NU Online News Service, Dec. 26, 1:33 p.m. – Greenwald & Associates, Washington, an independent polling firm, says cost is just one of several factors scaring owners of small businesses away from offering retirement plans.

When Greenwald surveyed 730 owners of businesses with 25 to 200 employees for Nationwide Financial Services Inc., Columbus, Ohio, it found that more cited cost as a top concern than any other factor: 89% said they were worried about cost.

But 83% were worried about legal problems, and 81% were worried about administrative hassles.

The owners who listed legal problems as a top concern told Greenwald researchers they were worried about the possibility of facing lawsuits, and the difficulty of selecting and monitoring plan investments.

Greenwald says the employers surveyed may be frightened about the perils of investment management and the difficulty of managing retirement plans partly because their advisors focus on selling relatively complicated, mutual fund-based 401(k) plans.

Survey participants reported hearing little about money purchase plans, defined benefit pension plans, or other alternatives to fund-based 401(k) plans, Greenwald says.