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John Hancock Retirement Plan Services Leads Industry By Changing How 401(k) Plans Are Priced

BOSTON, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock Retirement Plan Services (JH RPS) announced today that it will implement a new way of pricing its 401(k) plan services that will help plan sponsors directly address the issue of fairness in the allocation of plan expenses among participants. Driven by a set of strong core values to help ensure retirement plans are built and run for the benefit of all participants, this enhancement is squarely focused on putting participants first.

In 2013, John Hancock launched the JH Enterprise platform which employs innovative technology to allow revenue sharing to be allocated so that all participants share plan costs equitably, in an open architecture, mutual fund based retirement plan.

"The response to JH Enterprise and specifically, interest in our ability to give plans the means to ensure a fair allocation of plan expenses among participants, has been tremendous," said Peter Gordon, president, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services. "Today we are announcing JH Signature 2.0, our separate account based platform which has an extremely elegant way of addressing this same objective. We are taking this bold action because we believe that this is an important and emerging issue for plan sponsors and want to clearly demonstrate our commitment to helping them achieve this objective."

This sentiment is echoed by Fred Reish (#3 on 401k Wire's 2013 Hundred Most Influential People in Defined Contribution). "The new 408(b)(2) disclosures have focused the attention of plan sponsors, lawyers and advisers on fees. In turn, that focus has raised questions about some participants paying, through their investments, more fees than others.  Therefore, many plan sponsors are investigating ways to equitably allocate plan costs over the accounts of the participants. I think John Hancock - for both their JH Enterprise and JH Signature 2.0 platforms - has captured the momentum of this focus and is well positioned to help plan sponsors directly address this issue of fairness in the allocation of plan expenses among participants."

Effective in May 2014, JH Signature 2.0 will introduce pricing based on John Hancock's "required revenue" to pay for recordkeeping services. This plan-specific amount will be completely independent of any investment choices or flow of assets.  This model will also allow plan sponsors and participants to better understand how their fees are collected and ensure that all participants are sharing plan expenses equitably.

"We think this is a huge step forward," said Gordon. "We see this as another example of John Hancock continuing to lead the industry by putting the participant first."

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