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  1. Be sure to check all vendors for available fund families.
  2. Jen, We at ASPire Financial Services are also an available provider in the CCSD. We are listed as offering only American Funds, but that was the decision of the employer (CCSD). We can make available over 400 fund families if the employer so chooses. I do know there is a new executive in CCSD overseeing the plan since it was first established. As a participant, you could request that the district allow 'open architecture', giving access to all those funds (including Vanguard, Fidelity, etc.). Through ASPire you could use the advisor of your choice, or self-direct, using funds with the lowest expenses possible. I believe CCSD was initially allowing only American funds because that was the vendor that needed to be replaced, but there is no cost or effort on the part of the district to allow full open architecture. Daryle P
  3. I'm with ASPire, a record keeper, and in my experience, RIAs using our platform have rarely charged more than .75%, and usually around .50%. Of course, there are the occasional advisor who either offers a much higher level of service than average (or believes he does), but we have seen mostly reasonable fees from the RIAs that have used our service. Certainly more transparent than the broker (12b1) model. Daryle
  4. DaryleP

    457b Loans

    Loans are possible in any governmental 457(b) plan, but have to be allowed by the sponsor's plan document. Daryle ARE LOANS AVAILABLE FROM 457B PLANS? Yes. But only from governmental plans
  5. Sullivanke, *The fee schedule was changed as of Oct. 1. *You are correct in that it was done in response to the large amount of staffing, office space, equipment, etc. we've had to add due to the great demand for access to our platform. *I'm not sure what your status is, whether employer, advisor or participant, so I will just tell you how we announced the new fee schedule. If you are an existing client, then the new fee schedule is moot. I refer to it as a new schedule and not a fee raise because the fee has not been raised for any existing clients. If an account was opened for you at ASP before October 1st, then your custodial/admin fee will remain 0.10%. If your account paperwork was received after Oct 1, then the new schedule would apply. If you are an advisor with a client at ASP, you would have received an email explaining the new fee schedule. For the rest of the world, we have had an announcement on the 'Update' section of our home page for quite some time. This is a good place to check from time to time for updates, newsletters, holiday schedule, etc. DaryleP
  6. Hello all. Both the 20,000+ and the 8,000+ figures are technically correct. 403b ASP does provide access to over 20,000+ funds. We have, however, filtered that list down for different situations, removing funds with high minimums, have been recently closed, etc. We do include the multiple fund share classes so that employers, advisors and participants can view clearly what is available. If an advisor is working with a participant and advises an American A share, that can be accommodated. If a participant wishes to self-direct and elects an American R-5, A Fidelity fund and a Vanguard fund, as long as we are not limited by state or sponsor regulations, we can accommodate that as well. If a participant wishes to use an RIA, such as Mr. Skloff, no-load or load-waived funds with low expense ratios can be chosen, so their RIA fee is a truer picture of the fees the client is paying. It is important to know that 403b ASP is not an investment firm; we are a recordkeeping firm. As such, we do not advise participants at all regarding investments, and since we collect neither sales charges (loads) nor commissions (12b1), we will certainly provide access to any funds (a) our custodian has access to, and (b) state regulations or employer requirements allow. I feel it is bit unjust to judge a firm such as ours by the performance of funds or share classes elected by the participant or their advisor, as we cannot be responsible for their choices, only what is available. I believe full fee disclosure, which seems to be coming in 2010, and further participant education can only lead to better and better choices by and for participants in this field. DaryleP Product Manager 403b ASP You should add also that Higher Expense Ratios in Mutual Funds Do Not Guarantee Lower Risk or Better Performance Morgan Stanley Balanced B BGRBX Expense Ratio=1.84%; 5Yr Avg Annual Return=2.02; 10 Yr Avg Annual Return=2.71% MEMBERS Large Cap Growth B MCPBX Expense Ratio=1.95%; 5Yr Avg Annual Return=0.41; 10 Yr Avg Annual Return= -1.01%
  7. The best way to defend yourself in this battle is to be educated. We all know FINRA, but in case you don't: The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. On their site, www.finra.org, one can click on 'Investors', and on the far right under 'Most Viewed' there is a link named "Fund Analyzer". With this tool, one can research funds, three at a time, by entering an investment amount, estimated return and time frame. The site will then generate a report with Fund Value after 10 Years (based on your input), Profit/Loss (after expenses), and Total Fees & Sales charges, both collective and separately. To create a sample, I entered three no-load funds to see their results, TIAA-CREF Equity Index Fund (TIQRX), Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index (VEIEX), and Fidelity Mid-Cap Growth (FSMGX). Using $10,000 as the investment amount, 5% as the estimated return, and 10 years as the time frame, the Total Fees came out as follows: TIQRX: $417.86 VEIEX: $492.25 FSMGX: $857.01 I also ran some loaded funds, and the results were eye-opening. The site also produces fund info, such as style boxes, objectives, annual returns, etc. The fact that this is the site of a securities regulator should also ease fears of sales tricks or partial disclosure. DaryleP Yakers, Mr. Bogle is fighting for us. Makes me feel so good about being a boglehead. Here are a couple of updates: Click here. And click here Have a good day, Steve
