Understanding Fees

The Department of Labor (DOL) highly regulates the retirement plan offered by your employer and has published regulations requiring employers to disclose specific plan fees and investment information to you so that you can be more informed about your investment choices.

Fee details appear:

Fees are a routine part of any investment vehicle and cover expenses associated with offering investments and providing administration. Please see the Details tab for further explanation of the types of fees you pay.

You can also watch this short presentation to learn more about retirement plan fees.

RP Fee Player

Fee Disclosure Details

Fee details appear:

There are two types of fees associated with your retirement plan:

  • Administrative fees that involve services that directly benefit you, such as the Personal Savings Center website where you can manage your account online, your quarterly statement, and enrollment and educational materials. These fees also cover the administration of the plan, such as recordkeeping, investment and consulting guidance, and regulatory compliance and plan audits (which is required)
  • Investment fees, which cover a variety of investment management services, such as buying and selling stocks and bonds within mutual funds, regularly monitoring mutual funds, and allocating the interest earnings every day

Your quarterly statements will show:

  • The dollar amount of any administrative expenses charged to your account including a general description of the services related to the charge (e.g., plan-level administrative fees)
  • The dollar amount of any investment-related expenses reflecting each charge assessed during the quarter and a description of the services (e.g., transaction-level loan processing fees)

You also can:

  • Visit a website where you can get specific additional information about your investment options
  • Review a glossary of terms (or a website address with access to such a glossary) that can assist you in understanding the plan's investment options
  • Upon your request, prospectuses, financial reports and statements of valuation and of assets held by an investment option

If you have any questions about fee disclosure, please do not hesitate to call your benefits administrator.

Are fees new?

Fees have always been part of retirement plans and other savings vehicles. Disclosing fees is intended to help retirement plan investors, such as you, make more informed decisions when choosing investments in your plan and when using services that have additional fees (such as for taking loans and withdrawals). How fees are displayed brings them in compliance with the regulations.

The Standard is committed to fee transparency and remains dedicated to this practice.

What are some of the services I may be paying for and how are they assessed?

Some fees pay for services that directly benefit you, such as the Personal Savings Center online service where you can manage your account online, your quarterly account statement and enrollment and education materials and sessions. Other fees pay for services that happen behind the scenes like those related to the selection and monitoring of investment options and keeping the plan in compliance with applicable laws, such as for required annual compliance tests that help protect you and your retirement savings. These fees may be shared by you and your employer.

There are also a number of service providers involved in the day‐to‐day operation of your retirement plan who get paid from the fees you and your employer pay.

  • Investment advisors handle the monitoring and selection of your plan’s investment options
  • The recordkeeper or third-party administrator tracks your contributions, interest earnings, distributions and so forth
  • Custodians physically hold the assets
  • Trustees manage the assets for the benefit of those enrolled in the plan
  • Auditors ensure that the plans are compliant with Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service regulations
  • Legal or tax counsel may assist with resolving legal issues associated with the plan and also documenting the plan’s features
  • Investment or mutual fund companies who manage the investment options in the plan
  • Other professionals may provide educational, consulting and reporting services

How will I know what the fees will be before I invest?

There are many variables that go into determining fees, and these amounts can change each quarter. There are certain fees you can manage, such as transactional fees or fees charged for event-based activities such as taking a loan or distribution from your plan.

Your initial and annual fee disclosure document outlines these fees and provides general information about other fees. You can also find your plan’s annual disclosure (called "Important Notice") anytime online when you access your retirement account or in your enrollment materials.

How will I be notified if my fees increase or decrease?

The fee information will be furnished to all eligible participants on or before the date on which investments can first be directed and again annually thereafter. If there is a change to the information, a description of such change(s) will be furnished to participants at least 30 days, but not more than 90 days, in advance of the effective date of the change(s). Additionally, plan-related administrative fees charged to your respective account will be reflected on your quarterly account statement. Fee information can also be accessed online when you access your retirement account.