As a former ERISA attorney and senior vice president of advisor services at Manning & Napier, an investment management company, Shelby George believes that automatic plan features, such as auto-enrollment and auto-escalation, have helped get the retirement industry where it is today. But, she says, new fiduciary scrutiny, increased litigation and a potential shift in participant behaviors have made it essential that plan investment menus adapt to address the needs of all participants.

Plan sponsors must continue to offer automatic plan features and do a better job of vetting target-date funds, which are the go-to qualified default investment alternative offered in most 401(k) plans, George said during a conference call with Manning & Napier looking at the new era in retirement plan menu design. QDIAs were instituted to help apathetic plan participants save for retirement with a diversified portfolio.

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