SURVEY OF 401(k) PLAN SPONSORS ON FEES

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Contents

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Instructions

To learn more about completing the questionnaire, printing your responses, and who to contact if you have questions, _____.

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Background on Company and 401(k) Plan



1. As of the end of the 2010 calendar year, about how many employees did your company have (full- and part-time employees)?

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Less than 50 employees 73.9 70.9-77.0
50-499 employees 22.6 19.4-25.7
500+ employees 3.5 1.9-6.0



2. At the end of the 2010 calendar year, approximately how many participants - including active employees and retired or separated employees who either received benefits or were entitled to future benefits - did the 401(k) plan, _____, have?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Less than 50 participants 80.5 78.5-82.5
50-499 participants 17.2 15.1-19.3
500+ participants 2.3 1.0-4.5



3. For the 401(k) plan, _____, what were the total plan assets at the end of the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Less than $100,000 11.5 7.7-16.4
$100,000 - $500,000 25.9 20.2-31.5
$500,000 - $1million 18.7 13.8-24.5
$1million - $5million 34.1 28.4-39.7
$5million - $10million 5.9 3.7-8.9
$10million+ 3.9 2.2-6.5

Plan Features, Design, and Service Arrangements

4. Did your company match a percentage of your employees' contributions to the 401(k) plan identified in the introductory letter to this questionnaire for plan years 2007, 2008, 2009, or 2010?

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A. Did your company match a percentage of your employees' contributions for any of the following plan years: 2007, 2008, 2009 or 2010?

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes, (for some or all employees) 69.5 63.6-75.4
No 30.5 24.6-36.4

B. If your company's plan matched employees' contributions during plan years 2007, 2008, 2009 or 2010, please indicate if you made any of the following changes to the contribution matching feature. (If you answered "Yes" in A, then answer B below.)

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1. Reduced or suspended contribution matching between plan years 2007 and 2010 and have not reinstated a match.

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 8.1 4.7-12.9
Not Checked 91.9 87.1-95.3

2. Reduced or suspended contribution matching between plan years 2007 and 2010 and have reinstated a match.

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 5.2 2.6-9.1
Not Checked 94.8 90.9-97.4

3. Made no changes to contribution matching between plan years 2007 and 2010.

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 75.1 69.0-81.3
Not Checked 24.9 18.7-31.0

4. Increased contribution matching between plan years 2007 and 2010.

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 4.1 1.7-8.0
Not Checked 95.9 92.1-98.3



(View question)

If your company made a change to its match between 2007 and 2010, please specify why:

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5. Does your plan contain an automatic enrollment feature?

Under automatic enrollment, workers are enrolled into the plan automatically, or by default, unless they explicitly choose to opt out. Typically, employers who have adopted automatic enrollment must also establish default contribution rates and default investment vehicles for workers who do not specify these choices on their own.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 16.9 12.5-22.0
No 78.4 73.2-83.5
Do not know 4.8 2.3-8.6

6. In general, what kind of arrangement best describes the contracts your company has with outside entities that provide services to the 401(k) plan?

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Bundled - one company provides most of your 401(k) plan services, such as recordkeeping, investment advice, and brokerage services, directly or through subcontracts with other companies 55.5 49.2-61.7
Unbundled - your company uses a combination of different service providers to manage and operate your plan 44.2 37.9-50.4
Do not know 0.4 0.0-1.7

7. Which of the following statements best describes how your company's 401(k) plan is managed, which includes functions such as reporting plan information to the federal government and evaluating the services provided to the plan and the fees for those services?

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
We have in-house staff, such as human resources and accounting departments, who handle recordkeeping, reporting, and compliance issues, among other things. 4.6 2.3-7.9
We hire outside entities, such as a plan consultant, an investment advisor, or a third-party administrator, to handle most of the plan administrative functions. 57.4 51.3-63.5
We use both in-house staff and outside entities to administer our plan. 38.1 32.1-44.0

8. Do any of the following outside entities your company hires serve as a fiduciary in any capacity when providing services to your plan?

Note: A fiduciary is anyone - such as a sponsor, trustee, investment advisor, or other company that provides services to the plan - who has discretionary authority or control over the management or administration of the plan, including plan assets. Typically, the duties the person or provider performs for the plan determines whether that person is a plan fiduciary, rather than their title or position.

