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NEPC Hires Former PGIM Principal To Lead DC Solutions

BOSTON– April 1, 2024–(BUSINESS WIRE)– NEPC, LLC, one of the industry’s largest independent investment consulting firms, overseeing $1.6 trillion in assets under management and advisement, announced that Mikaylee O’Connor will join the firm as Principal, Head of Defined Contribution (DC) Solutions, effective April 1st, 2024. O’Connor will be responsible for leading the way NEPC’s DC practice delivers innovative and creative solutions to clients. As the retirement space continues to evolve, O’Connor, in addition to serving clients, will oversee NEPC’s DC plan trends research and data analytics, guiding strategic initiatives related to target date funds, managed accounts, retirement income solutions, and other investments that are vital to the retirement outcomes of participants. She will report directly to Bill Ryan, Partner, Defined Contribution Team Leader.

“As a team, we are focused on helping our clients navigate and leading the discussion around issues relating to retirement income,” said Bill Ryan, NEPC’s Partner, Defined Contribution Team Leader. “Mikaylee’s extensive experience and deep expertise working with a diverse client set will position NEPC to continue identifying innovative solutions that help alleviate those concerns.”

Before joining NEPC, O’Connor was a Principal, Senior Defined Contribution Strategist within PGIM DC Solutions. She provided thought leadership to clients and supported the development of forward-thinking solutions designed to improve participant outcomes. Prior to that, O’Connor spearheaded RVK’s DC practice as their Head of DC Solutions overseeing strategic direction and growth of the practice. Her unique perspective will continue elevating NEPC’s DC Solutions platform as an industry-leading consultant and trusted partner.

As a thought leader in the DC space, Mikaylee sits on the DCIIA Operating and Executive Committees and has been influential across many other industry groups, such as NAGDCA, where she is on their Legislative Committee.

“Joining NEPC’s esteemed and innovative team marks an exciting phase in my career,” said O’Connor. “We are currently undergoing a unique transition in the retirement space. I am eager to contribute to the firm’s trajectory and partner with our DC team and clients to lead the creation and delivery of world-class DC solutions.”



NEPC is an independent investment consultant, private wealth advisor, and OCIO provider serving over 400 retainer clients and $1.6 trillion in total assets. Combining a proprietary investment team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net-worth families. To learn more about NEPC, visit


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NEPC Survey Shows Defined Contribution Plans Challenged by Booming Retirement Income Market, TDF Scrutiny

BOSTON–MARCH 7, 2023–(BUSINESS WIRE) — NEPC, LLC, one of the country’s largest research-driven investment consultants and OCIO providers, today published the 17th annual edition of its Defined Contribution (DC) Plan Trends and Fee Survey, which examines current plan investment trends, features, and innovations across major sectors, and how these plans have evolved over the years. Respondents to the 2022 survey included 119 clients representing $283 billion in aggregate assets and 2.2 million plan participants.

This year’s data showcases that retirement income solutions are more prevalent than what is typically discussed, with 84% of respondents currently offering their participants a retirement income solution – most often in the form of a Target Date Fund (TDF) that includes the flexibility to take installment withdrawals as a source of income in retirement. However, the survey also points to two major challenges for plan sponsors:

  • There is still no consistency or real industry consensus on how to create meaningful retirement income solutions in pooled employer plans.
  • A concurrent poll of NEPC consultants shows that retirement income solution selection is a pain point for many defined contribution clients. As the dedicated retirement income solution market has boomed over the past several years, many plan sponsors have struggled to evaluate their options strategically.

“As participants continue to demand retirement income solutions, plan sponsors are seeking trusted stewards to help them simplify what’s become a pretty complex evaluation and selection process,” said Alison Lonstein, Principal and Senior Consultant on NEPC’s Defined Contribution (DC) team. “This trend mirrors what we’ve seen in other segments of the retirement space – especially the increasingly complex ESG and legal environments. We’ve seen a significant uptick in clients asking for fiduciary training on the ESG landscape and requests for more insight and intel around legal news.”

NEPC’s 2022 survey also shows the continued dominance of TDFs in investment menus. Currently, 96% of respondents offer TDFs (unchanged from 2020) with 46% of total plan assets invested in TDFs (compared to 42% in 2020). While TDFs remain a popular option, plan sponsors are increasingly seeking guidance from investment consultants to help them better navigate rising scrutiny around these funds.

“Off-the-shelf and custom TDFs can have wide-ranging risk allocations, expenses, and best practices for management and reporting – something recent regulation and court cases are looking to address,” added Bill Ryan, Partner and Head of Defined Contribution (DC) Solutions. “As we’re likely to see continued focus on America’s retirement crisis in the years ahead, plan sponsors should be having hard conversations today about their fiduciary decision making and monitoring process for TDFs on their menu.”

Other key trends highlighted in NEPC’s new survey:

  • Increased adoption of passive tier options: 2022’s data shows 83% of plans currently offer a passive tier (three or more index funds), an increase from just 66% in 2020.
  • The growth of the DC plan OCIO market: As plan sponsors’ workforces and governance structures change, they are increasingly looking for OCIO solutions to streamline their plans. Throughout 2021, NEPC saw a 94% increase in OCIO assets (largely driven by a 17% increase in OCIO clients). Overall, 10% of NEPC’s DC clients are using the firm’s OCIO solution.

NEPC’s Defined Contribution (DC) Practice team will discuss the survey’s findings during a webinar on Thursday, March 8, 2023. Those interested in hearing how DC consultants are advising plans to address emerging opportunities can register for the webinar here.

The 17th Annual Defined Contribution (DC) Plan Trends and Fee Survey results can be downloaded here.



NEPC, LLC, is one of the country’s leading investment consultants and OCIO providers, servicing over 400 retainer clients with $1.4 trillion in assets1 with $301.2 billion in alternative assets2. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for institutional investors and ultra-high-net worth individuals. To learn more about NEPC, visit


1 As of 10/1/2022

2 As of 12/31/2021, NEPC provides some form of advice to all clients counted but does not advise all clients on all asset classes.


Media Contact:

Laura Nascimento

[email protected]

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