04.03.2019 07.47 GMT+0000

In recent weeks a new fee, imposed by Fidelity on low cost mutual funds options offered on Fidelity’s recordkeeping platform, has been described in the media and in a new lawsuit against Fidelity.

Who’s Inside Your (Participants’) Wallets ?

Who’s Inside Your (Participants’) Wallets ?

Plan recordkeepers, facing challenges to their traditional revenue models, are looking for new revenue sources. These new sources pose legal challenges for the recordkeepers and practical challenges for plan fiduciaries.

In recent weeks a new fee has been described in the media and in a new lawsuit against Fidelity. The fee, identified as an “infrastructure fee,” is imposed on mutual funds that seek “shelf space” on Fidelity’s recordkeeping platform and that do not otherwise pay sufficient amounts to Fidelity in other (more traditional) fees. The infrastructure fees have triggered a lawsuit and, according to the Wall Street Journal, a DOL investigation. More importantly, these latest revelations about Fidelity’s infrastructure fee serve as a stark reminder that plan providers’ quest to identify the true amount of recordkeeper fees -- and determine if such fees are reasonable -- is an ongoing and constantly evolving challenge.

27.09.2018 04.19 GMT+0000

Retirement plan fiduciaries should review disclosures from plan providers carefully. Disclosures provided may not be true or false; rather, they may be somewhere in between.

True or False…or Somewhere in Between?

True or False…or Somewhere in Between?

Federal securities law may contain some helpful insights for retirement plan fiduciaries, as they assess disclosures supplied by service providers.

Retirement plan fiduciaries rely on plan providers (such as recordkeepers) for key pieces of information to fulfill the fiduciaries’ legal obligations -- even if those disclosures reveal some unflattering truths about a provider. In assessing representations from providers, plan fiduciaries would benefit from guidance in assessing when and how to push back. Federal securities laws may provide some help in this regard.

26.10.2017 07.33 GMT+0000

Retirement plan assets are an attractive target for financial services firms. These firms (often including providers hired by the employer) have a wide variety of ways to steer employees to high priced products and services. And, despite efforts to help employees save and invest for retirement, employees remain vulnerable. Employers need to do more if they want to protect employees – and themselves.

Employees (Still) at Risk: Distributable Events

Employees (Still) at Risk: Distributable Events

Protecting Employers by Protecting Employees’ Accounts

Employers provide lots of information to retirement plan participants about their investment choices and distribution options. Despite these efforts, there is a significant gap in efforts to protect employee savings. The gap occurs because financial services firms make a lot of money by steering employees to higher priced investment and insurance products. New Department of Labor regulations will still leave gaps – gaps that financial firms are sure to exploit. There is more that employers can do to protect plan participants – and themselves. But it will require a new approach.