Five Things You Should Know
Offering a competitive benefits package, including a top-notch 401(k) plan, is essential for your company to recruit and retain top talent. Today’s workers highly value employer-sponsored retirement plans: 88 percent of them say that an employee-funded retirement plan is important to them . In addition, eight out of ten new hire candidates consider retirement savings programs offered by prospective employers a major factor in their job search decisions .
As a result, you should evaluate your 401(k) plan regularly — at least once a year— to ensure that it continues to be the right fit for your business and employees. For example, if you find during your review that you’re not satisfied with your current 401(k) provider due to high fees, poor investment performance or a lack of service and support, it may be time to consider changing providers. In addition, with many 401(k) providers offering new technology and features, now may be a good time to see if it makes sense to update your existing 401(k) offering by switching to a new provider.
If you’re considering making a change, here are five tips to help you evaluate your current provider. If you decide to switch, we can help make the transition to your new one as smooth as possible:
#1 Before considering new 401(k) providers, carefully review your existing one. Clearly identify why you’re unhappy with your current plan provider and services, then determine the improvements you’d like to see going forward. While your cons list for your current provider may include “fees are too high,” don’t let that be the only reason for switching. Comparing plan providers based on fees alone doesn’t usually reflect the value you’re getting for what you’re paying.
Instead of focusing solely on fees, weigh your current provider — and any prospective ones in the running — based on factors such as:
#2 Get familiar with the conversion process. Let’s say you decide to change plan providers. After you choose one, what’s next? An experienced provider should do most of the heavy lifting when transitioning your plan to their platform — called a conversion. To start, you’ll need to review and complete paperwork for your current plan to share with your former and new providers.
You also can expect :
#3 Take note of applicable fees. Your current provider may charge you a termination and/or surrender fee when you switch to a new one.These fees can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Call your current provider to determine their termination and/or surrender fees in advance to avoid any surprises. Your new provider also may charge you to establish the new plan.
#4 You don’t have to stick to your old plan design. Plan sponsors often update their plan designs when switching providers. Most plan documents allow changes to be made at any time, but keep in mind that there may be amendment, regulatory or notice requirements you must meet before these changes become effective. Also, be aware of any timing concerns — for example, investment changes must be aligned with notice and blackout period requirements. Be sure to touch base with your former and new providers to address any potential issues.
#5 Communicate plan changes to your participants. When you make changes to your 401(k), including switching providers, thorough and timely communications to employees will help ensure a smooth and successful transition. In addition, you’re legally required to provide participants with a blackout notice that includes information about:
You also should provide employees with information regarding any fund or plan design changes.
It may take some time to review your current plan and, if beneficial, switch to a new provider. Getting the service, support, features and investment options that are best for your plan and participants will make the effort well worth it.
Need assistance? We can help you create an innovative and competitive 401(k)offering to give you an edge when it comes to recruiting and retaining talented employees. And, to ensure a smooth and seamless transition, we can assist with developing employee communications—making sure your employees understand what’s changing and why, how the transition will work and what they need to do.
Contact us today to receive more information!
 Transamerica Center for RetirementStudies. 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. "A Compendium ofFindings About American Workers." December 2016.
 Transamerica Center for RetirementStudies. 19th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. “Employers:The Retirement Security Challenge.” October 2019.
 Human Interest blog. “How to Change Your 401(k) Provider.” April 2017.
This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors and is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax/legal advice. Each plan has unique requirements, and you should consult your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.
Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a registered Broker/Dealer and Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. LoVasco Consulting Group is independently owned and operated.
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