The hidden benefit in fee disclosure

Fee disclosure day for retirement plans begins July 1, and must be complete by August 30, 2012. As you prepare to disclose the fees that your plan pays, one of the benefits is the opportunity to engage employees. A recent research study conducted for Charles Schwab by CFO Research Services indicates that engagement with employees is needed to increase participation or better manage existing accounts. Here are a few of the findings:

–          52% of  1,000 surveyed participants of 401(k) plans say that they don’t have time or interest in managing their 401(k) portfolio.

–          56% of those participants surveyed don’t review the materials provided to them regarding their plan.

–          54% of employers reveal that participating employees are not taking full advantage of plan options and services.

While these findings can be discouraging for a plan sponsor, the upcoming DOL fee disclosure mandate presents a logical time to demonstrate the value of your plan. And, you may not be the one to make the presentation. Another survey finding was that only 16% of employers use a third-party advisor to promote their retirement account plans. However, a third-party presenter often has a positive impact on employee savings and investing behavior. Your financial services provider is very likely to have an advisor available for presentations, probably at no charge to your company.