Becoming a better buyer of plan services

The complexities of 401(k) plans when combined with lack of clear fee disclosure have fostered an environment where many plan sponsors may find they are being sold plan services rather than being a knowledgeable buyer of plan services. 408(b)2 disclosure rules will make plan related fees more transparent but the employer still needs to understand exactly what they are looking at.

According to the Departnment of Labor you must know the answers to questions like:
  • What is a fiduciary?
  • What are a fiduciary’s responsibilities?
  • What is a reasonable cost for plan services?
Without a clear understanding of the many facets of operating a plan it is quite easy to stray down a path based on incomplete information or even misinformation.

Over the past 20 years there is little that we haven’t seen in the way of 401(k) plan services and packages. While our own open architecture platform is a good fit for a certain plan demographic, the structure of our company allows us to offer products from insurance companies, mutual fund companies, even providers that might be considered our competition. Access to this variety of resources lets us be completely objective in our recommendations. When you know what everyone does and for what price you can identify the best option for a particilar situation. If you only have one product to sell automatically that is the "best" product.

Transparency and sponsor education have always been the most effective tools for us in winning new business. In the following pages we offer what we hope is an informative, succinct overview of all subjects 401(k).

Investment Selection
Fee Transparency
Plan Design
Am I a Fiduciary?
Monitoring Performance
Investment Policy

Subject Reference Information