Vanguard expands 401(k) service for small, mid-size businessesNews added by Benefits Pro on April 11, 2013

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By By Paula Aven Gladych

Vanguard is expanding the availability of its low-cost 401(k) plan service for small and mid-size businesses to plan sponsors who work with third-party administrators.

Vanguard Retirement Plan Access was introduced in October 2011 and initially targeted at plan sponsors and fee-only advisors and planners who work with sponsors.

Vanguard Retirement Plan Access is now available to third-party administrators (TPAs), who typically provide plan design, compliance, administrative support, and other assistance to plan sponsors.

Vanguard Retirement Plan Access is approaching $2 billion in assets under management. A growing number of sponsors of small- to mid-sized plans work with TPAs. Cerulli Associates predicts that TPA-influenced assets will increase to 22.5 percent of 401(k) assets in 2014.

“Industry research has shown that Americans will save more through 401(k) and other defined contribution plans with proper incentives and services,” said Chris McIsaac, managing director of Vanguard's Institutional Group. “Making Vanguard Retirement Plan Access available to a wider group may encourage more plan sponsors to offer plans that are low-cost, effective, and easy-to-use — all of which is good news for workers who need help saving for retirement.”

Vanguard Retirement Plan Access is available to a range of plans, from start-ups to those with $20 million-plus in assets. The service helps plan sponsors and financial professionals select and monitor appropriate investments by offering them a platform that supports thousands of investment options. It emphasizes Vanguard’s low-cost, broad-market index funds, including the Vanguard Target Retirement Funds. Sponsors may also construct their plan’s investment lineup using non-Vanguard funds and ETFs.

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