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a. Retirement consultant/Investment advisor

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Fiduciary 21.7 16.6-26.9
Not a Fiduciary 52.7 46.3-59.1
Do Not Know 9.9 6.4-14.4
Not Applicable 15.7 11.2-21.1

b. Third-party administrator

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Fiduciary 13.5 9.5-18.5
Not a Fiduciary 62.5 56.2-68.8
Do Not Know 10.0 6.3-14.7
Not Applicable 14.0 9.8-19.3

c. Bundled provider

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Fiduciary 16.0 11.6-21.1
Not a Fiduciary 43.4 36.8-49.9
Do Not Know 11.5 7.6-16.6
Not Applicable 29.1 23.1-35.2

d. Accountant

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Fiduciary 2.1 0.8-4.6
Not a Fiduciary 63.8 57.5-70.2
Do Not Know 8.1 4.9-12.5
Not Applicable 26.0 20.1-31.8

Please specify if there are any other outside plan fiduciaries:

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Plan Service Providers

9. As of the end of calendar year 2010, who were the outside entities your company hired to service the plan, and what services did they provide?

Note: Plan providers include bundled providers, recordkeepers, plan consultants, investment advisors, and third-party administrators.

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a. Provider 1

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Provider listed by respondent 100.0 99.2-100.0
Provider not listed 0.0 0.0-0.8

What services did this company/firm provide to your 401(k) plan? (Check all that apply.)

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1. Administration, Data intentionally not reported

2. Recordkeeping, Data intentionally not reported

3. Plan investment advice (i.e. selecting and monitoring investment options), Data intentionally not reported

4. Investment products (i.e. mutual funds, annuities, self-directed brokerage accounts, etc.), Data intentionally not reported

5. Education to plan participants, Data intentionally not reported

b. Provider 2

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Provider listed by respondent 66.8 60.8-72.7
Provider not listed 33.2 27.3-39.2

What services did this company/firm provide to your 401(k) plan? (Check all that apply.)

(View question)

1. Administration, Data intentionally not reported

2. Recordkeeping, Data intentionally not reported

3. Plan investment advice (i.e. selecting and monitoring investment options), Data intentionally not reported

4. Investment products (i.e. mutual funds, annuities, self-directed brokerage accounts, etc.), Data intentionally not reported

5. Education to plan participants, Data intentionally not reported

c. Provider 3

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Provider listed by respondent 26.3 20.7-31.9
Provider not listed 73.7 68.1-79.3

What services did this company/firm provide to your 401(k) plan? (Check all that apply.)

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1. Administration, Data intentionally not reported

2. Recordkeeping, Data intentionally not reported

3. Plan investment advice (i.e. selecting and monitoring investment options), Data intentionally not reported

4. Investment products (i.e. mutual funds, annuities, self-directed brokerage accounts, etc.), Data intentionally not reported

5. Education to plan participants, Data intentionally not reported

d. Provider 4

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Provider listed by respondent 3.7 1.7-6.9
Provider not listed 96.3 93.1-98.3

What services did this company/firm provide to your 401(k) plan? (Check all that apply.)

(View question)

1. Administration, Data intentionally not reported

2. Recordkeeping, Data intentionally not reported

3. Plan investment advice (i.e. selecting and monitoring investment options), Data intentionally not reported

4. Investment products (i.e. mutual funds, annuities, self-directed brokerage accounts, etc.), Data intentionally not reported

5. Education to plan participants, Data intentionally not reported

Plan Investment Vehicles

10. During the 2010 calendar year, which types of investment vehicles did your company offer within the plan?

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a. Mutual Funds - Mutual funds are pools of investments in a portfolio of securities, such as stocks, bonds, and commercial paper, managed by a professional investment advisor.

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Offered 80.3 75.1-85.6
Did Not Offer 10.0 6.5-14.7
Do Not Know 9.6 6.0-14.5

    1. Retail Mutual Funds - Mutual funds that are available to the general public.

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Offered 55.2 48.5-61.9
Did Not Offer 17.9 13.0-23.6
Do Not Know 27.0 21.0-33.0

    2. Institutional Mutual Funds - Mutual funds that are generally available to plans that exceed certain plan asset levels, and are generally not available to individuals.

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Offered 36.4 29.9-42.9
Did Not Offer 31.2 24.9-37.5
Do Not Know 32.4 26.0-38.7

b. Collective Trust Funds - Similar to mutual funds, these are trusts managed by a bank or a trust company that pool investments of retirement plans or other institutional investors. These products are typically not available to individua l investors.

