07.11.2018 11.35 UTC

A number of long-term market trends are creating significant pressure on bundled recordkeepers’ revenues. The recordkeepers are responding to these revenue pressures through a variety of ways that impose additional costs on plans and participants.

Fee Compression: Fiduciaries Take Note

Fee Compression: Fiduciaries Take Note

Retirement plan recordkeepers are seeing ongoing pressure on fees. Their approach to developing alternative revenue sources could have implications for plan fiduciaries.

Revenue for “bundled” recordkeepers have been facing downward pressure for years--both on recordkeeping fees and asset management fees. Over the past decade recordkeeping fees have dropped 50 percent and investment fees paid by 401(k) plans have dropped by 38 percent over a similar period. These bundled recordkeepers are looking to fund managers, plans, and individual participants to compensate for this decline. The recordkeepers’ search for new revenue sources can create challenges for plan fiduciaries and sponsors and should be monitored closely.

07.03.2018 06.43 UTC

ERISA requires that plan fiduciaries must evaluate the “reasonableness” of provider contracts. This goes beyond provider revenue generated directly from plan services and includes all revenue generated in connection with the plan. Fiduciaries should take note.

Selecting and Retaining Service Providers: Time to Dig Deeper?

Selecting and Retaining Service Providers: Time to Dig Deeper?

Plan fiduciaries need to respond to changing industry practices. The next challenge in protecting plans may be fees for non-plan related financial products.

There is ongoing pressure on plan providers to continue to lower fees. And, it is reasonable to expect providers to seek alternative sources of revenue that may not be part of plans’ direct costs. In monitoring providers, fiduciaries should take note of rules under ERISA that require fiduciaries to obtain information from providers about both direct and indirect compensation that will be received by providers “in connection with” the plan services. This requirement goes beyond simply negotiating plan fees and beyond the general “prudence” requirements.

12.01.2018 02.58 UTC

Plan participants and representatives servicing your retirement plan may be “trapped” by hidden incentive programs.

Unchecked Revenue: Show Me the Fees

Unchecked Revenue: Show Me the Fees

Recordkeepers can engage in practices to mask the total revenue they obtain from plan participants. Plan sponsors need to be smarter and more aggressive in eliminating these practices.

As recordkeeping fees continue to decline, recordkeepers are becoming more resourceful. As a result, representatives servicing your retirement plan may be paid based on their ability to sell financial products to your employees. Employer beware.