The Future of 401(K) Plan Fees
Jonathan Barry Forman
University of Oklahoma College of Law
New York University Review of Employee Benefits and Compensation, pp. 9-18, 2007
There were 47 million participants in 401(k) plans in 2005, up from just 8 million in the 1980s. More than 90 percent of 401(k) plan participants can choose how to invest their accounts, and nearly half invest in stock funds. That's a lot of money and a lot of investors. At bottom, the investment industry makes a very healthy living off other people's money.
This chapter considers how plan sponsors, plan participants, and government regulators can get control over 401(k) fees. At the outset, Section 2 provides an overview of the fees and costs that can arise in connection with a typical 401(k) plan. Next, Section 3 outlines the statutory and regulatory systems that regulate these costs and offers a simple example to highlight some of the major concerns about fees. Section 4 then discusses most recent developments relating to the regulation of 401(k) fees. Finally, Section 5 offers some concluding remarks about how we can get control over 401(k) plan fees and costs.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: pensions, 401(k) plans, investment fees
JEL Classification: D23, G23, H55, J14, J26, J33, J58, K31
Date posted: February 12, 2008 ; Last revised: July 16, 2008