Benchmarking Provides a False Sense of Security
Many plan sponsors mistakenly believe that performing a benchmarking study that indicates the reasonableness of their fees compared to other providers also indicates reasonableness based on the level of services their providers are offering. However, these studies tend to exclude the less expensive flat fee-based providers, which if included, would clearly have given a very different impression.
Setting the Standard
Alliance Pension has an especially interesting model which focuses on transparent flat fee pricing, but does not base its pricing directly on the number of participants. Their model has greater precision because it focuses on the amount of time spent, and for this reason, in many instances it can offer significantly more competitive pricing than even other flat fee-based providers because the amount of time required to service a plan with 200 participants, for example, does not actually differ much from a plan with 400 participants.
And when you take Alliance Pension’s open architecture platform, high quality record keeping system which is audited by a national accounting firm, custom-designed non-prototype plan documents and forms, low client and employee turnover, and high level of employee expertise demonstrated by each employee’s professional certifications and significant industry experience into account, their value proposition becomes clear. Granted, there are lower cost providers who can be a better fit for plans with basic needs, but ideally plan sponsors should consider cost in proportion to value.