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Offered 14.1 9.9-19.3
Did Not Offer 57.6 50.9-64.2
Do Not Know 28.4 22.2-34.5

c. Annuities - An annuity is a contract between a plan participant or sponsor and an insurance company, under which the participant makes a lump-sum payment or a series of payments and the insurance company provides a payout for an agreed-up on span of time.

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Offered 8.4 5.0-13.2
Did Not Offer 67.5 61.1-73.9
Do Not Know 24.1 18.1-30.0

d. Insurance Company Accounts - These represent accounts with insurance companies, such as in stable value funds and mutual funds. Stable value funds are designed to preserve the total amount of participants' contributions, or their principal, while also providing steady, positive returns.

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Offered 16.9 12.5-22.2
Did Not Offer 57.1 50.6-63.7
Do Not Know 25.9 19.9-31.9

e. Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts - These allow individual plan participants to invest some or all of their account balance through the brokerage service. Participants have the ability to invest in a range of investment options that may include stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Offered 25.8 19.8-31.8
Did Not Offer 57.9 51.3-64.5
Do Not Know 16.3 11.5-22.1

Plan Features - Group Variable Annuities

11. Within the past 5 years, did your plan have a group variable annuity contract? And if so, did your company terminate the contract or renegotiate its terms during the past 5 years?

Group variable annuities are usually offered by insurance companies, sometimes in partnership with or marketed through a mutual fund or investment management company. The variable annuity contract typically contains its own set of subaccount investment options, similar to the investment options offered in plans serviced by other providers. Assets in a group variable annuity contract are wrapped into a set of life-based insurance guarantees, such as a guaranteed lifetime income option and a minimum death benefit. The wrapper is placed around the bundle of subaccount investment options.

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A. Within the past 5 years, did your plan have a group variable annuity contract?

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes, 11.1 7.5-15.6
No 71.5 65.8-77.3
Do not know 17.4 12.7-23.0

B. If your company terminated the contract or renegotiated its terms during the past 5 years, what was the outcome of your company's actions? If you answered 'Yes' to A, then answer B below. (Check all that apply)

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1. Did not terminate or renegotiate terms of the contract

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 44.4 27.3-62.6
Not Checked 55.6 37.4-72.8

2. Was unable to terminate or renegotiate because of contract terms

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 0.3 0.1-11.3
Not Checked 99.7 88.7-100.0

3. Terminated contract without being charged a fee

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 20.5 8.3-38.6
Not Checked 79.5 61.4-91.7

4. Terminated contract and paid a fee, such as a surrender charge

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 5.2 0.4-19.8
Not Checked 94.8 80.3-99.6

5. Renegotiated contract terms to reduce fees

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 11.7 4.1-24.7
Not Checked 88.3 75.3-95.9

6. Renegotiated contract terms to increase benefit(s)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 0.0 0.0-6.2
Not Checked 100.0 93.8-100.0

7. Other (Please specify)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 6.6 1.0-20.2
Not Checked 93.4 79.8-99.0



(View question)

Please specify other outcomes of actions related to your plan's group variable annuity contract below:

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Plan Fees and Services

12. For the 2010 calendar year, did the company or plan pay for any of the following services? And if so, how much was paid by the company/plan sponsor and/or out of plan assets (from plan participants' accounts)? Note: Do not include in-house costs such as salaries and expenses related to internal accountants, benefits, human resource, and other staff. (Please use whole dollar amounts.)

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a. Recordkeeping and administrative services (i.e. tracking individual account contributions and reporting). These fees could be charged as a flat amount or a percentage of plan assets.

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A. Did your company or the plan pay for recordkeeping and administrative services during the 2010 calendar year?

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Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 84.5 79.3-88.8
Waived 6.8 3.9-10.7
Do not know 8.8 5.5-13.1

B. Total Fees Paid By Plan Sponsor (Enter "0" if no amount is paid, enter "1" if amount paid is unknown.)

Data intentionally not reported

(View question)

C. Total Fees Paid Out of Plan Assets (Enter "0" if no amount is paid, enter "1" if amount paid is unknown.)

Data intentionally not reported

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b. Investment management fees, which are ongoing charges for managing the assets of the investment fund. They are generally stated as a percentage of the amount of assets invested.

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A. Did your company or plan pay for investment management fees during the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 49.8 43.1-56.4
Waived 22.6 16.8-28.4
Do not know 27.6 21.5-33.8

B. Total Fees Paid By Plan Sponsor (Enter "0" if no amount is paid, enter "1" if amount paid is unknown.)

Data intentionally not reported

(View question)

C. Total Fees Paid Out of Plan Assets (Enter "0" if no amount is paid, enter "1" if amount paid is unknown.)

Data intentionally not reported

(View question)

c. Retirement plan consultant or investment advisor, which includes fees charged by an advisor, often a consultant, hired to help the plan sponsor select funds for the plan and to monitor investments.

