Have You Conducted a Fee Equalization/Levelization?
Fees in defined contribution (DC) plans can be complicated. Historically, fees have not been fully and simply disclosed. The good news is that the industry is changing towards greater and more understandable disclosure.
Simply put, there are two basic types of fees: administrative and investment-related. The investment-related fees are deducted from earnings on participant accounts and will vary from one investment to the next. These fees are paid to the firms that are making decisions about how the various funds are invested in the market. Participants will pay different investment-related fees, as the fees are based on where the participant chooses to invest their assets.
Administrative fees are also deducted from participant accounts. If the plan has not implemented a fee equalization (also known as fee levelization), administrative fees will also vary from one investment to the next. Administrative fees are designed to pay for administrative-related activities associated with recordkeeping participant accounts. Such activities can include marketing, statements, education, processing contributions and withdrawals, issuing required tax forms, and meetings with local representatives.
Fee equalization addresses the equity of the administrative fees being charged to participants. Unlike the duties associated with investment management, duties associated with administering participant accounts do not change depending on where a participant has directed his or her investments. Arguments can easily be made that administrative fees should be the same for all participants because they have the same recordkeeping requirements. In our experience, regardless of investment selection, account value, and contribution level – the administrative duties are equal for all participants, so the administrative fees should also be equal.
We believe that every plan sponsor should consider a fee equalization structure in their plans, so participants share equally in the cost of administering this important benefit. Plan sponsors should be reviewing fees at least annually and evaluating the treatment of those fees to ensure they are be
How Stonebridge Can Help
It can be a bit overwhelming to administer a company retirement plan, given all the documentation nuances let alone the deadlines! At Stonebridge Financial Group, we work exclusively with retirement plans and can help you with everything from designing to running your plan. Delegating fiduciary responsibilities can be a great solution for plan sponsors who lack time and the knowledge of ever-changing requirements to manage a retirement plan -- it's is all we've done since our inception back in 2004! Our robust service offering starts with ERISA 3(21) and 3(38) services and is the tip of the iceberg. We are consultants that help you with every aspect of your plan:
- Implementing cybersecurity best practices
- Plan design including student debt benefits
- Complete IRS and CPA audit support - we have ex-auditors on staff!
- Participant 1:1 and group education
- Fee benchmarking
- Ensuring participant retirement readiness
- Consulting on financial wellness
- Committee fiduciary training
- Process creation and documentation
- Plan design
- Contribution match modeling
- Annual plan compliance review
We become your outsourced retirement plan officer who dives into the morass of retirement plan details and resolves issues so you don't have to!
Please click here to schedule a short call, give us a call at (855) 530-0500 x601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping your committee successfully fulfill their fiduciary duties with ease and excellence!