  8. tatulatori, If you can get your employer to add 403b ASP as a vendor option, you can self direct through us and choose from over 23,000 funds, including no-load options from Vanguard, Fidelity, T Rowe, etc. Even if you wanted to use an advisor, you could request that he choose load-waived shares, or retirement class shares such as American R shares. We consider our fees low, especially compared to annuity/insurance products; $40 account fee and 0.15% custodial/admin fee per year. Depending on which funds you choose, you can certainly have a low-cost 403(b), and that's really what this site is about. DaryleP
  9. emcleveland, First, you should know the difference between a Third Party Administrator (TPA) and a Record Keeper (RK). A RK, such as 403b ASP (for whom I work) will act as a vendor in a plan, will sign the Information Sharing Agreements (ISAs) and Hold Harmless (HH) provided by the employer or TPA, and make available whichever funds to which they have access. In our case, we have access to Vanguard, Fidelity, American, T Rowe, and over 400 other fund families. It is the RK who provides access to the accounts online, sends statements quarterly, executes loans, distributions and transfers, and reports participant info to the TPA. The TPA is responsible, among other things, to gather all the info reported to them from the various vendors and ensure that participants are compliant with IRC (not over-contributing, following distribution regs), and the plan document (# of loans, Roth option, hardship, etc.). They will approve loans, distributions and transfers before the RK can execute them. Often an employer will act as their own Administrator if they have a single vendor, as that vendor's info will represent the total of the participants' options, and no overlap of transactions (multiple loans, over-contributions) will occur. It is important for an employer to understand that they are responsible as Administrator, but can hire a Third-Party to act in their stead. We work with around 50 different TPAs, but I am hard-pressed to recommend one, as most of them have reported to us they are currently at full capacity. A good RK, however, will work with whichever TPA your employer chooses. DaryleP
  10. Hannibal, I work for 403b ASP, so allow me to answer a few questions. Answers below, in green: 403b ASP is a record keeper that acts as a vendor in 403(b) plans. As you state, our fees are a $40 account fee and now 0.15% (for new accts) custodial/admin fee. In Gatekeeper plans, we only charge $20 instead of the $40, as Gatekeeper charges their TPA fees separately. Any further costs; internal fund expenses, advisor fees, TPA fees - none of these come to 403b ASP. This is why we have no problem allowing participants to use no-load funds, and/or funds with low expense ratios. I'm not sure what the asset-based fees or the deferred sales charges are that you are referring to, but they are not from 403b ASP. To your other question, no, you do not have to have an advisor. You can certainly self-direct your account. I cannot speak to the feasibility or stability of other firms, but we have experienced great growth and expansion, and our service times and accuracy levels have reach all-time highs. I only ask that you do not lump us in with other vendors, who may be troubled, and remember our difference is that, unless restricted by your employer or state regulations, you can have access to over 22,000 funds through us, so you can certainly find no-load funds with low expense ratios available. DaryleP
  11. Working for a company that acts as a vendor in 403(b) plans, I can tell you a few reasons for delays, in addition to those stated below: * The employer may not send the contributions on the same schedule as the deductions. Ex. some employers deduct contributions twice a month, but send them monthly. * The contributions are usually sent from the employer to a TPA/Common Remitter who then splits up the contributions, and sends them to the appropriate vendors. This could add delay. Also, while most TPAs are extremely reliable, not all have fulfilled their Common Remitting duties properly or promptly. * Quite often, if the employer is sending contributions directly to the vendor, they do not include the payroll roster, which identifies the participants and their specific contributions, checks are not labeled with employer info, or ACH (electronic funds transfers) were sent to the custodian without notice to the vendor. We have spent the last several months educating the payroll personnel of the employers to reduce the possibility of delays. I can only speak for our company, but in communication with other vendors, we have found these to be common across the industry. DaryleP