(View question)

A. Did your company or plan pay for retirement plan consultant or investment advisor services during the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 22.2 16.9-27.5
Waived 19.8 14.5-26.0
Do not know 17.4 12.5-23.3
Not applicable 40.6 33.9-47.3

B. Total Fees Paid By Plan Sponsor (Enter "0" if no amount is paid, enter "1" if amount paid is unknown.)

Data intentionally not reported

(View question)

C. Total Fees Paid Out of Plan Assets (Enter "0" if no amount is paid, enter "1" if amount paid is unknown.)

Data intentionally not reported

(View question)

d. Other service fees, such as trustee, legal, and audit fees (Please do not include individual participant transaction fees, such as fees for loans.)

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A. Did your company or plan pay for other services during the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 21.0 16.7-25.3
Waived 21.5 16.3-26.7
Do not know 28.7 22.9-34.4
Item nonresponse 28.8 23.2-34.5

B. Total Fees Paid By Plan Sponsor (Enter "0" if no amount is paid, enter "1" if amount paid is unknown.)

Data intentionally not reported

(View question)

C. Total Fees Paid Out of Plan Assets (Enter "0" if no amount is paid, enter "1" if amount paid is unknown.)

Data intentionally not reported

(View question)

*Note - If an investment management fees report by your recordkeeper or other service provider is not readily available, you may have to estimate these fees by multiplying the total plan assets by the expense ratio for each of the investment options offered in the plan and include any other fees associated with the investment.

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Plan Fees, Cont.

13. Some of the following fees may be paid by 401(k) plans, which could be included in the expense ratio - the fund's annual operating expenses expressed as a percentage of assets or basis points - of each fund or charged to the plan in addition to the expense ratio. Have you requested information on any of the following fees? Did the plan pay these fees during the 2010 calendar year?

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(View question)

a. Marketing and distribution fees, also known as 12(b)-1 fees, may be used to pay commissions to brokers and other salespersons, for expenses such as advertising and other costs of promoting the fund to investors.

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Have you asked your provider for information on these fees?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 30.0 24.1-35.9
No 70.0 64.2-75.9

Did the plan pay this fee in the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 24.1 18.6-29.6
No 29.4 23.4-35.4
Do not know 46.6 39.9-53.2

b. Sub-transfer agent (Sub-TA) fees, which are typically fees used to reimburse a plan's recordkeeper for shareholder services that the fund would have otherwise provided, such as maintaining participant-level accounts and distributing the fund's prospectus.

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Have you asked your provider for information on these fees?

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(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 18.5 13.9-23.9
No 81.5 76.1-86.1

Did the plan pay this fee in the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 11.2 7.8-15.5
No 38.9 32.3-45.6
Do not know 49.9 43.2-56.6

c. Excess commission, also known as SEC rule 28(e) soft dollars, which are extra commissions charged by brokerage firms and paid to investment advisors and others - in the form of services other than execution of securities transactions, such as research products - for directing business to brokerage firms.

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Have you asked your provider for information on these fees?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 15.1 10.7-20.5
No 84.9 79.5-89.3

Did the plan pay this fee in the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 1.9 0.6-4.3
No 46.4 39.6-53.1
Do not know 51.7 45.0-58.5

d. Trading / transaction costs, which include commissions associated with an investment manager's buying and selling of securities within a particular investment vehicle, such as a mutual fund. These are the costs associated with portfolio turnover.

(View question)

Have you asked your provider for information on these fees?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 19.6 14.3-24.8
No 80.4 75.2-85.7

Did the plan pay this fee in the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 12.4 8.4-17.5
No 39.5 32.8-46.2
Do not know 48.1 41.2-54.9

e. Wrap fees, which are generally associated with annuities, are aggregate fees that encompass multiple components, such as investment management fees, surrender charges, mortality and expense risk charges, and administrative fees.

(View question)

Have you asked your provider for information on these fees?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 20.6 15.3-25.9
No 79.4 74.1-84.8

Did the plan pay this fee in the 2010 calendar year?

