Case Study: Full-Service Outsourcing

Small-Plan Partnership Drives Decade of Growth for a Leading Global Asset Manager

Long-term partner achieves success thanks to Ascensus' proprietary tech platform, leading small-market capabilities, and brand stewardship.


One of the world’s largest and most respected investment/asset management companies

More than 50 million investors1

400+ funds offered worldwide1

The global asset manager needed more than just a recordkeeper. They needed an expert partner to uphold their exacting brand standards and value.

The Challenge

Scale for profitable growth in the small-plan segment.

When one of the world's largest asset managers realized they were turning away potential small-market clients, it became clear a significant revenue opportunity was being missed. The asset manager had strong in-house technology and service capabilities to support large, customizable retirement plans. But they hadn’t defined a sustainable, profitable path to scale their retirement capabilities to support higher-volume, smaller-market plans.

As they explored outsourcing, the asset manager needed more than a recordkeeper. It was critical to find a true partner—an expert well-versed in delivering costeffective services and proven solutions for the small-market segment. And because of their stellar reputation as an industry leader, their chosen partner had to represent their brand and align culturally.

The Solution

Launch a small-market plan solution under their own brand through Ascensus.

The asset manager was confident Ascensus, with its small-market expertise, was the right partner. As an independent recordkeeping services provider, Ascensus had no financial stake in the partner’s investment options. This meant Ascensus could remain focused on providing world-class service2, expanding distribution reach, and introducing tech-enabled retirement plan capabilities to streamline workflows and enable agile enhancements.

Ascensus also understood the launch needed to reflect the partner's brand differentiators:

  • Cultural focus on clients
  • Investment philosophies
  • Security and privacy standards
  • Passion for controls and high-quality service

From the beginning, Ascensus emphasized the value of discipline and structure. Partnership oversight meetings facilitated collaboration and the inclusion of best practices to enhance product quality and profitability.

The Results

A collaborative relationship and products built to last.

The partnership has flourished for more than a decade, with the partner achieving profitable growth. Their small-plan ceiling target has expanded to include 401(k) plans with up to $50 million in assets (up from the initial cap of $20 million). Plus, the partnership has expanded to multiple plan types, including nonqualified plans and college savings programs.

Beyond providing world-class service and tailored product solutions, Ascensus has continued to evolve the partnership in other meaningful ways including:

Sales team coordination with the partner on strategic initiatives and tactical execution— leading to 10% year-over-year sales growth since the program’s inception

Ongoing joint project management, relying heavily on technology to streamline processes— such as building a dynamic digital sales proposal that uses bot automation to slash proposal generation time to less than six minutes

Data insights and analytics shared through multiple ongoing touchpoints that help the partner target opportunities and bolster retention efforts

Small-group plans now under administration3

Small-group plan assets now under management3

Plan assets being invested in partner's investment products

Overall client satisfaction Net Promoter Score® for employers2

Growth in the number of Ascensus Client Service and New Business associates supporting the partnership

Client retention rate4

Plan sponsor onboarding satisfaction5

<1 minute
Average speed to answer client and participant service calls

Ascensus has created a robust partner experience through a combination of strategic and tactical engagements spanning sales metrics, onboarding, and service. Augmenting this experience are quarterly steering committee and oversight meetings focused on overall business review, risk management, client service, product, and project enhancements.


Ascensus Key Deliverables   Partner Benefits
Proprietary, internally developed openarchitecture recordkeeping platform   Full independence from investment requirements and restrictions, plus flexibility and agility for rapid enhancements
Brand stewardship   Private-label branding, preserving reputational standing
Distribution expansion   Expanded reach through broker-dealer firms and advisors focused on smaller plans
Deep expertise   Access to experts across the enterprise—including sales, onboarding, client service, ERISA, digital experience, and data/analytics
Business oversight, steering, and governance   Proven partnership approach to meet project goals, timing, and budget
Streamlined workflows and digital-first approach   Better straight-through processing for onboarding and ongoing plan administration, helping drive down costs and boost efficiency
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1As of December 31, 2023.
2Net Promoter Score® (NPS) is a well-established metric that gauges client satisfaction by comparing the percentage of very satisfied customers (called Promoters) to the percentage of very dissatisfied customers (called Detractors). NPS ranges from -100 to +100 with 70+ considered world class. Ascensus' overall client satisfaction has a +75 NPS for employers. Source: Ascensus NPS Data. December 31, 2023.
3As of January 31, 2024.
4As of December 31, 2023.
5As of December 31, 2023.