  12. Steve, You are correct, I first believed that all Spartan funds had those high minimums, but they all do not, and those without minimums are definitely available through us. Also, we certainly provide access to the Vanguard Index Funds. We are currently in the process of creating a fund search/filter feature on our site to find out exactly which funds are available through 403b ASP. We understand how valuable this feature will be, so we are working toward getting it out as soon as possible. This would answer a great deal of questions as to what can be elected by participants. Also, regarding how our company is compensated has been on our FAQ pages for nearly the entire year. It is also on our enrollment form directly above the participant's signature line. Daryle
  13. ft6, Fidelity Spartan funds would be mostly unavailable, but for reasons unrelated to 403b ASP, for example: -SPARTAN EXTENDED MKT INDEX FUND - $100mm min. purchase -SPARTAN INT'L INDEX FUND - $100mm min. purchase -SPARTAN SHORT TERM TRES BD INDX- $100mm min. purchase -SPARTAN US EQ INX FD ADV SH CL- $100K min. initial purchase -SPARTAN TOTAL MKT INDX FD ADV SH- $100mm min. purchase -SPARTAN LONG TERM TRSRY BD INDX- $100mm min. purchase These funds would certainly be desirable because of their micro expense ratios, but those are due to their extremely prohibitive investment minimums. Daryle
  14. Steve, You will be pleased to know that through 403b ASP, participants have access to Vanguard, TR Price, Fidelity, and TIAA-CREF funds, as well as the retirement (R-class, no-load) shares of most other funds companies. Also, if noted on the election page correctly, loaded funds can be elected as load-waived, with the exception of American and Principal Funds. The only limitations we have are when a fund is closed, has a minimum investment amount, or otherwise unavailable to our custodian. Again, we do not limit access to either available funds or investment firms, but an employer may do so if they choose. For instance, some employers only allow American Funds to be an investment choice, but to be sure, we only honor those choices, we do not make them. If these funds are unavailable through 403b ASP to ft6, it is because either the advisor cannot offer them, or the employer has restricted them. In the former case, he can certainly self-direct, in the latter case he would need to take the issue up with his employer. Daryle
  15. Steve, I will try to address some of your concerns. 1. Yes, our account maintenance fee is $40 and our custodial/admin fee is 0.15% or 15 basis points annually. In fact, in many cases, up to $20 of our account fee goes toward offsetting TPA fees, so our average net is much close to $20 per year. Other fees that may affect the participant, but do not relate to 403b ASP are TPA expenses above $20/yr, mutual fund sales charges and internal expenses. This is why we have no problem offering no-load funds with low expenses. 2. How does our company make money? Well, as an independently-owned recordkeeping firm, we've worked hard to keep expenses low, as work every day to improve efficiency. As our CEO said, we don't give out frisbees, extravagent dinners, or all-expense trips for prospects. We don't have advisors, so our marketing is limited to mainly informational pieces about our services. One way we have kept 403(b) fees low is that we provide access to all our forms in pdf format on our site, rather than printing (and charging for) enrollment kits the advisor or sponsor may or may not use. Our fee structure is certainly a point of pride for us. 3. Like you say, most investors, especially in the 403(b) market are not sophisticated investors, so we, on the whole, recommend they find an advisor to assist them. Unfortunately, you are correct in that there are certainly advisors who choose to offer loaded shares in these accounts. However, we have experienced a trend for advisors and their B/D firms to choose no-load funds with reasonable 12b1 commissions. The FundSource Select list, a sample fund list available on our site is comprised of roughly 40 funds, all no-load with a 12b1 of 50 basis points. This has been very popular, and while we make no recommendations regarding investments, it certainly is an option. 4. You are correct again when you say there is a dearth of information regarding sales charges, expense ratios, etc for the average 403(b) investor. The more educated regarding these fees the participant becomes, the more success we experience. Thus far, we have depended on those advisors that are ethical, and are working for the benefit of the client. Also, employers are getting more educated, and some have even told us to restrict their plans to no-load funds. We also appreciate the efforts of watchdogs, like yourself, who act as advocates for the participant through your articles in newspapers and other media. I guess the summary of this is that like in every market, from suits to cars to retirement plans, an educated consumer will be best served. Hopefully, as the market grows, due to IRC changes, people will be exposed to more information, and thanks to people like yourself, they will be able to make more educated decisions. Daryle Daryle, OK, I get it. VG, Fidelity and other no-loads are available at 15 bps and 40.00 per year per account. But the caveat is that the particpant must ask James, Is Vanguard is only available to those that self direct? Or to advisers who are not restricted by their home offices? If a person does not know anything about investing, what do the advisers suggest?
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