(View question)



(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 9.5 6.0-14.2
No 46.1 39.3-52.8
Do not know 44.4 37.7-51.2

Plan Fees - Providers

14. Overall, how confident are you that the companies that service your plan have fully disclosed all fees charged to your plan and plan participants?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Completely confident 31.7 25.7-37.6
Very confident 27.7 22.1-33.4
Confident 20.2 15.1-25.4
Somewhat confident 13.3 9.2-18.4
Not at all confident 7.1 4.1-11.1

15. Did you have to contact or work with any outside entities that provide services to the plan - such as plan consultants, investment advisors, third-party administrators, bundled providers, recordkeepers, or accountants - to complete this section of the survey on plan fees and services?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 36.8 30.7-42.9
No 63.2 57.2-69.3

Comparing and Assessing Service Provider Fees and Services

16. Which would you rank as the three most important factors that led you to selecting your current service providers, including bundled providers, recordkeepers, plan consultants, and third-party administrators? (Enter '1' for most important, '2' for second most, and '3' for third.)

(View question)

A. Customer service features, such as consistency, timeliness, and availability of representatives

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 14.1 9.9-19.2
Second most important 15.9 11.2-21.6
Third most important 25.6 19.6-31.5
Not ranked 44.5 37.7-51.3

B. Experience, technical capability, and knowledge of legal requirements among provider's staff

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 15.8 11.1-21.5
Second most important 25.2 19.3-31.1
Third most important 20.0 14.7-26.2
Not ranked 39.0 32.4-45.6

C. Reputation within the retirement plan services industry

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 12.6 8.4-17.8
Second most important 9.1 5.6-13.9
Third most important 9.2 5.7-13.9
Not ranked 69.1 62.9-75.3

D. Low fees and rates charged

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 8.2 4.9-12.6
Second most important 15.0 10.6-20.5
Third most important 9.8 6.4-14.3
Not ranked 67.0 60.8-73.3

E. Willingness to work with a plan of our size

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 6.1 3.1-10.7
Second most important 11.0 6.9-16.4
Third most important 11.3 7.3-16.6
Not ranked 71.6 65.3-77.9

F. Ability to handle all of our plan's administrative needs, including recordkeeping, legal compliance, and other needs

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 27.8 21.7-33.8
Second most important 15.1 10.6-20.6
Third most important 15.1 10.5-20.7
Not ranked 42.1 35.3-48.8

G. Information about the provider was easy to obtain/find and allowed us to make a decision quickly

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 0.4 0.0-1.9
Second most important 1.9 0.4-5.2
Third most important 1.2 0.3-3.2
Not ranked 96.6 93.2-98.6

H. Recommendations by friends and/or colleagues

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 12.7 8.3-18.4
Second most important 6.0 3.1-10.5
Third most important 6.4 3.3-11.0
Not ranked 74.9 68.7-81.0

I. Other (Please specify)

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 2.4 0.7-5.8
Second most important 0.7 0.1-2.9
Third most important 1.5 0.3-4.4
Not ranked 95.3 91.3-97.8

If you answered "Other" above, please enter the factor that led you to selecting your current service providers below:

(View question)

17. In the last 5 years, has your company taken any of the following actions for your 401(k) plan? Note: Service providers include bundled providers, recordkeepers, plan consultants, investment advisors, and third-party administrators.

(View question)

A. I or someone at my company requested quotes/bids from other service providers.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Did 37.7 31.6-43.8
Did Not Do 58.4 52.2-64.6
Do Not Know 4.0 2.1-6.9

B. With the help of outside consultants, we requested quotes/bids from other service providers.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Did 21.3 16.3-26.3
Did Not Do 73.6 68.2-78.9
Do Not Know 5.1 2.9-8.3

C. I or someone at my company negotiated fees/services with service providers.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Did 27.6 22.1-33.1
Did Not Do 65.9 60.0-71.7
Do Not Know 6.6 3.8-10.5

D. With the help of outside consultants, negotiated fees/services with service providers.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Did 14.6 10.8-19.2
Did Not Do 77.4 72.4-82.4
Do Not Know 8.0 4.9-12.1

Comparing and Assessing Fees - Benchmarks

18. Which best describes how often your company or its fiduciaries analyze and compare the fees and performance of the investment options offered to participants in your 401(k) plan?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
At least monthly 2.3 0.8-5.3
Quarterly 18.1 13.6-23.2
Annually 35.5 29.5-41.5
Less than once a year 5.2 2.6-9.0
When the plan was set up, but not since 16.2 11.7-21.7
Never 11.4 7.4-16.6
Do not know 11.4 7.6-16.2

19. In question 18, you indicated that your company has analyzed and compared the fees and performance of investment options. Which would you rank as the three most important factors that your company took into consideration when assessing specific investments included in the menu of options your company offers or should offer participants? (Enter '1' for most important, '2' for second most, and '3' for third.)

