For defined contribution plans to work, large U.S. retirement plan sponsors believe they should be mandatory, and include auto enrollment, savings escalation and employer contributions, according to a study released on Monday by Northern Trust.

The research study, The Path Forward: Designing the Ideal Defined Contribution Plan, surveyed 50 large U.S. defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors, which represent more than 970,000 participants and over $100 billion in plan assets, and five leading investment consultants. The interviews were conducted by Greenwich Associates in July and August 2010.

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