The Small Company Retirement Plan Opportunity

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20 August 2015
William Trout
In my latest report, Big Rewards Come in Tiny Packages: Why Small Retirement Plans Offer a Huge Opportunity for Plan Providers, Sponsors, and Advisors, I explore a rich but underserved corner of the defined contributions business, the market for small company retirement plans. Defined here as plans with less than 500 participants, the small plan market is a unique laboratory for exploring the contradictions and inefficiencies that characterize the 401(k) business in general. Small company 401(k) plans, where they exist at all, are expensive, burdensome to operate, and skewed toward cost-inefficient investments, even more so than their large plan counterparts. Disruption is in the air, however, and the opportunity for new plan providers offering low-cost, technology-driven platforms is great. While in the broader retail investments business, innovation has been tech-driven, in the DC space, regulation (and its cousin, litigation) has been the engine of change. The industry is on the march to a uniform fiduciary standard, and it is no coincidence that so many of the plan providers mentioned in this report, firms such as ForUsAll and Employee Fiduciary, have emerged within the last two years.

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