(View question)

A. Investment option adds diversity to the menu available to plan participants

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 36.3 29.4-43.3
Second most important 31.4 24.8-38.0
Third most important 23.1 17.0-29.2
Not ranked 9.2 5.5-14.3

B. Best historical investment returns/performance based on risk plan participants are willing to take

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 32.9 26.1-39.6
Second most important 27.0 20.6-33.3
Third most important 25.2 18.9-31.4
Not ranked 15.0 10.3-20.9

C. Investment option charges relatively low fees

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 14.6 9.9-20.4
Second most important 27.6 21.1-34.2
Third most important 21.6 16.1-27.2
Not ranked 36.2 29.2-43.1

D. Investment option was recommended by our service provider-including bundled provider, financial advisor or third party administrator, etc.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 30.2 23.6-36.8
Second most important 13.2 8.8-18.8
Third most important 21.2 15.5-28.0
Not ranked 35.4 28.6-42.1

E. Other (Please specify)

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Most important 4.0 1.6-8.3
Second most important 0.8 0.1-3.3
Third most important 0.7 0.0-3.2
Not ranked 94.4 89.9-97.4

If you answered "Other" above, please enter the factor considered when assessing specific investments included in the menu of options the plan offers or should offer:

(View question)

20. When reviewing the fees for investment options offered to plan participants or the fees charged by your service providers - including bundled providers, recordkeepers, plan consultants, and third-party administrators - does your company or its fiduciaries analyze or compare your plan fees against benchmark(s) using any of the following methods?

(View question)

A. My company uses peer funds that have similar or identical types of investments.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Uses 34.9 28.2-41.6
Do Not Use 43.2 36.0-50.3
Do Not Know 22.0 16.0-29.0

B. My company uses bids or quotes from outside entities, such as investment managers, plan consultants, or investment advisors.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Uses 26.2 19.9-32.5
Do Not Use 57.8 50.8-64.9
Do Not Know 16.0 10.8-22.4

C. My company hired an outside consultant to develop fee benchmark(s).

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Uses 9.4 6.0-13.8
Do Not Use 73.8 67.5-80.1
Do Not Know 16.8 11.5-23.3

D. My company hired an online rating service to develop fee benchmark(s) services.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Uses 2.5 0.8-6.0
Do Not Use 83.0 76.5-88.3
Do Not Know 14.5 9.6-20.9

E. Other (Please specify below)

(View question)

If you answered "Other" above, please enter other type(s) of benchmark(s):

(View question)

21. How often does your company or its fiduciaries evaluate the menu of investment options offered to participants in your company's 401(k) plan to determine how well it meets your plan's needs and participants' needs?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
At least quarterly 19.2 14.5-24.0
Annually 42.2 36.0-48.4
About every 2-5 years 14.0 9.7-19.2
After more than 5 years 0.6 0.1-2.5
When the plan was set up, but not since 14.1 9.9-19.3
Never 2.3 0.7-5.4
Do not know 7.6 4.5-11.9

Comparing and Assessing Fees - Resources

22. The Form 5500 Annual Report is the primary source of information about the operations, funding, and investments of about 800,000 retirement and welfare benefit plans. The unedited data from all of the filings for each year, including the data in the various schedules, are available on the Department of Labor's (DOL) Web site.

Have you used information from other companies' Form 5500 Annual Reports, which are available on DOL's Web site, to compare or assess the fees charged by your recordkeeper or investment management companies?


(View question)

A. Compare or assess recordkeeper fees

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Used Form 5500 Data 3.0 1.2-6.1
Did Not Use Form 5500 Data 50.1 43.7-56.5
Did Not Know Form 5500 Data Could Be Used 46.9 40.5-53.3

B. Compare or assess retirement plan consultant/investment advisor fees

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Used Form 5500 Data 2.5 0.9-5.4
Did Not Use Form 5500 Data 50.1 43.7-56.6
Did Not Know Form 5500 Data Could Be Used 47.4 41.0-53.9

C. Compare or assess investment management fees

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Used Form 5500 Data 3.0 1.2-6.1
Did Not Use Form 5500 Data 49.2 42.8-55.7
Did Not Know Form 5500 Data Could Be Used 47.8 41.3-54.2

23. The Department of Labor (DOL) also makes available a number of resources related to plan fees, which are available on the DOL's Web site.

