All change please
Since the late 1990s, out-sourcing to a TPA has become more and more popular. In recent years, TPAs have invested huge amounts to develop their service. Mergers and acquisitions in the TPA market have made tracking the best service somewhat challenging. In some cases, the amalgamated business operates multiple smaller operations, effectively adopting them. In other cases, the incoming TPA is integrated to a single infrastructure, leaving the legacy TPA model as a distant memory.
If your TPA changes around you, the contractual protections built in at outset could be very important. These should help trustees and sponsors to maintain control over their own destiny.
Best fit needs measuring
Identifying the best administrator is not an easy task. The range of offerings is still wide and a great deal of marketing material paints over a canvas which is, in reality, very difficult to see without close scrutiny. Clearly it is better to find out what service you are likely to get before you appoint a provider, especially for the medium to long term.
Working out how to incentivise your TPA and measuring their performance is something to consider seriously from outset. The cultures of each TPA vary considerably so it is best to choose wisely based on full disclosure.
You can see a list of TPAs here.