Brightscope launches 401(k) fee tool for advisers, investors

Jan 19, 2010 @ 10:24 am

By Jessica Toonkel Marquez

BrightScope Inc., a provider of 401(k) plan ratings, today introduced a new online tool that provides investors with personalized data about how much they are paying in fees in their retirement plans.

The tool can be an asset for advisers trying to win rollover business, because it shows not only how much investors are paying in 401(k) fees, but also determines how much they could save if they rolled over to a lower-cost individual retirement account, said Ryan Alfred, Brightscope’s co-founder and president.

“What better way to win rollover business than to show clients how much they would save through rolling over their 401(k) plan assets to an IRA,” Mr. Alfred said. “Also for advisers working with 401(k) plans, this is a great tool to get employees and plan sponsors to understand the fees.”

The Personal 401(k) Fee Report, which is available for free through BrightScope’s home page at brightscope.com, asks users to plug in what 401(k) plans they participate in, which investments they hold and how much they have in each investment. The tool provides a report detailing how much they are paying in fees. It also shows how those costs compare to the average fees in the plan, as well as how much the user could save over time by switching to lower-cost options.

Initially, the tool will cover investments in the 30,000 plans that BrightScope rates, but the firm hopes to include all 401(k) plans by the end of the year, Mr. Alfred said.

Eventually, BrightScope may enhance the tool to allow users to contact an adviser to help roll over their assets to an IRA, Mr. Alfred said. “We could help them identify a high-quality adviser,” he said. The firm has no timetable for adding this feature.

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