Open Architecture 401k For Financial Advisors

Open Architecture 401k For Financial Advisors

Open architecture 401k has been designed exclusively for financial advisors and CPAs who want to offer their small business clients low-cost, complete 401k plans, including customized plan documents, 24/7 online access, and virtually unlimited selections of mutual funds and self-directed brokerage accounts.

Use 401k Easy to run your clients' 401k plans

You can use a slightly modified 401k Easy system to handle your clients' 401k plan administration with the same ease and efficiency granted to our traditional self-service 401k Easy customers. Read on, or simply contact us for details.

  • As a certified public accountant, you qualify to purchase 401k Easy at a 5% discount.
  • You'll enjoy the same plan-specific system customization that enables our small business clients to run their 401k plans in less than 15 minutes a month, on average.
  • Your clients will supply you with their monthly payroll and census data, and you will process the data using specially customized 401k Easy plan administration software.
  • You will act as liaison between your clients and the investment company(ies) and/or brokerage account company(ies) they have chosen for their 401k plans.
  • You get all of 401k Easy's great automated and plan-specific features, so running your clients' plans is quick and efficient.
  • 401k Easy lets you offer your clients valuable services such as monthly plan compliance testing and monthly participant account statements. Because the services are highly automated within 401k Easy and included free of charge, offering them to your clients' costs your company little more than a few seconds of labor time.
  • Your clients receive a quality plan that has all the flexibility and per-company customization features of a self-run 401k Easy plan with the luxury of having you handle the data processing and investment company interaction.

Have your clients run their own 401k plans using 401k Easy with you as the designated investment advisor

With 401k Easy you have the option of using our customized 401k systems to run your clients' 401k plans from your offices or having each client run its own 401k plan from its own office - with you collecting any asset-based investment fees either way.

  • What could be easier? You refer the client to us, we create a 401k plan and plan administration system specific to your client's needs and funding investments of your recommendation to the client, the client handles its own plan administration and you'll collect all asset-based fees.

Your clients can receive a discount on purchasing 401k Easy, too, if you register with us as an SEC-Registered Investment Advisor. SEC-Registered Investment Advisors receive a 5% discount on 401k Easy purchases they make ((a savings they can pass onto their clients in reduced 401k administration fees, for instance); Referral Partners earn $100 per system purchased by their clients, or they can choose to qualify each client to receive a $100 rebate on its purchase of 401k Easy.

  • You must be registered with us as an SEC-Registered Business Alliance Partner (go to SEC Partner registration) and/or Referral Partner (go to Referral Partner registration) before the purchase is made for you (or your clients) to be eligible for the applicable discounts and rebates.
  • Joining any of the 401k Easy Business Alliance Programs is absolutely FREE and puts you under no obligation to refer any client to us.
  • We never ask you to divulge any client information beyond that specific to an order actually being placed, and we never market related - or unrelated - systems to your clients.

SEC-Registered investment advisors receive a 5% discount on 401k Easy

401k Easy is licensed annually, with the online software and companion materials updated each year in light of 401k regulatory changes as well as technological advances. Each client pays...

  • A one-time, non-refundable, first-year-only 401k plan setup and software customization fee of $995. No discounts are given on this fee.
  • An annual license fee that is based on plan size. For instance, a plan serving 1 to 4 employees costs just $1195 a year, one serving 5 to 10 employees costs $1295 a year, and one serving 16-20 employees costs $1695 a year. The plans you administrate will receive a 5% discount on this annual fee EVERY YEAR.

Please visit our Pricing page to view a complete price list and read about related information (such as free technical support).

Custody of 401k assets

401k Easy is the retail version of 401k Enginuity, our wholesale product offered to plan providers and advisors. The 401k Enginuity administration and recordkeeping platform is the most economical and efficient way an advisor can provide a branded, full-feature 401k to his or her clients. For specifics and wholesale pricing information please go to In addition to offering advisors economical and comprehensive third-party 401k administration and record keeping, we offer 401k asset custody at the following financial institutions:

  • Charles Schwab
  • Fidelity Brokerage
  • Pershing Advisor Solutions
  • TD Ameritrade/Fiserv

We can easily add other custodians to the list. Please phone us at (800) 660-005 for specifics and a quote.

Advisors and Erisa

The following is a summary, in question and answer form, of the Department of Labor's position regarding financial advisory services rendered to 401k pension plans. These guidelines can change without notice, so it is important to review them with your legal council before relying upon them:

  • Is it legal to provide investment advice services or portfolio management services, or both, to ERISA plan participants?

    Yes. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor is on record saying that it wants participants to have as much assistance as possible, and that it encourages plan sponsors to offer participants investment advice if plan sponsors determine their participants need it to make informed decisions.** In addition, the DOL, Congress and the Administration have increasingly voiced strong support of investment advice for participants.

    Portfolio management services have been used in ERISA plans for many years. ERISA includes provisions for plan sponsors to appoint investment managers, and the Department of Labor regulations on 404(c) plans discuss various examples involving investment management services.

  • Would doing nothing, in other words, not providing these services to participants, be safer from a legal perspective?

    Not really. We think that providing advice and/or portfolio management can actually reduce your risk as a plan sponsor. Employees who make uninformed decisions about savings and investing are less likely to be prepared for their retirements. By making advice and/or portfolio management available, you ensure that your employees have access to the help and information they need to plan for their futures, decreasing the chances of dissatisfaction and possible litigation.

    Furthermore, if you as a plan sponsor/fiduciary know that the participants in your plan need help with investing for retirement, you should provide the needed help, whether it is education, advice, professional management, or all three. This is supported by ERISA section 404(a)(1)(B), which requires that all plan fiduciaries exercise their responsibilities "with the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent man acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims." (Emphasis added.)

  • What is the Department of Labor's view on providing advice and/or portfolio management?

    The Department of Labor has stated that providing advice can actually reduce a sponsor's fiduciary risk. In a major policy speech on September 15, 2000, Leslie Kramerich, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration had this to say on the subject:

    "[W]e believe that employers can be responsive to the investment education and investment advice needs of their employees, without significant burdens or risk of liability. The selection of providers that offer informed, unbiased and appropriate investment education or investment advice will, in our view, not only serve to increase the likelihood of employees achieving retirement security, but also significantly reduce the potential for employee dissatisfaction and possible litigation."

  • Is providing investment education a sufficient way to fulfill my role as a fiduciary?

    Informed policymakers caution that relying on education alone is no longer enough. According to DOL's current Assistant Secretary, "[m]eaningful comprehensive investment advice is more important now than it has ever been" and "[i]nvestment education, while important, is simply not enough." Assistant Secretary Ann L. Combs delivered this message to Congress on July 17, 2001 in connection with testimony on the subject of "Retirement Security Advice Legislation" to the Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.