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The PBS 'Frontline' 401(k) documentary names suspects but leaves out major culprits of the theft of the American retirement

Wall Street charges excessive hidden fees, but it's all within the bounds that the system allows

Author Guest Columnist Scott Pritchard May 8, 2013 at 6:20 AM
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Scott Pritchard: A plan sponsor said recently: 'Other issues are just bigger than the 401(k) plan. As long as it's low-maintenance, then I’m happy.'

Scott Pritchard



May 9, 2013 — 1:45 PM

“All plan sponsors or participants have to do is take the small step to seek out the involvement of a fee-only, independent registered investment advisor who is legally bound by a fiduciary standard of care to act solely in the best interests of participants”.

As a participant in a 401(k) plan at my company, I often wondered about fees myself. I guess there was the Plan document I could review but I never took the time. Inertia.

However, I am not sure if the above offered advice would really be in my best interest as it doesn’t take into account the company match my company offers. It seems by taking my business to a fee-only planner, I would lose that benefit. Are the fees really so high that the loss of the company match plus the fee I paid the planner would off-set?

Scott Pritchard

Scott Pritchard

May 10, 2013 — 2:37 AM

Mike, I should clarify that my advice for a participant to seek out the services of a fee-only RIA was intended to encourage you as a participant to press your employer to engage a fee-only RIA to serve your plan.

While the advice of an RIA is certainly valuable, it would take an outrageously bad investment line-up and onerous fees to make it worth taking assets out of a plan and foregoing the company match.

The ideal situation is certainly to stay in your plan, benefit from the match, and have your investment offerings built by a fee-only, fiduciary RIA who uses only low-cost, passive funds.



May 28, 2013 — 4:58 PM


The passive, low-fee approach is a sales pitch. The smartest guys on wall street, and off, make decisions based on risk, not rewards and fees. At best, a core/satellite approach might be worth arguing over but since your article is nothing more than an advertisement for your firm…..

“prudently diversified portfolios that are constructed using low-cost, passive funds”

As a prudent adviser you should know that the process of building a “diversified portfolio” is an act (and not necessarily a prudent one) of allocating in itself. Diversification can be interpreted in many ways, as can RISK. The most successful hedge funds in the world are successful (and not accessible to the common man because they can afford not to be) because they are prudent managers, of risk, not the diversification of rewards.



June 26, 2014 — 9:03 AM

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June 26, 2014 — 10:28 AM

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