Have you used any of the following documents available on the DOL's Web site when comparing or assessing the fees charged by your recordkeeper or investment management companies?

(View question)

A. DOL's A Look At 401(k) Plan Fees, which includes a 401(k) Fees Checklist

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Used Resource 5.8 3.2-9.8
Did Not Use Resource 43.0 36.7-49.3
Did Not Know About The Resource 51.2 44.8-57.6

B. DOL's Model Fee Disclosure Form for Services Provided

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Used Resource 4.0 1.9-7.4
Did Not Use Resource 43.2 36.8-49.6
Did Not Know About The Resource 52.8 46.4-59.2

C. Other DOL resources related to plan fees (Please specify)

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Used Resource 0.9 0.2-2.8
Did Not Use Resource 45.0 38.5-51.6
Did Not Know About The Resource 54.0 47.4-60.6

If you answered "Other" above, please enter other DOL resources used:

(View question)

Plan Fee Disclosures

24. To help ensure plan sponsors obtain the information they need to assess the compensation paid for services rendered to the plan, the Department of Labor revised the 2009 Form 5500 Schedule C in which most "large" plans - typically those with 100 or more participants - must file each year. For example, the Department of Labor now requires plans to identify individuals who received $5,000 or more in direct or indirect compensation (money or anything else of value) for services rendered to the plan or their position with the plan.

Since 2009, have you completed Schedule C as part of your annual Form 5500 return?


(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 13.7 10.3-17.8
No 60.7 54.7-66.7
Do not know 25.6 19.9-31.3

25. Did the fact that you had to collect and report additional information about your service providers (including bundled providers, recordkeepers, plan consultants, and third-party administrators) result in you/your company taking any of the following actions?

(View question)

A. Comparing the fees we pay to those charged by other service providers

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Resulted In 10.7 3.8-22.5
Did Not Result In 89.3 77.5-96.3

B. Helping to negotiate fee amounts with our current provider

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Resulted In 16.8 7.6-30.4
Did Not Result In 83.2 69.7-92.4

C. No action was taken, but it afforded us more useful information about the provider's compensation

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Resulted In 44.6 31.4-57.8
Did Not Result In 55.4 42.2-68.6

D. Other (Please specify below)

(View question)

If you answered "Other" above, please enter other action(s) taken:

(View question)

Plan Fee Disclosures - Revenue Sharing

26. Revenue sharing is a practice in which a plan's service provider - including bundled providers, recordkeepers, plan consultants, and third-party administrators - receives compensation from an outside entity in connection with services rendered to a plan. For example, a plan's recordkeeper and investment fund manager may have an arrangement where the investment fund company collects additional fees from plan assets invested in a particular fund that may then be used as a credit to offset the recordkeeper's fees.

(View question)

A. Do any of the companies that service your plan have revenue sharing arrangements with other service providers?

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Yes 17.6 13.4-22.6
No 34.3 28.3-40.3
Do not know 48.1 41.8-54.4

B. How was the arrangement disclosed? (Check all that apply) If you answered 'Yes' to A, then answer B below.

(View question)

1. Revenue sharing was disclosed in the provider's written contract

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 66.0 53.0-77.4
Not Checked 34.0 22.6-47.0

2. The provider discussed revenue sharing with us during a meeting

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 43.6 31.1-56.2
Not Checked 56.4 43.8-68.9

3. The provider disclosed the revenue sharing arrangement after we asked

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Checked 11.9 4.9-23.1
Not Checked 88.1 76.9-95.1

4. Other (Please specify below)

Other:

(View question)



(View question)

27. How, if at all, did your service providers' revenue sharing arrangement impact your decision to use that service provider? Examples of service providers include bundled providers, recordkeepers, plan consultants, and third-party administrators. (Check the one that best describes your company's decision)

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
We did not consider revenue sharing in our decision making. 41.6 28.1-55.2
We did not know enough about the revenue sharing arrangement to consider it in our decision. 15.5 6.7-28.9
We thought revenue sharing could potentially lower the costs to the company. 36.9 23.6-51.8
We asked the service provider not to use revenue sharing arrangements to service our plan because it would potentially increase costs to the plan. 1.0 0.0-6.0
We considered revenue sharing, but were unable to opt out of the arrangement. 4.9 1.1-13.6

28. Are there types of fee information that the companies that service your plan have given you, or could give you that would help you ensure that the services provided to the plan are necessary and the fees of those services are reasonable?

