New Firm Provides Fee Benchmarking and Adviser Searches

Ted Benna, an industry veteran since the start of 401(k) plans, says the new DOL fiduciary rule will make it even more important for retirement plan sponsors to benchmark fees.

A new firm, 401kBenna, LLC, will provide unbiased retirement plan adviser and total fee benchmarking for retirement plan sponsors, as well as help with conducting adviser searches, with the help of Retirement Playbook.

While plan sponsors have always been required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to make sure plan fees, including those paid to plan advisers are reasonable, Ted Benna, CEO of 401kBenna tells PLANSPONSOR the upcoming fiduciary rule from the Department of Labor (DOL) is a game changer. “These regulations will make financial advisers who provide services to 401(k)s fiduciaries for the first time,”Benna said in a statement. “Among other things, these regulations will prevent advisers from receiving compensation from the mutual funds and service providers they recommend to employers.”

Benna adds, “Every plan sponsor should obtain an independent, unbiased confirmation that the adviser fees for its plan are competitive. If they aren’t, the plan sponsor should negotiate lower fees and /or seek a new financial adviser with or without professional assistance.”

For this reason, 401kBenna provides the following services:

  • Determine whether current adviser’s fees are reasonable ($5,000 fee);
  • Determine whether all plan fees are reasonable (fees range from $5,000 to $10,000); and
  • Provide resources to help plan sponsors conduct an adviser search (fees range from $10,000 to $20,000).

Benna tells PLANSPONSOR the Benna team will do the fee analysis for both the adviser’s role and for other service providers. Adviser searches will be contracted out to Retirement Playbook. He says Trisha Brambley, president of Retirement Playbook, Inc. and a former member of the DOL’s ERISA Advisory Council, is a trusted long-time associate with five-plus years of experience doing adviser searches “and is very good at it.”

More information is available at