Plan sponsors quietly harbor fears that they don't really understand the costs well enough to adequately explain them to participants, according to a recent survey by Chatham Partners. The fact that 77% of those surveyed say current disclosure levels are sufficient doesn't jibe with the fact that only 25% are "very confident" that they truly grasp the investment plan's cost components, says Andrew McCollum, Chatham managing director. "Plan sponsors are starting to realize what they don't know about fees," he says. "The collective epiphany is going to play into the hands of retirement plan providers at the leading edge of full disclosure."

Indeed, says McCollum, many sponsors will likely switch to providers that offer unambigious descriptions of fee components, clear communications about fee-related fiduciary responsibilities and reliable benchmarking of fees compared to similar plans, he notes.

These survey results come as Congress considers legislation and the Labor Department strengthens regulations to require more fee disclosure.

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