fiduciary retirement plan consulting

beyond funds, fees, and fiduciary governance.

how do you define success for your  retirement program?

Are you really focusing on the right things in your 401(k) or 403(b)?  You spend all this time monitoring the plan’s funds and fees, and worrying about your fiduciary governance; but are your employees actually on track to have enough money to retire?  And what does it cost you as their employer if they have to delay retirement?

Studies show that 54% of Americans are stressed about their financial situation.  Consequently, they spend an average of 13 hours per month at work worrying about their finances.  This estimated annual cost for you, their employer, for this lost productivity is estimated to average $7,000 per year for each financially stressed employee. 

This also often leads to behaviors that derail retirement savings.  For example, one in four pre-retirees take money from their retirement plans, and 50% of workers age 60 and over plan to work until age 70 or later.  This costs you somewhere between $10,000 to $50,000 in insurance and benefits for each year an employee delays retirement.  Plus, the lack of advancement for your younger workers can increase turnover, with an average cost of $15,000 per employee that you consequently lose.

delayed retirements dramatically impact your bottom line! 
there is “a smarter way” to gauge the success of your 401(k) or 403(b) 
our 5-step process
intellicents has a 5-step process for improving the retirement readiness of your workforce, centered on both you the plan sponsor and your participants: 

step one

define success

We recommend you strive to achieve 75% of your participants being on-track to maintain their same standard of living during their retirement years as they are accustomed  to during their working career.  Don’t worry, we can measure that for you; and for most employers it’s below 30%.  The real shock will come when we show you the projected liability you have for delayed retirements.


step two

implement plan design

Auto everything… enrollment, contribution escalation, AND investment. Plans that utilize auto features have a 21% higher participation rate than plans that don’t. Your employees will thank you for it when they can retire on time AND with enough money.

step three

implement wellness program

Our intellicents university curriculum includes both education and onsite financial planning services to promote participant engagement. How can we expect Americans to save more when they are maxed out on three to five credit cards, and have no idea how to create a household budget?  Half of workers say that retirement, financial, and health care planning programs would be helpful in increasing their productivity on the job.


step four

add participant advice

This is what your participants need and want. Our advisors come onsite for one-on-one meetings, and all of your people will have access to our allmymoney® financial wellness app. A 1% improvement in their investment performance could boost the number of your employees that are 80% to 100% retirement ready by 15%. Smart people supported by great technology!


step five

benchmark progress

You will receive an annual Plan Sponsor Aggregate Retirement Readiness Report detailing the progress we have made; plus your participants will get an annual retirement readiness report projecting whether they are on track to achieve a comfortable retirement.  And your report benchmarking your looming liability for delayed retirements should markedly improve.

When you help your employees to be on target for a successful retirement, everybody wins. But what about monitoring the plan’s funds, fees, and fiduciary governance? It’s important. 

don't worry,
we do that too!

fiduciary governance services

holistic employee education

participant advice services

an intellicent service structure

to learn more

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cost saving strategies for your retirement program

passive vs. active investment management

Active money managers generally employ high-priced humans to manage the underlying investments. Most often their goal is to out-perform their pre-defined benchmark. Historical data shows that many active managers fail to provide this performance premium. Therefore, another option is to actually “buy the benchmark” by instead hiring low-cost passive index managers. For most plans, investment management costs are the biggest expense. Numerous recent fiduciary lawsuits center on plan sponsors failing to monitor this expense.

hire a fiduciary investment advisor for the plan

The vast majority of plans hire an experienced fiduciary investment advisor to not only assist in selecting and monitoring the plan’s investment menu, but to also oversee the responsibility of controlling plan costs. In essence, you are outsourcing some or most of your fiduciary responsibility, allowing you to focus on what you’re an expert at – getting more of your product or service out the door. Plus, the really good advisors will help you identify and decrease a huge hidden expense for most employers – the cost of delayed retirements.


Despite dramatic industry fee compression, plan service providers seldom voluntarily offer to reduce their fees. If you’ve been with a service provider for five years or longer, nothing brings them to the negotiating table faster than issuing a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) or briefer Request for Information (RFI). Plus, the results of this exercise don’t look bad to have in your Investment Committee or Administrative Committee minutes from a fiduciary governance standpoint.


Plan fees have come down dramatically over the last several years. Proper fiduciary governance warrants plan sponsors to do a total cost analysis on an annual basis, and benchmark their plan relative to plans of a similar size. Fortunately, there are national data bases available for this comparison.

buying in bulk

There is no question that more money buys you a better deal in the financial services business. Consequently, big plans have a lower overall cost structure than smaller plans, measured as a percentage of total plan assets. There are, however, ways for smaller plans to band together and collectively become a bigger plan, and thus get better pricing.

CITs verses mutual funds

Without question, mutual funds are the dominant form of investment vehicle found in plans today, but they are not the only legal investment vehicle for plans to choose from. Many large plans have further reduced their investment management expense by moving to Collective Investment Trusts (CITs) for some or all of their investment options. Mutual funds were invented to allow the small retail investor to adequately diversify, and they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. CITs, however, are regulated by banking law, and are not available for the individual to invest in outside their 401(k) plan. Consequently, their cost for doing business can be lower. Once available only to very large plans, many are now available to even the very small plan. And many mutual fund companies are actually coming out with lower cost CIT versions of their mutual fund options.

cheaper share classes

Plan sponsors should always be evaluating whether there are cheaper share classes of their existing funds available. Most fund families offer lower cost “institutional share classes” for retirement plans. Recent rulings by the Department of Labor and the courts illustrate that this level of analysis is clearly an expectation of fiduciaries.

utilization of low-cost mutual funds and ETFs

Whether your plan offers active or passive funds or both, higher investment management fees do not buy you better investment management talent. There is no correlation between higher fees and higher performance. The one thing in the investment management equation that is controllable is cost. And several 401(k) recordkeepers today allow low-cost ETFs to be in the plan’s available universe of funds to choose from.

our mission:
Get your employees “to” and “through” retirement... 
...on time and with enough cash. 

toll free  800.880.4015

Investment advisory services offered through intellicents investment solutions, an SEC registered investment adviser.

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