Defined Contribution Services

Summit’s Defined Contribution (DC) group provides a wide range of DC-specific services to 401(k), 401(a), 403(b), and 457 plans of all sizes within the public, higher education, healthcare, corporate, and not-for-profit markets. Services include: governance, plan review, fund searches, third-party service evaluations, ongoing monitoring, and comprehensive reporting.

When working with our clients, Summit's DC group focuses on these key actions:

Acting in a Fiduciary Capacity

Summit embraces its role as a plan fiduciary (in all aspects of the services provided) to defined contribution plan sponsor clients. This includes recordkeeper and investment manager selection, monitoring, and recommendations to replace investments, when necessary. As a plan fiduciary and participant advocate, we actively negotiate the lowest possible fees for recordkeeping and investment management services.

Fee Evaluation

Summit works with each plan sponsor to identify and benchmark plan fees. In some cases, Summit may be able to negotiate significantly lower recordkeeping charges and/or investment management fees through the use of institutional, share classes created for Summit clients and specialized investment vehicles, such as commingled trusts and separate accounts.

Simplified Investment Menu

Summit helps clients determine the optimal number, and type of investment options, based on the level of participation and financial knowledge of the plan participants. While there is no perfect one-size-fits-all menu for every plan, each plan requires a custom approach which assists plan participants to achieve their retirement goals.

Leveraging Participant Inertia

Summit can help plan sponsors leverage plan participation inertia for the benefit of the plan participant. Recent observations on the use of auto enrollment and the default fund selection illustrate the tremendous inertia it takes plan participants to proactively manage their retirement assets. While this inertia can be problematic, plan sponsors can leverage it to their advantage.


The same inertia that prevents participants from auto-enrolling and making suitable investment allocations also keeps participants in the plan after auto-enrollment and in the well-diversified default option. Over the long term, these participants are better positioned to achieve savings goals for a secure retirement.


For more information about our Defined Contribution services, please click here.