"Phyllis Borzi had this message for 401(k) providers in so many words: Cut the crap."

"Allowing that she is troubled by 401(k) providers that are circumventing her demands for clear fee disclosures in 401(k) plan documents, the assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration...

...the Department of Labor released a proposed rule that will require advisors and other 401(k) plan vendors to craft a table of contents with their disclosures that leaves no ambiguity about bottom-line costs.

The new rule augments DOL fee disclosures that went into effect in 2012 and brought improved transparency to the 401(k) industry.

Some providers complied with both the spirit and letter of the law, said Borzi. But she feels some providers dished out lengthy and complicated documents that are nearly impossible to digest.

...“These complex arrangements with revenue sharing and third-party payments provide access to products that are very complex for plan sponsors and a small employers to sort through,” Borzi says...

...The “good” firms are spelling out details in just a few pages and “bad” are creating “bankers boxes” filled with reams of documents.

...Industry insiders say RIAs typically offer clean and simple documents on just one or two pages, but not everyone in the industry is that concise.

“We think the rule has been successful in its short history about shedding additional light on fees,” Borzi said. ...We’ve been collecting these disclosures and reviewing them and we’ve seen more than just a couple of lengthy and complicated documents. Some fee-disclosure information is spread out on multiple documents and multiple bankers’ boxes. We’re troubled by this and employers are having a hard time finding the documents they’re looking for.”

...“We’re particularly concerned that some small employers who are fiduciaries may not be reaping the full benefits of the fee disclosure regulations,” Borzi said. “We all know service compensation arrangements have become increasingly complex making it difficult for plan sponsors to understand what service they’re getting and more importantly how much providers are being compensated.”


No comments: