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401k Investment Fee Oversight Benefits All

401k Investment Fee Oversight Benefits All

401k investment fee monitoring helps the retirement plan advisor to help every plan participant and beneficiary.  The amount of benefit that accrues to participants and beneficiaries reaches well beyond the participant, the employee, their family and friends.  The work that an active retirement plan committee member can conduct on lowering fees has an immeasurable reach!  At the conclusion of a Plan Sponsor University (TPSU) Fiduciary Education Program held at a Georgia State University in Alpharetta, Georgia, TPSU Founder, and CEO, Fred Barstein spoke with Carey, a TPSU Program attendee. As the Chief Financial Officer and Manager of Human Resources Senior Vice President of Human Resources at her approximately 60-employee international organization, Carey has responsibility for the company retirement plan.  Carey previously attended a TPSU Program about three years earlier and learned some of the points that she had been deficient in.  Learn how Carey improved her company’s retirement plan after attending a TPSU Program.

Full Transcript Here

Fred Barstein:
Okay. Fred Barstein with 401kTV just completed a TPSU Program at Georgia State University in Alpharetta, and I am here with Carey.

Carey:
Yes.

Fred Barstein:
Okay. Carey, okay if we ask you a few questions?

Carey:
Sure.

Fred Barstein:
Okay, great. Before we do, tell our audience a little bit about the size of your organization and the role that you play.

Carey:
All right. Our organization has about 60 employees in the US and I’m the chief financial officer and I also have a dual role as a human resource manager.

Fred Barstein:
Very good. What does your company do? What do they work on?

Carey:
We do industrial steel supply chain logistics, so we do-

Fred Barstein:
Say that 10 times fast.

Carey:
That’s a lot. To simplify, we service and provide products for companies here in the US. A lot of their products are outsourced from China and India.

Fred Barstein:
Okay. Well, I hope you’re not affected by the tariffs.

Carey:
We are very affected by the tariffs.

Fred Barstein:
Okay. Today you talked a little bit about, you know, on the one hand, it was like what was working and not working that what was working was when you actually pushed your vendors, your advisor, your record keeper and asked them questions, they did more. On the other hand, sometimes they are not performing. So tell us how that all came about.

Carey:
Yeah, well, when I joined the company, I had not had this experience before me, having the fiduciary responsibility. In fact, I don’t even think I realized I was a fiduciary for the first couple of years. So I relied heavily on third-party providers to help me understand what those responsibilities were. And alongside that, after a couple of years, I started getting some complaints from employees about our fees and things like that. And I came to this class probably about three years ago, and it helped me realize what I don’t know.

Carey:
And I went through my checklist that I got on the Department of Labor website, and the things that I learned here and started going through that with my advisor, and I knew that we were being under-serviced, but I didn’t know quite how. And going through that checklist addressed some very specific issues, but overall, her service level improved and it was noticeable. And to the point where in the last year, we’ve reduced our fees, 100 basis points. We improved the website experience that employees have, and we have had more interface with the advisor and the employees where they can talk about their investments.

Carey:
And that was not a lot of effort on my part. I’m kind of surprised by it. So I came back today to figure out, well, what’s the next level? We did a lot of really big things. We had some low hanging fruit, and …

Fred Barstein:
So what’s next?

Carey:
Well, I think really looking hard at some things like auto-enrollment, we’ve really shied away from that. I think we could tackle that now. And also employee education. We talked about financial wellness and there’s a lot of other things that can help employees. We talked about that today and I think we’ll take a hard look at that and see what we can do.

Fred Barstein:
Well, hope you’ll come back for another class, we’d love to have you.

Carey:
Thank you. Thank you.

Fred Barstein:
And thank you for watching 401kTV. Stay tuned.

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