When Tektronix Inc. took a look at its retirement program in late 2001, it found that its 401(k) and defined-benefit pension plans were cost-effective, and participation in the 401(k) was high. But the maker of test and measurement equipment, which had $791 million in fiscal 2003 revenues, saw other aspects of the plans that it thought could be improved. For example, the 401(k) provided only six investment choices, while plans at peer companies generally offered 11. The technology associated with the retirement plans was behind the times, too. Various service providers had different online offerings, none of them in a consistent format, and participants' questions still went through Tektronix's HR department. When legislative changes occurred, the company had to make a big effort to incorporate the new regulations into its retirement program.

Tektronix considered switching some of its providers, but it decided that the most effective approach to becoming a world-class retirement program was to bundle all the services and outsource everything to a single provider. By going the bundled route, Tektronix upgraded its retirement benefits without increasing either its costs or the fees charged to plan participants.

Once it decided on Putnam Investments, the switch took six months. The critical blackout period, during which employees are unable to access their accounts, took just 11 days, rather than the 30 days the company expected. Randahl Finnessey, assistant treasurer at Tektronix, credits the abbreviated blackout to Putnam's expertise and the Tektronix team's extensive preparations.

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