Employee Fiduciary 401(k) Review – 2019

Employee Fiduciary is a privately-owned business based out of Alabama. It is focused solely on providing retirement plans. The company has approximately 75,000 clients, covering 2,700 plans with a total asset value of $2.8 billion. The company also offers more than 30,000 mutual funds, mainly targeted to small business clients and participants.

Who it’s best for

Employee Fiduciary caters to only small businesses with their 401(k) plan offerings, which allows the company to cater to their clients on a more personal basis. Employee Fiduciary is a small business, which gives them the perspective of what other small businesses need and want when it comes to offering 401(k) plans for their employees. Employee Fiduciary touts this aspect of their business, as they try to sympathize with the small business owners’ plight.

Investment options

Employee Fiduciary’s 401(k) plans allow participants to invest in a wide range of mutual funds and EFTs, even offering index funds from Vanguard and Fidelity without any limitation or mark-up. The company offers a total of 377 funds in their 401(k) plans that are offered strictly to small business clients. While Employee Fiduciary isn’t a full-service financial services firm, they do offer a brokerage option through a partnership with TD Ameritrade, giving their clients an added benefit that they wouldn’t be able to provide on their own.

Setup/plan administration

Again, Employee Fiduciary touts their personal care to all of their clients. Each one of their clients is assigned a dedicated relationship manager who provides “trusted, timely care,” according to the company’s materials. Setting up a 401(k) plan with Employee Fiduciary is easy in this regard, too, because the dedicated relationship manager will walk small business owners and plan sponsors through every step of the setup and administration process.

Administrative costs

Employee Fiduciary makes it very easy to see the costs and fees of running a 401(k) plan with them. In addition, because they cater to small businesses, they provide much lower fees than some other 401(k) providers do. New plans have a $500 establishment fee, an annual fee of $1,500 for up to 30 eligible plan participants and a custody fee of 0.08 percent of the plan assets. The only changes to these costs would be $30 for each additional participant above the 30 threshold, and a $1,000 establishment fee for conversion plans.

Employer and employee customer service

Employee Fiduciary provides very personal customer service for the employer and the employees. They offer an in-depth website with resources and support, as well as telephone customer support. While they do offer a lot of online resources, Employee Fiduciary’s offerings in this area are a little lacking when compared to other 401(k) providers, but that’s to be expected, as they are a small business themselves.

What’s lacking

The biggest things that are lacking with Employee Fiduciary are what some of the other bigger firms can tout – a worldwide reputation for excellence, well-built-out digital technology including mobile applications, a wide range of investment options and more financial services other than just 401(k) plans. Their small business clients, however, might not desire those things. Employee Fiduciary is definitely a niche company providing services solely for small businesses. That’s a positive for these small businesses, especially those with fewer than 30 employees, but it might be a negative for businesses on the medium to large end.

How to get started

Getting started with Employee Fiduciary is simple. You can request a proposal on Employee Fiduciary’s website by filling out a simple form. The company’s cost and fee schedule are readily available on their website, as well, so you should have a solid idea of how much your plan would cost before you even contact them. Speaking directly to an Employee Fiduciary relationship manager, though, will allow you to see all the benefits of working with them. You can also call them directly at (877) 401-5100.

Pros

  • The entire company is designed to serve small business clients only
  • Provides outstanding relationship management for small business clients who often desire that level of personal service
  • Much lower costs than other 401(k) providers
  • Offers a nice variety of mutual funds and also index funds from Vanguard and Fidelity
  • Easy to get started
  • Very transparent cost and fee schedule

Cons

  • Isn’t a full-service financial firm
  • Because they are so niche, they wouldn’t be a great fit for medium to larger businesses
  • Lacking as many investment options as competitors
  • Don’t have the same digital and technology offerings for plan sponsors and participants

Rating breakdown

  • Overall: 4.4
  • Investment Options: 3.9
  • Administrative Costs: 4.9
  • Ease of Set-Up: 4.7
  • Employer and Employee Customer Service: 4.5
  • Reputation: 3.8

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