Plan Sponsors Focus on Fee Disclosure Rules

Mesirow reports employee inertia persists as sponsors increase automatic enrollment

Retirement plan sponsors face a slew of challenges in 2013 as they try to stay competitive while dealing with the requirements of new fee disclosure rules, according Mesirow Financial’s 2013 Retirement Plan Survey released Tuesday.

Sponsors also face growing liability, with the number of claims against fiduciaries having tripled since the 1990s.

Key findings in the 2013 report:

  • 82.1% of plan sponsors surveyed said participants did not fully avail themselves of savings and retirement tools, about the same as last year
  • 54.5% said they offered automatic enrollment features, compared with 49.4% in 2012
  • 44% of respondents offered step-up deferral rate solutions, up from 32.9% last year
  • 85.3% said they used target-date funds, a jump up from 72.4% last year.

The survey found that fee disclosure would be a front-burner issue for plan sponsors this year. About 88% of respondents said they were reviewing implicit and explicit plan fees in the past six months.

However, fee disclosure appeared to hold little interest for participants. More than 80% of plan sponsors reported that employees had asked very few questions after receiving 404(a) participant fee notification.

“Plan sponsors continue to work diligently to provide the information and tools needed to help participants overcome the inertia and challenges of saving for retirement,” Chris Reagan, Mesirow Financial senior managing director and practice leader, said in a statement.

“However, in the end, each participant must take ownership of their future and the reality is that many participants need assistance through custom guidance or a more paternalistic, automated solution.”

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