As part of its efforts to reinvent the k business, the San Francisco-based company launched Index Advantage in , stripped of 12 b -1 fees, active manager fees and fees associated with buying through a plan consultant. See: Schwab to make long-awaited move in k market with an all-indexed mutual fund and ETF strategy.
This program includes the index-only mutual funds and ETFs. On a July 27 call with analysts, Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger announced that his company will allow consultants to customize investments so they can receive compensation using the Schwab Index Advantage k plan.
Previously, Morningstar filled this role — and will continue to do so in certain instances. Rick Meigs: They recognize the plan consultants are the gatekeepers and they have to go through them. Currently, Chicago-based Morningstar, Inc.
In the new model starting soon, the consultant or advisor will be the managed account advisor and will use Morningstar technology services in a support capacity as managed account advisor. Although, again, typically they will be index. You design the pies, you provide the advice. By designing those pies, our technology delivers it out to the participants and then you can be compensated for doing that work in a manner consistent with how we would pay Morningstar, if they were the ones doing the pies themselves.
Under the new plan, the plan sponsor pays the consultant or advisor. In many cases, plan sponsors pay the consultant directly or that fee can be included in the overall amount paid by the participants. Most RIAs charge direct fees rather than 12 b 1 fees. But that nuanced approach amounted to a rookie mistake, according to Louis Harvey, president of Dalbar Inc. They assumed that a market existed, but then discovered what many have known for years … k plans need a very personal sales effort.
Employers are not self-motivated to take risks and spend money on a k plan, they have to be convinced that the plan is a good idea. I expect Schwab has realized this and is now making their product conform to the market opportunity. Though the all-in cost will rise, the fees charged by Schwab itself will not change, Gable explained.
Fees can vary and are negotiated between the providers such as Morningstar and the consultants as well as the employers. Typical fees are 10 to 15 basis points for underlying funds and 40 basis points for other aspects of the program, including advice. Jason Roberts: The investment menu is just one-tenth of the challenge for employers. By bringing in consultants, Schwab demonstrates it needs help selling its k plans, says Rick Meigs, founder of khelpcenter. But even with this change, Meigs is skeptical that many advisors will offer this plan to plan sponsors because most advisors consider their value to be picking the investments.
Most want other options like target date funds. Gable disagrees with Meigs. He is convinced that advisors have more insight to offer employers in addition to investment offerings. On the July 27 call, Bettinger explained that his company will be carefully rolling out the improved program only to a certain group of consultants. Our mission is to provide readers with accurate and unbiased information, and we have editorial standards in place to ensure that happens. We maintain a firewall between our advertisers and our editorial team.
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While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. Bankrate spoke to Bettinger about his k ideas and whether individual investors can get a fair shake in the stock market.
You have a lot of ambitious ideas regarding k plans. Do you think there should be a government solution involved at all? I do not think we need a government solution. I think we need courage across the industry —individuals like myself who have been in this business for three decades to stand up and speak with truth and objectivity about what we need to do differently.
I think that is all it takes, but it has got to start. You referenced social and financial challenges arising from underfunded retirements. Can you talk about those a little bit more? Are we experiencing those challenges already? I think we are. And of course, there are many factors contributing to that — demographics, improving health care.
Today one of the great challenges we face as a country is we expect in a year working career — and I am using round numbers, of course — to fund a year retirement. The math just does not work. So it is part of the overall challenges that we face. The challenges facing pension plans are linked exactly to why we have seen, for the most part, the demise of the pension plan.
And that is, a long-term promise made in an uncertain world. You know, think of the interest rate environment today where most pension plans had interest assumptions of 7 percent to 9 percent earnings and it is just not realistic to attain. And it is not realistic to fund those monthly benefits funds to people far out in the future without taking enormous risk as to whether the company will have to put a lot more money in the plan.
And you have seen, to a great extent, the demise of the pension program. Would you agree that saving for retirement is most difficult for young people? And do you treat that problem differently when you are advising individuals? What our research has shown is that one of the major reasons young people hesitate to save is because they feel even less prepared than someone who may be older to make all these decisions that we are foisting upon them.