(View question)

Plan Fee Disclosures - Participants

29. Beginning in November 2011, the Department of Labor will require plan administrators to provide plan participants with certain plan and investment related information. In the chart below are examples of the plan and investment related information that is to be provided to plan participants.

In your opinion, will the types of information in the table below help plan participants understand the fees associated with their 401(k) plan?


(View question)

A. A statement, at least quarterly, of the dollar amount of fees and expenses charged against participants' or beneficiaries' accounts for plan-level services (e.g., legal, accounting, or recordkeeping), along with a description of the services to which the charge or charges relate.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Helpful to Participants' Understanding 67.8 62.1-73.6
Not Helpful to Participants' Understanding 6.1 3.7-9.5
Not Sure if it is Helpful to Participants' Understanding 22.6 17.4-27.8
Item nonresponse 3.5 1.6-6.6

B. Benchmarking data for each investment alternative, where the return is not fixed. Benchmark data are to include the name and returns of an appropriate broad-based securities market index over 1, 5, and 10 year periods.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Helpful to Participants' Understanding 52.1 45.9-58.4
Not Helpful to Participants' Understanding 9.6 6.3-13.8
Not Sure if it is Helpful to Participants' Understanding 34.5 28.5-40.4
Item nonresponse 3.8 1.8-6.9

C. Fees and expenses charged against participants' or beneficiaries' investments, such as commissions, sales loads, and account fees that are not included in the total operating expenses of an investment alternative.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Helpful to Participants' Understanding 70.0 64.3-75.7
Not Helpful to Participants' Understanding 4.9 2.6-8.3
Not Sure if it is Helpful to Participants' Understanding 20.7 15.7-25.7
Item nonresponse 4.4 2.2-7.7

D. The total annual operating expenses of each investment alternative, for a one year period, expressed as a dollar amount for a $1,000 investment.

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
Helpful to Participants' Understanding 58.5 52.4-64.6
Not Helpful to Participants' Understanding 7.2 4.4-11.0
Not Sure if it is Helpful to Participants' Understanding 29.5 23.8-35.2
Item nonresponse 4.8 2.4-8.3

If you answered "Not helpful to participants' understanding" to any of the above, please explain why below:

(View question)

30. Do you have any other comments you would like to share about the Department of Labor's requirements or other legal requirements related to maintaining and operating a 401(k) plan?

(View question)

Additional Plan Fee Information

31. We would like to better understand the fees associated with your company's plan. Can you please either upload a summary of all investment options and the fees associated with each option that were available within your company's plan as of the end of calendar year 2010 or complete the form in question 32? A report would include:

- the complete investment option name or trading symbol (ticker);

- the amount of the total plan assets allocated to each investment option;

- the mutual fund expense ratio-the fund's annual operating expenses expressed as a percentage of assets or basis points.

Example:

Investment Option Name Trading symbol/ticker (if readily available) Asset Amount at end of 2010 (12/31/10) Annual Expense Ratio/Investment Management fee
Company Domestic Equity Growth Fund - A ABC $123,789 1.0%
Company Bond Index Fund XYZ $85,000 25 basis points (bps)

(View question)

Answer
Choices
Estimated
Percentage
95 Percent
Confidence Interval
I will upload a report. 36.3 30.2-42.4
Instead of uploading a report, I will complete question 32. 6.0 3.4-9.6
I do not have a report to upload and I am unable to complete question 32. 50.4 44.0-56.8
No response 7.3 4.4-11.3

Please upload your plan information here. (Please note there is a 2,000 KB file size limit)

(View question)

You might receive an end of year summary document with this information from your recordkeeper or administrator; or it might be accessible through your provider's Web site. (We stress that the information you provide will be kept confidential and will not be released outside GAO. As part of GAO protocols, any dissemination of data compiled from this questionnaire will be stripped of all plan or personally-identifiable information.)

Note: When submitting the plan investment data, please clearly indicate your company and 401(k) plan name on the documents. Thank you.

(View question)

Have you uploaded your report?

(View question)

32. If you cannot upload your investment options data, please use the "Add" link below to enter information about each investment option that was available to participants during calendar year 2010.

Click the "Add" link to enter information about each investment option until you have entered information about all of your investment options. This "Add" link will take you to a new page where you may enter and save the information about the investment option, and then return to this page to add additional investment options or once you are done entering all investments options - complete the survey.

(View question)

Go to sub-questionnaire page

Survey Checklist

33. Have you completed all of the survey questions you are able to answer?

(View question)

Thank you for completing the survey!

(View question)