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401(k) & Retirement Plans

Excessive Fees in 401(k) Plans

Many employees have a substantial portion of their life savings locked up in their company’s 401(k) plan or other retirement plan. Crucial to the health of retirement assets is controlling and monitoring fees and expenses charged to these investments. Excessive fees charged to retirement plans can have a devastating impact on the growth of assets and likelihood of achieving financial goals.

If you believe the fees and expenses charged to your company’s retirement plan are excessive and may prevent you from achieving financial comfort in retirement, our experienced ERISA and 401(k) attorneys may be able to help.

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Excessive Fees in 401(k) Details

Under the Employee Retirement Income Securities Act (ERISA) of 1974, employers must ensure that plan participants pay only reasonable administrative and investment expenses. This includes the fees charged for services such as recordkeeping, investment consulting, and those associated with the investment options themselves.

Fees can be charged directly to your account in the form of a fee or deduction appearing on your statement. They can also be assessed indirectly and might not appear on your statement. Instead, these fees are deducted directly from your investment returns. As a result, indirect fees are sometimes referred to as "hidden" fees.

Examples of Excessive Fees in 401(k) Plans

There are multiple ways retirement plan participants are charged fees and expenses. Fees may be considered excessive if any of the following occur:

  • Investment options are more expensive than cheaper, identical alternatives (known as share classes).
  • Investment options are more expensive than comparable alternatives in the industry.
  • Fees for administrative services are excessive in relation to the services provided, give the size of the plan.

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