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The days when RIAs were the outsiders at the 401(k) party are fast coming to a close. What's new is that the mass of 401(k) assets is getting critical at about $3 trillion; fiduciary advisors are getting appreciated; fat fees and questionable kickbacks are getting exposed and stepping out of line is getting dicier as the Department of Labor tightens the regulatory screws.

The old reasons why the 401(k) business is attractive are still in place: there are fresh assets pouring in every month and when employees leave jobs or retire, they produce rollovers that build up IRA accounts for financial advisors. The drawbacks of getting into the 401(k) business are still in place, too. Dealing with retirement assets is really a second line of business and it remains -- unless you overcharge with hidden fees -- a low margin business with high potential fiduciary liabilities.

Still, the outsourcers, infrastructure and accumulated knowledge for RIAs to capitalize on is growing daily and a the mega-shift of assets away from brokers is making the 401(k) business riskier and riskier -- to ignore.

Betterment adds 50 firms to its new 401(k) plan -- and IBM and Marcia Wagner connections



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Snakes and ladders: What to expect in the unexpectedly triumphant final DOL fiduciary rule



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Will the alternative assets Intel added to its 401(k) plan backfire legally as well as financially?



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'Bristling' at 'pink-it-and-shrink-it' pitfalls, Sallie Krawcheck files an ADV



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How Mutual Fund Store is the real engine now at Financial Engines



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Hitting a robo wall, Financial Engines buys The Mutual Fund Store for $560 million to bust out of 401(k) confines



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RIAs stay the course in holding Schwab to its promise of an RIA-in-charge 401(k) plan with a promising result



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Abigail Johnson takes Pyramis back to its Fidelity roots after her father tried to create exalted brand



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