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Vanguard to Offer Bundled 401(k) Plans to Small Businesses

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Vanguard announced Wednesday that it would offer a bundled 401(k) plan service for small companies, combining its investment and indexing services with the small-plans recordkeeping of retirement plan administrator Ascensus.

The service is designed for 401(k) and profit-sharing plans with assets below $20 million, the Valley Forge, Pa.-based investment manager said in a news release. The service is expected to launch in the fourth quarter with “all-in” plan costs—total investment and recordkeeping costs—anticipated to be among the lowest in the industry, Vanguard said.

The service will be offered directly to plan sponsors as well as to fee-only advisors who serve sponsors and may be interested in a bundled approach.

“Vanguard believes that small businesses should be able to offer high-quality, cost-effective retirement plans to help their employees save efficiently,” said Kathy Fuertes, head of Vanguard’s Retirement Plan Services for small business, in a statement. “By working with Ascensus, we have developed a streamlined way for these companies and their plan participants to easily access Vanguard’s low-cost funds.”

The turnkey service will include funds, recordkeeping, call center services, compliance testing, participant education and optional services such as participant advice, self-directed brokerage and trustee services.

Vanguard manages more than $1.6 trillion in U.S. mutual fund assets, including over $160 billion in exchange traded fund assets. Vanguard offers more than 170 index and actively managed funds to U.S. investors and over 60 additional funds in non-U.S. markets.

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