* INVESTORS WANT MORE IN DC PLANS: Investors today want more options and advice in their defined-contribution plans, according to a survey of plan sponsors.The number of investment choices in defined-contribution plans now averages 16, down from 20 in 2001. That compares with an average of 11 investment choices in 1998, according to a triennial survey of plan sponsors by institutional investment consulting firm Callan Associates. The survey polled 95 plan sponsors with more than $100 billion in total assets and 1.1 million participants.

Asset allocation or lifecycle funds remained an important plan offering, with 74 percent of respondents including them in their menu of choices. One-third of the survey respondents are currently offering advisory services to participants, with another third indicating that adding an advice component is a priority for 2005. Of the respondents currently providing advice, about 60 percent rely on an independent Web-based provider, while only 21 percent use their record-keeper's proprietary model for these services. In 2001, of the defined-contribution plan providers then offering advice, 43 percent used their record-keeper. However, Callan noted that only 36 percent of plan sponsors have procedures in place to monitor outside, third-party advice providers on an ongoing basis.

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