New PEP Options Tout Distinctions

Ekstra calls itself ‘The Participant First 401(k) MEP,’ and Sallus Retirement says it is one of the first fully independent and bespoke solutions.

The newly launched Ekstra 401(k) multiple employer plan (MEP) touts itself as “The Participant First 401(k) MEP.”

The MEP is what is now called a pooled employer plan (PEP) per the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which doesn’t require plan sponsors to have a common nexus in order to participate.

Ekstra says it is a full-fiduciary solution—402(a), 3(16) and 3(38)—built on Nationwide’s investment platform with a significantly lower total expense than the typical 401(k) plan. The Ekstra 401(k) MEP is structured to help small and medium-sized plans achieve the same economies of scale as larger plans. Ekstra says those efficiencies mean more money stays in the participant’s accounts, which will improve participant retirement outcomes.

Ekstra is marketing the MEP to existing plan sponsors as well as new ones.

“We review and document the expenses, as well as plan design and operations, to validate the decision that to move the plan is, in fact, in the best interest of the plan participants as part of our transition process. We do so especially given that we will be assuming the fiduciary responsibilities going forward for the plan,” says Michael Dayton, president of The Dayton Company, a registered investment adviser (RIA) firm focused on servicing the 401(k) market.

Promotional materials say there is no plan-designated participant investment adviser. “Each participant has the option to work with the investment adviser they prefer. This allows participants to work with an adviser who is familiar with their unique and personal investment goals. Independent adviser fees may be paid from the participant’s plan assets upon request,” the materials say.

Providers for the plan include:

  • Fiduciary Wise, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) 402(a) named fiduciary and 3(16) plan administrator.
  • Nationwide Financial, plan recordkeeper;
  • InWest Retirement Solutions, provider of third-party administration (TPA) services;
  • The Dayton Company, RIA;
  • Counsel Trust, trustee for the plan;
  • Planalytiq Inc., 401(k) analytics firm co-founded by Dayton and Michael Welch, product designer and software developer, that will measure and document the transition from a plan sponsor’s current plan and service providers to ensure that the decision to move to Ekstra is in the best interest of plan participants; and
  • IFAM Capital, independent ERISA 3(38) investment manager.

More information is at

Separately, venture capital firm Magis Capital Partners announced the launch of Sallus Retirement LLC, an independent professional fiduciary and retirement pooled plan provider (PPP).

Sallus says its solution was designed specifically for the 5 million small businesses that either cannot afford a retirement plan or whose owners that fear the risk of becoming a retirement plan fiduciary subject to oversight by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the IRS.

Sallus offers a fully digital, easy-to-understand, bundled PEP designed as a single solution for advisers and their small business clients who are looking for a low-cost, worry-free, outcome-oriented plan that encourages plan adoption and ongoing participation, and includes a professionally designed and managed investment menu.

Sallus Retirement says it is one of the first fully independent and bespoke PPP solutions. Working in collaboration with wealth advisory organizations, Sallus provides independent oversight and fiduciary protection—effectively allowing business owners, financial institutions and wealth advisers to remain conflict-free and focused on their core business services.

Lisa Kottler will serve as chief growth officer and will lead the Sallus Retirement sales and distribution effort. Kottler was formerly head of NFP Retirement.

Sallus Retirement will be available in July. Learn more at