New Survey Reveals How 401k Plan Sponsors Rank 8 Hot Topics

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Most small to mid sized employers are ill prepared to deal with the complexities of their company sponsored retirement plan. This lack of attention reduces their competitiveness for talented employees. If these employers lack the expertise and/or resources they should seek outside help.

(Weighted Rank: 3.99) Improving understanding of (and potentially reducing) plan expenses.Again, this topic is similar to the topic ranked immediately below it (#4 above). Here’s the unexplained irony of this survey (and what may reveal the very real likelihood for sticker shock once 408(b)(2) kicks in): 84% of those surveyed feel their fees are competitive yet fully 76% admit to being in a bundled relationship. Bundled relationships often feature higher fees.#2 (Weighted Rank: 4.08) Reducing plan risk and potential fiduciary responsibility. One might read into this topic “reducing potential fiduciary liability.” Many might feel this topic ranking a clear #2 might be surprising, especially since the plan sponsor cohort has been mysteriously silent on the whole issue of the DOL’s proposed new definition of fiduciary. That this topic ranks so high could be a signal they’re listening. The question is: Does the DOL recognize plan sponsors are listening?

#1) (Weighted Rank: 4.33) Providing the right investment to help participants achieve retirement goals. This topic is related to the #6 ranked topic (retirement readiness of active participants). Given the nature and purpose of retirement plans, this should always rank as the top priority for plan sponsors and fiduciaries. That it has received so little treatment from the 401k media of late might be what is really surprising. There’s been a large body of research, particularly in the area of behavioral finance, addressed this issue on point (see “3 Ways 401k Plan Sponsors Can Help Employees Make Better Investment Decisions,” “3 More Ways 401k Plan Sponsors Can Help Employees Make Better Investment Decisions” and “Avoiding Decision Paralysis: How to Create the Ideal 401k Plan Option Menu.”

Plan sponsors and their employees will benefit from a thorough analysis of their qualified retirement plan. Addressing the concerns above will make your competitive in the market for talented employees. No business is too small to benefit.

Please comment or call to discuss how this will benefit you and your company.

  • 401k Sponsors Increasing Focus on Investments (
  • A Closer Look at Fiduciary Status Under ERISA (
  • Retirement Plan Sponsors’ 401(k) Perceptions vs. Reality (
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