Only defined contribution plan sponsors at large companies with 1,000 employees or more tend to be knowledgeable and aggressive about selecting and monitoring their employees' retirement plans, according to a consultant to plan sponsors.

However, 401(k) plan participants are beginning to ask their sponsors to hold their defined contribution providers up to higher standards, said the consultant, Trisha Brambley, president of Resources for Retirement Plans, of Newtown, Pa. Because of the increasing demands of participants, plan sponsors' sophistication about their 401(k), 403(b) or other defined contribution plans will rise, Brambley said. Fund companies that want to expand their 401(k) business will have to become mindful of this increasing sophistication at the sponsor and participant levels, Brambley said.

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