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Financial Planning / Foolish 401(k)s


Subject:  Re: Administrative fees? Date:  12/3/2002  12:03 PM
Author:  mjolah Number:  15571 of 26351

I disagree with what W401k says about charging fees for distributions (directly to the participant). The Department of Labor has opined on the issue, and has indicated that when a participant exercises an ERISA right with respect to the plan, a separate fee cannot be charged to that participant (but could be charged to the plan as a whole). The issue the DOL dealt with was a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and held that because a QDRO was an ERISA mandate (read "right") for splitting a benefit in a divorce, the participant affected could not be charged a fee for its review and approval. Most commentators believe that taking a distribution is an ERISA right, and hence a separate fee may NOT be charged to the participant. Distinquish a distribution (which is an ERISA right central to the purpose of the plan) from a loan, which is an optional provision not required in a plan. Most providers do charge loan fees, because of the processing issues (and loss of investment management revenue!) and the DOL allows those fees.

I'd go make them give you the money back....

(ERISA Counsel to a service provider)
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