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Are Small Businesses Paying Too Much In 401(k) Fees?

The survey also found that:

  • Small business owners want lower fees: 35 percent of small business owners said they negotiated or plan to negotiate better pricing with their current plan provider, while 34 percent gathered, or plan to gather, benchmarking data to compare their current plan with alternate plans. Sixty-five percent of small business owners compared the fees in their plan to other comparable plans on the market.
  • Employees are taking a stand. Eighty-two percent of businesses reported that at least some employees took action as a result of their 401(k) fee disclosure notice. The survey also revealed 41 percent of business owners received requests from their employees for a better understanding of their plan expenses.
  • Employers are taking action on their own. Fewer small business owners (23 percent) are likely to hire a consultant compared to last year (37 percent). Rather, companies are negotiating or planning to negotiate better pricing with their current 401(k) provider (35 percent) and gathering or planning to gather benchmarking data to compare with alternate plans (34 percent).

For employers that have their company fee disclosure document handy, they can use the online plan comparison tool at www.401kcomparison.com to benchmark their plan vs. a ShareBuilder 401k. For those that have a confusing fee disclosure document or simply don’t have ten to fifteen minutes to spare, they may upload the fee disclosure document and a ShareBuilder 401k representative will complete the comparison report for you.

Since 2005, ShareBuilder 401k has made all of its pricing readily available on its website, and the company began advocating for an industry benchmark of less than one percent for “all-in” employee-paid fees in 2007. ShareBuilder 401k is not a fund provider and takes an unbiased approach in the evaluation and selection of funds with a focus on low-expense, index based investments from leading ETF providers such as Vanguard, iShares, SPDR and PowerShares to create a powerful line-up from which participants can choose, including five model portfolios. ShareBuilder 401k also serves as the investment manager role (ERISA 3(38) fiduciary) for employers, which helps maximize employer protections and saves employers the time of regularly reviewing investment options that are made available to employees.

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