A Powerful, More Effective 401(k) Platform.
We have created a better way for employees to save and invest for retirement. It’s a different kind of 401(k) platform, built out of our own need to have an excellent 401(k) offering for our own employees, and from the perspective of the best interests of participants. The platform is designed to achieve two main things:
- Help participants achieve greater success in retirement savings and investment outcomes
- Greatly reduce or eliminate the plan sponsor’s fiduciary liability.
We offer highly rated, carefully selected, competitively priced mutual funds. We construct and manage appropriately allocated, globally diversified asset allocation portfolios along with a full suite of target date funds. We provide effective education and guidance to participants. We support sponsors in answering participant questions and meeting their other fiduciary duties. We ensure that costs are reasonable, competitive, and transparent.
Because we serve as Section 3(38) fiduciary advisors, we assume full discretion (and responsibility) for selecting, monitoring, and replacing the plan’s investment options. We thus indemnify the plan sponsors from fiduciary liability for the plan’s investments.
Fiduciary Investment Management
We offer participants a line-up of highly-rated, reasonably-priced mutual funds across all major asset categories, including both actively and passively managed funds and low-cost target date funds, so that participants have access to top managers in each asset class.
As fiduciary advisors, we select all investments based solely on the best interests of the participants. We are transparent about all costs to both sponsors and participants, and ensure that mutual fund expenses are competitive and deliver good value for the money.
Our due diligence process incorporates a quantitative analysis of managers, portfolio structure, fund expenses, and risk-adjusted performance. Our qualitative analysis includes phone calls, as well as in-office meetings and conferences to understand the fund’s management, processes, and culture. There are no commissions or incentives to create conflicts of interest. Our only interest is offering participants a comprehensive selection of the best funds available in the market for each asset category.
Constructing a well-diversified, appropriately allocated portfolio can be a daunting task for most participants. That is why we offer a range of professionally-managed, diversified balanced portfolios from which participants can choose. There are three types of diversified portfolios: Asset Allocation Model Portfolios which are made up of funds in the underlying fund line-up; Vanguard Target Date funds; and several risk-based balanced funds.
We make sure participants understand their 401(k) plan, the importance of saving for retirement, and the investment choices available to them. Our goal is to empower each participant to make informed, effective decisions for their retirement assets. We provide onsite sessions to help educate employees. This includes an introduction to the basics of investing, a clear explanation of the choices they have to make, guidance on choosing an appropriate investment strategy, and an educational booklet. We also make ourselves available after the session to answer questions one-on-one with any employees who so desire.
We meet regularly with participants on an ongoing basis, both in person and via webinars, to deepen their understanding about investing, saving, and maintaining a long-term perspective, as well as to help them choose and stick with an appropriate investment strategy. Our quarterly reports are concise and thorough, and keep sponsors and participants up-to-date. In addition, participants and sponsors have 24/7 access to their accounts through the record keeper’s website, as well as quarterly statements.
Three separate service providers are generally required to service a typical 401(k) plan: an investment advisor; a record keeper/administrator, and a custodian. We serve as the plan’s investment advisor. Our preferred custodian is Charles Schwab (CSTC) and our recommended record keepers and third-party administrators are The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC) and Sentinel Benefits.
Because we work on an open architecture platform with no proprietary fund restrictions, we have access to over 10,000 mutual funds. We are usually able to lower the cost of mutual funds in the plan, and pass on the savings to sponsors and participants. We, along with the other service providers on our platform, do not receive any revenue sharing or wrap fees from any of the mutual funds. All fees are transparent. Each provider does what it is best at doing, and each is compensated and measured separately. We can generally lower total plan costs while at the same time offering our participants and sponsors enhanced services and better investment options.
Section 3(38) Management
Section 3(38) is an ERISA provision. It allows 401(k) sponsors to delegate the responsibility for managing the plan’s investment options to a fiduciary advisor. As a 3(38) fiduciary advisor, we assume full discretion for selecting, monitoring and replacing the plan’s investments for the benefit of the participants. Only a fiduciary investment advisor who actively assumes ERISA-defined “discretion” for selecting the plan’s investments can relieve the sponsor of this responsibility. Since we make and stand behind the plan’s investment decisions, we also indemnify the sponsor from fiduciary liability for investment decisions. This significantly reduces or eliminates altogether the sponsor’s risk for fiduciary liability related to the plan’s investment options.
Being a Section 3(38) advisor makes us participant-focused. Our goal is to offer the best investment options and to make it easy for participants to have a well-diversified portfolio that is allocated among asset classes appropriate for the participant’s time horizon, objectives, and risk tolerance. Our ongoing education and guidance keeps participants informed and engaged, and gives them the tools and knowledge they need to make good decisions for themselves.
Trust & Estate