Defined contribution investment option (DCIO) providers offer various investment funds to 401(k) plans. Along with more traditional mutual fund options, DCIO providers have created investment fund innovations such as the target-date fund (TDF) that are better suited for corporate retirement plans and helping plan participants invest their 401(k) savings.

Institutional Investor surveyed the professional buyers — the plan advisers — who frequently know and work with these DCIO providers and ultimately make the recommendations that help plan sponsors determine which ones are right for their plans. A total of 453 advisers voted in the 2018 survey, nominating 47 DCIO providers.