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401(k) Stories


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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.

BrightScope sees sales soar as formerly adversarial big 401(k) companies buy data about their own business


Just what good Bob Reynolds' purchase of J.P. Morgan's billions -- sans sweet brand -- will do for his Great West-Putnam 401(k) empire


Bob Reynolds strikes again in his 401(k) quest -- this time buying JPMorgan's retirement recordkeeping business


How one 'robo-advisor' got $25 billion on its platform with a Mint.com mindset, 401(k) friendliness, a merger and 16 years of work


Phyllis Borzi tightens the noose on 401(k) providers that flout DOL disclosure, not without critics


Under the bankruptcy gun, Invest N Retire will sell its patented 401(k) technology to the highest bidder





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