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401k Averages Book Finds Most 401k Plan Fees Declining


BALTIMORE, MD, February 25, 2019 -- The new release of the 401k Averages Book 19th Edition shows the average total plan cost for a small retirement plan (100 participants/$5,000,000 assets) declined from 1.25% to 1.24% over the past year, while the average total plan cost for a large retirement plan (1,000 participants/$50,000,000 assets) declined from 0.95% to 0.93%.

The 401k Averages Book also shows smaller plans pay higher fees than large plans. The small plan with $5,000,000 in assets costs 1.24%, while the plan with $50,000,000 in assets is 0.93%.

"Overall fee disclosure and greater transparency has helped drive down 401k fees. But what we continue to find is large plans, with larger average account balances, pay less than smaller plans," said Joseph Valletta, author of the 401k Averages Book. "People in the industry understand this but I doubt participants of smaller companies are aware of this gap."

2019 401k Averages Book

Other Key Findings:

  • Investment fees continue to decline: All scenarios (expect one) saw a year over year decrease in total investment costs of between 0.01%-0.03%. Larger plans led the way experiencing greater decreases. These fees are typically paid by participants.
  • 401k total plan costs declined for most size plans: 19 of 24 scenarios saw a decrease in total plan costs from last year, while the other five remained unchanged.
  • The amount of revenue sharing paid by a plan is impacted by its size: Average revenue sharing, which can be used to pay for recordkeeping and advisor compensation, can be as high as 1.19% for the smallest plans and as low as 0.16% for larger plans.
  • Wide range between high and low-cost providers: The range of cost is greatest within the small plan market. The range of a plan with $1,000,000 in assets and 100 participants ($10,000 average account balance) is 0.72% to 2.81%.

About 401k Averages Book

Published since 1995, the 401k Averages Book (www.401ksource.com) is the only resource book available for non-biased, comparative 401k average cost information. It's designed to provide financial professionals with essential 401k cost information needed to determine if their 401k plan costs are above or below average. The 19th Edition of the 401k Averages Book is available for $95 and can be purchased by calling (888) 401-3089 or online at www.401ksource.com.


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