401(k) Fee Disclosure Rules: Is Your Plan a Rip-Off?

• Tell them that there are various sources they can check to confirm the requirements and rigors of the new rules. The DOL is a good place to start.

• Ask your HR people if they've determined what fees are being charged. In all likelihood, their plan provider has already provided required fee information. If not, HR should write the company a letter documenting this failure. This will cover them with federal regulators and put the onus on the plan provider.

• If the plan provider has supplied the fee information, ask HR if they understand it. At smaller companies, they may not, because many providers are burying it in a document the size of a phone book. Does your company have an independent advisor to interpret these fees and determine whether they are reasonable by pinpointing where they land in the national spectrum?

Doing all this might not make you the most popular employee with HR, at least in the short run. But in the long run, you will be protecting your company from a world of regulatory hurt, including heavy fines. More importantly, making HR aware could protect the retirement resources of all employees in the plan, including your bosses.

Anthony Kippins is president of Retirement Plan Advisors, Ltd. a Registered Investment Advisory firm that addresses the needs of retirement plans and the employees who invest in them. An Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA®) with more than 30 years of experience domestically and abroad, Kippins specializes in providing fiduciary advice to retirement plans on governance, investments and educational services. He also advises individual clients on retirement planning and investment management after retirement. Kippins serves as managing director of Institutional Fiduciary Assurance LLC, an organization that provides fiduciary advice to trustees of endowments, foundations, non-profit organizations and charitable trusts. He can be reached at rpa@retirementplanadvisorsltd.com.

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