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Retirement Plan Analysis

 

Plan Options and Services Analysis

Important new retirement plan options and services have become available during the last few years that give participants much more of what they are looking for, and an increased probability of achieving retirement planning goals. We examine a sponsor’s plan to determine if it incorporates the most advantageous options and services currently available. We then help plan sponsors evaluate those features absent from their plan to determine which would be beneficial to their participants and then help them implement those improvements without incurring addition cost.

 

Cost Analysis

Our Cost Analysis is designed to help plan fiduciaries by adding clarity to the process of evaluating the reasonableness of 401(k) administrative and investment related costs.

In their ”Fact Sheet” the Department of Labor states the following …

“ERISA requires plan fiduciaries, when selecting and monitoring service providers and plan investments, to act prudently and solely in the interests of the plan participants and beneficiaries. Responsible plan fiduciaries also must ensure that arrangements with their service providers are “reasonable” and that only “reasonable” compensation is paid for services.”

However a situation exists where it is difficult for sponsors to determine if their plan is paying reasonable fees since there are both disclosed costs that sponsors can readily ascertain and undisclosed cost that remain hidden.

In fact, The Department of Labor notes that …

“Less visible expenses such as mutual funds’ internal transaction costs (including explicit brokerage commissions and implicit trading costs), are sometimes larger than a funds’ expense ratio”. 

Our cost analysis takes both disclosed and undisclosed cost into consideration. Then we leverage our experience of analyzing the funds available on all of the major recordkeeping platforms to help plan fiduciaries readily determine how their “total costs” compare against the “total costs” of other plans with similar demographics.

It’s only when plan sponsors understand the true cost of their plan and are able to compare those costs to plans of a similar size, can a fiduciary make a determination as to whether or not their own plan costs are reasonable.

 

Peer to Peer Plan Lineup Analysis

We help plan sponsors evaluate their plan’s lineup through peer-to-peer fund comparisons – comparing each existing fund to other available funds in the same asset class on the provider’s platform. Many times this benchmarking leads to a simple change that can result in a significant improvement to investment costs and the returns of the fund representing a given asset class.

In addition, we examine the asset class of each investment alternative in the plan lineup to determine if any asset classes are absent and to also determine if any one asset class has too many investment alternatives, as studies have shown that it is actually detrimental to participants due to the confusion it causes.