KnowHow Archive

Plan Sponsor Guide Participant Guide

Their Money's Worth

Helping participants figure out their retirement plan fees.

Few issues have drawn as much scrutiny as quickly as retirement plan fees. Congressional hearings have been held, legislation has been passed, the Department of Labor is studying the issue, and plan sponsors soon will be looking at a potentially whole new level of disclosure about the fees paid by these programs.
As if that were not enough, a series of high-profile suits about revenue-sharing practices have garnered both headlines and the attention of plan sponsors, advisers, and providers alike.
What remains to be seen, of course, is just how much all this attention will mean to plan participants who, in most cases, are paying the fees that so many now are focusing on with renewed vigor. Some participants no doubt believe that these programs are "free," many more have no appreciation for what these programs entail or how much they cost—and their concerns, if still somewhat nascent, seem destined to increase over time.

This month's KnowHow is designed to help participants get a better handle on the costs, as well as the benefits, of their retirement plan accounts. You can help by: identifying the class(es) of fund shares available in your plan; making fund prospectuses available (or telling participants how to obtain them); and highlighting the expense categories on their retirement plan statements (if any). As always, I look forward to your feedback. —Nevin E. Adams, JD