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Retirement Savings Policy by Michael P. Barry

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Chapter 22 401(k) Plan Fees and Fiduciary Regulation

Fiduciary regulation—regulations aimed at changing fiduciary behavior (and in many respects participant and provider behavior as well)—has been the subject of intense policy focus and has created regulatory hurdles for sponsors, sponsor fiduciaries, and providers.

This regulatory effort has generally been focused on the issue of fees, although in the last round, the Department of Labor’s controversial 2016 “Fiduciary Rule,” the ostensible issue was conflicts of interest. As we’ll see, however, much of what was at stake with respect to the Fiduciary Rule also had to do with fees, and the entangled issues of “conflicted advice” and fees has been an enduring regulatory concern.

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