When it came to management of its 53,000-participant defined benefit (DB) pension plan, NCR Corp., the $5.9 billion manufacturer of automatic teller machines and retail scanners, was ahead of the curve in 2001. It was already saving money by outsourcing the plan administration–a practice not all that common at the time. It was also outsourcing its 18,000-participant 401(k) plan–but to a different provider. This bothered executives at the company: Wouldn't it be more efficient and less costly to use one vendor? And even better, wouldn't the employees be provided a more integrated view of their retirement assets? So NCR decided to go with its DC plan administrator, Fidelity Human Resources Services Co. The company has never looked back. "We're increasing our ability to deliver through their technology, their platform," says Michael Kriner, NCR's director of global benefits. "It's much more cost-effective. It's better service. It's taking advantage of technology. We could never duplicate that in a pre-outsourcing environment."


NCR is a convert to what the retirement industry has dubbed total retirement outsourcing (TRO). The idea that companies should focus on their core businesses and let others handle the peripheral chores is not new. Nor is the notion of streamlining systems to boost efficiency. But put those two ideas together, apply them to retirement benefits, and you have TRO–the practice of outsourcing both DB and defined contribution (DC) plans with the same outsourcing provider.

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