J.P. Morgan Asset Management is offering a simplified approach to investment selection in defined contribution plans in hopes that participants will make better choices.

Known as Core Menu Innovation, the approach boils down the numerous selections that participants usually are faced with to three key categories.

Instead of being presented with 18 or more mutual fund selections, which is the average for defined contribution plans, J.P. Morgan has organized their selections into three professionally managed options: diversified stock strategies, diversified bond strategies and cash alternatives.

Within these three core groups are a range of investment options to compliment the target date funds that may be part of the 401(k) plans, according to the company.

The new approach is designed to make it easier for participants to make selections. J.P. Morgan notes that its research shows that when participants are faced with numerous options, they usually make no decision at all.

"J.P. Morgan research shows that participants who choose to invest on their own rather than participate in some form of professionally managed solution are, on average, falling short of their retirement savings goals. We have to help them close that gap," said Michael Falcon, head of retirement for J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Falcon adds that plan sponsors are searching for ways to increase participant engagement and consolidate their investment choices.

The consolidation is also designed to help plan sponsors meet their fiduciary responsibilities by presenting the best plans to their participants, according to J.P. Morgan.