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401(k) Participants Want Fee Disclosure: Transamerica

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Research by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies finds 54% of workers want some form of summary information about fees charged by their 401(k) plans.

Of 401(k) plan participants surveyed, 32% of workers preferred the information to include a break-down of fees for services and investments, while 22% prefer a high-level summary with a total, all-inclusive cost. Only 31% prefer a highly detailed account of fees and expenses.

And 75% said they would prefer to receive fee information through an electronic format such as electronic quarterly account statements or through their plan provider’s Web site, according to the study, backed by Transamerica Retirement Services, Los Angeles, part of AEGON N.V., the Netherlands.

When asked what level of detail they would like to receive information about fees, workers surveyed stated either a preference for some form of summary information (54%) or no preference (14%) for the level of fee detail they receive.

While 73% of employers believe that their employees have a clear understanding of 401(k) fees, Transamerica’s worker survey found only 29% of them said they were aware of fees.

An ideal solution for disclosing 401(k) fee-related information would be through electronic summaries combined with making additional detail available on the plan provider’s Web site, said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.