When you offer professional counsel for them that is objective and they know that they can trust, they are more willing to sign up than if they have to try to do it all on their own. For 50 percent of the people, they have no idea what to do. For one-third of the people , this is causing major stress in their life. Is it any wonder that a younger person, with all the other pressures they are dealing with, and without the benefit of maybe managing money ever for themselves, that they would be hesitant to put money away to something where they are clueless as to what decisions they should make?
I think that if you are an investor, you can definitely get a fair shake. An investor is someone who has a plan, takes a long-term perspective and is not trying to guess. If you are someone who believes that you are going to beat the market by timing it, by guessing, by trading on a highly different basis, you must be exceptional. And there are some people who are exceptional at that, but that is a very, very tiny percent.
The vast majority of people are far better served by not trying to time the market, not trying to beat those dark pools, not trying to beat the algorithm of high-frequency traders. Have a plan. Take a long-term view.
Be in an ownership position. Owners generally are paid better than lenders and stocks generally outperform bonds over the long term. And stick to a plan.
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The simple solution for the majority of defined contribution retirement plans is to offer robo-advisor portfolios as the default option. I love my k choices. Small, mid and large index choices. Emerging markets and international developed countries. And of course the 10 U. Small privately held German company located in the midwest.
I guess I just got lucky. As far as I can tell, the k plans for smaller employers are the last frontier for index funds. In addition, many fiduciaries at smaller companies have many other issues they deal with and if the employees are not complaining about the plan, nothing gets done.
I am not exaggerating when I say I talk with plan sponsors regularly that have not bid their plan in 10 to 20 years. Or, their view of a review is to ask their current vendor if they have anything new to offer. To be sure, there are good firms out there like Employee Fiduciary, On-Line k, Verisight and others that are making some inroads, and some smaller employers have begun to demand better products.
But in my experience, it is still essentially a wasteland of unnecessary fees. I have read many of the reports by journalist which talk about all of the high fees in these plans. I think easy investigative journalism would be for a reporter to simply start calling small firms and ask the fiduciaries basic questions like if they know their fees, how much their advisory firm makes, what share classes they use, the last time they bid their plan, etc… The responses would write the story.
Some robo advisers are beginning to make their way into k plans. Blooom is one that I am aware of and I am sure more will make it there as well. There are two other changes that would be significant enhancements in addition to what you mentioned above:. Time to get rid of this. It would promote clarity in plan fees for sponsors and participants and ultimately put downward pressure on fees.
Far too many plans pay for support fees as a percentage of assets. This is unnecessary and ridiculously costly as plan assets grow. Most service providers should be able to price out their services on annualized flat fee. Mush of their service has nothing to do with the size of assets in the plan. Great points and I agree on both fronts. The administration side of things should be made much easier for businesses, especially small businesses who are usually the ones paying much higher fees or not offering a plan at all.
News first broke Sunday Jan Then, on Monday Jan. Other companies have since followed suit. Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, which tracks campaign contributions, called the action unprecedented. Schwab and his wife Helen Schwab have also donated to far-right groups. Contributions by the Charles Schwab Corp. PAC pale in comparison. In all, the PAC gave to 74 lawmakers who represent a cross-section of ideologies and geographical regions.
Blaine Leutkemeyer R-Mo. Bettinger may not have gone far enough in his statement, but there was no doubt it was heartfelt. Since we published this article, Schwab changed course again. Walt Bettinger. Charles R. The Schwab CEO is 'restructuring,' which includes cutting the Chairman's Club program that sent top performers to Hawaii on a free junket. Included in the wholesale reduction of the Omaha, Neb. The CEO-for-rent will face a monumental challenge turning around Wells Fargo, but perhaps not as bleak a landscape for profit margins; Is the RIA free ride coming to an end?
Toggle navigation. Some clients were surprised and dismayed by company's deep involvement in politics and support for so-called 'Sedition Caucus' in Congress January 13, — AM by Brooke Southall Brooke's Note: Us reporters take it from both sides. Related Moves.