Bridge over ocean
1 March 2016 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 72, Issue 2

An Investigation of Administrative Fees in Defined Contribution Plans

  1. Thomas W. Doellman
  2. Sabuhi H. Sardarli

The administration of defined contribution retirement plans is generally outsourced by plan sponsors to third-party financial institutions, resulting in two primary types of plan fees. Although investment fund fees in defined contribution plans have been heavily scrutinized, the administrative fees paid to third-party plan administrators are less well understood. The authors highlight the importance of securing fee reimbursements from third-party plan administrators to avoid excessive administrative fees, as well as situations in which the plan sponsor must be particularly careful to ensure that such reimbursements are secured. The authors’ findings have important implications as the scrutiny of plan fees intensifies with continued regulatory change.

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