DC investments

Defined contribution investment solutions designed to improve participant outcomes.

golden egg

A well-designed defined contribution (DC) plan will typically offer a combination of default investments for participants who wish to leave the management and monitoring of their portfolios to a professional along with other core investment options for those participants who prefer to be more personally involved.

In their role as a qualified default investment option (QDIA), target date funds have become the centerpiece of many DC plans. In addition to our LifePoints® Institutional Target Date Strategy Funds, we offer several default investment options to meet the unique needs of your plan, including custom Target Date Funds and the Personalized Retirement Account (PRA) managed account solution. We also offer a large selection of individual, institutionally priced multi-asset funds in both traditional asset classes and real asset solutions for an efficient core investment menu.

Recognizing the characteristics of your employee investors

We believe retirement plan participants often fall into three tiers, each of which has a corresponding investment solution that may satisfy their needs and help make their investment decisions easier and more relevant.

TIER 1 "Do it for me"

Typically 60%-80% of total participants

Participants who would like a professional to design, construct, and manage their investment portfolios and asset allocations. For these participants, target date or asset allocation funds offer the right characteristics. The Personalized Retirement Accounts or LifePoints Institutional Target Date Strategy Funds qualify as QDIA investments (see below) and can be a good fit for these "Do it for me" investors.

TIER 2 "Do it with me"

Typically 20%-30% of total participants

Participants who like to design, construct, and manage their own portfolios, but want someone to provide them with well-built investment options they can use. For these participants, a well-designed core menu is key. We offer a range of multi-asset funds that can be used to create an efficient core menu.

TIER 3 "Do it myself"

Typically 2%-10% of total participants

Participants who want full flexibility to design, manage and construct their own portfolios. For these participants, a brokerage window (self-directed brokerage account) provides access to the range of investments they want.

When selecting investment options, plan sponsors should consider the characteristics of their employee base. All participant needs are not created equal. While many plan participants could be well-served by having access to professionally managed, asset allocated portfolios, others may prefer to be involved at some level in building and maintaining their own portfolios.

Know your qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) choices

Managed account

A product that allocates a plan participant's contributions among existing plan options to provide an asset mix that takes into account the individual's age or retirement date.

Balanced fund

A product with a mix of investments that takes into account the characteristics of the group of employees as a whole, rather than those of each individual participant.

A capital preservation product

Allowed only for the first 120 days of participation for sponsors wishing to simplify administration if workers opt out of participation before incurring an additional tax.*

*Source: "Regulation Relating to Qualified Default Investing Alternatives in Participant-Directed Individual Account Plans," a DOL fact sheet available at:

Target Date Fund

A product with a mix of investments that takes into account the individual's age or retirement date.

What is a hybrid QDIA?

A hybrid QDIA combines an asset allocation QDIA solution, such as a target date fund or balanced fund, with the features of a managed account such as Personalized Retirement Accounts (see below).

Participants can be defaulted into different types of QDIAs depending upon their age and financial circumstances. Participants who are defaulted into a target date/balanced fund have the opportunity to transition into a managed account when their financial situations become increasingly complex.

Retirement plan solutions

Personalized Retirement Accounts

We offer a customized approach to investing, Personalized Retirement Accounts (PRA). This is an innovative managed account solution designed to increase the likelihood participants will reach their retirement income goals.

Personalized Retirement Accounts develop a path of custom, optimized asset allocations that can change quarterly based on each participant's unique factors. Plan sponsors can benefit because this enhances their plans' default option, while participants receive the benefit of tailored, widely-diversified asset allocations built from the existing plan menu options that take into consideration their unique financial situations and personal market experiences.

Learn more about PRA

Individual Funds

Every plan will be different, but we have found that participants appreciate a well-constructed core menu that represents a diversity of risk and potential return choices, while keeping the investment options easy to understand. We also offer a large selection of diversified, multi-asset class funds in both traditional asset classes and real asset solutions for an efficient core investment menu.

See more info on individual funds

Institutional Target Date Strategy Funds¹

Help your participants reach their retirement income replacement goals by offering multi-manager target date funds diversified across a broad range of underlying equity, real asset and fixed income funds. Our target date funds combine cost-effective active and passive strategies with a glide path designed to help manage participants' risk.

¹These are collective trust funds which are bank-maintained collective investment funds managed by Russell Investments Trust Company, a Washington state non-depository trust company, and are not registered mutual funds. The funds are only available to certain qualified employee benefit plans and government plans and are not offered to the general public.

Custom Target Date Funds

For larger DC plans, custom target date funds let you maintain control over underlying investment manager selection and construct a custom glide path designed to help meet your participants' specific income replacement needs. We have proven expertise in building and maintaining custom target date funds.

More info on Target Date Funds

Incorporating a multi-asset investment approach

Multi-asset investing is the process of incorporating exposures to a globally diverse mix of asset classes and dynamically managing those exposures to capture short-term return market opportunities and to mitigate risks. While in most portfolios, tactical shifts are a separate sleeve of the portfolio, our multi-asset approach is designed to make tactical shifts throughout the portfolio that are informed by the underlying holdings of the managers and strategies. This allows the portfolio managers greater flexibility to adapt the portfolio for short-term market shifts and retain long-term return potential.

This strategic, multi-asset approach is designed to enhance returns and mitigate risks and it requires the skills of a team of full-time, dedicated, experienced investment professionals. This capability is built into every OCIO solution we offer to our clients.

Multi-asset investing is an integral part of our DC solutions.

For illustrative purposes only.

This portfolio is constructed using single asset class sleeves combined with an additional tactical sleeve bolted onto the portfolio. In this type of portfolio construction, each sleeve is managed separately, and the tactical sleeve is applied without taking into account the current position and risk budget of the managers in each individual asset class sleeve.

In this approach, the decision about what tactical shifts to make are informed by the underlying holdings of the managers and strategies, plus the risk budget of the total portfolio and the shifts taking place in the market. This approach gives our portfolio managers greater flexibility to adapt the portfolio to short-term market shifts to help retain long-term return potential.

The financial well-being of your defined contribution plan is critical to ensuring that you're able to provide high quality results to your participants. That's why it's so important to work with a provider who has experience holistically managing distinct asset pools and aligning them with the financial outcomes desired by your organization.

We'd love to put our team to work helping you achieve your goals.


Your goal as a DC plan sponsor is to help improve the financial security for your participants. That's our mission, too. We're dedicated to helping you employ the best practices in plan design, investments, and implementation.

Explore institutional funds and strategies

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Institutional research

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Handbook, articles and more

Russell Investments defined contribution overview

Defined contribution retirement handbook: Third edition 

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