Less is More, Except for Fee Disclosure

As I start revising client service agreements for my third party administration firm and registered investment advisory clients for a flat fee (cheap plug) to comply with the fee disclosure regulations, it really asks the questions with how to proceed.

As an attorney having survived two law firms, I can attest that many attorneys need to overwhelm their clients with legalese wording that only confuses the client and many times, the attorney that drafted it. I believe in writing in English, so the client and their clients understand what they are signing and what is being disclosed.

As for plan documents that I draft for a flat fee (another shameless cheap plug), I believe less is more. When it comes to complying with fee disclosure, I believe more is more with a caveat. I believe that service providers need to fully describe the fees they charge and the compensation they receive, so the clients will not claim that the service provider is committing a sleight of hand trick.

So while plan providers should be forthcoming with fee disclosure, the agreements and the disclosure should be written in a language that the plan sponsor will understand, so it will make it easier for them to understand what fees are being charged. By doing that, it allows the plan sponsor to determine whether the fees are reasonable for the services provided and making their job easier.

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