One wonders how much comfort 401(k) participants will take in knowing sponsors deliberated all of, say, 12 minutes or 20 minutes in setting up their plan -- a decision that could affect them the rest of their lives and determine a major part of their retirement income.
Yet, Investmart Inc., Pittsburgh, has a website that enables plan sponsors to design and implement a plan in only 20 minutes. GoldK.com LLC, Waltham, Mass., is developing a site that will set up a plan in only 12 minutes. Normally, according to Mark Gensheimer, Investmart president, the process takes six to nine months.
Now, many people probably would take 20 minutes to order by telephone the Showtime Rotisserie, featured on Ron Popeil's infomercial. "Just set it and forget it," so goes Mr. Popeil's famous dictum.
But to set up in minutes a defined contribution plan, including design and implementation, as executives of the firms claim they can do? Well, everyone is for speeding things up, but participants deserve more than 12 or 20 minutes. It's doubtful at this point that such hyperspeed will trump more traditional consulting in setting up 401(k)s. Ultimately, the market will decide how good these fast-track methods are.