IRS income and FICA tax reporting and withholding requirements
  • Federal workplace laws


Sibson helps clients address the implications of new and emerging plan requirements and develop an action plan for enhancing current processes and procedures.

Our administration services for DC consulting include the following:

  • Participant eligibility and participation rules
  • QDROs, loans and hardship distributions
  • Reviewing effectiveness of technology and systems
  • Reviewing procedure for processing statements
  • Evaluating contract and service guarantees
  • Reviewing reporting functionality
  • Evaluating transactions processing
  • Assessing capability of retirement planning tools to project balances/benefits and combine DB results with DC results
  • Evaluating implementation of new plans/participant groups

Investment Consulting

Investment solutions for DC plans are provided by Segal Marco Advisors, our SEC-registered investment consulting affiliate.

As DC plans grow in prominence and asset size, sponsors are continually evaluating their investment options and looking at ways to improve them with the ultimate goal of improving a member’s retirement offering competitive returns at the most reasonable cost possible. Continual evaluation of options is prudent and Segal Marco Advisors works with higher education institutions to ensure they are making optimal investments.

Our investment consulting services include:

  • Ongoing monitoring and performance analysis
  • Creation and ongoing review of Investment Policy Statement
  • Administration monitoring
  • Fiduciary oversight and training
  • Selection of best-in-class investment options
  • Proposing changes related to investment options
  • Benchmarking services (including fees and administrative services)
  • Vendor searches

To learn more about our comprehensive retirement expertise, including defined benefit and hybrid plans, please visit our Retirement Services page.

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