A new web-based platform seeks to use crowdfunding to enable retirement plan participants to commission an investigation of abuses and shortcomings in investment management of their plans.
Through investigatemyretirementplan.com, participants in defined benefit and defined contribution plans can proposed forensic investigations and initiate fundraising to finance the inquiries, said Edward Siedle, president, Benchmark Financial Services Inc., Ocean Ridge, Fla., who created the platform, which launched March 6.
Fundraising proceeds will pay Mr. Siedle to conduct the investigations. Mr. Siedle plans to post the proposals he accepts to the website Kickstarter.com to raise funds through its crowdfunding network, indicating the amount sought for each proposal to conduct the investigation.
Participants who have a stake in the outcome can contribute or anyone else, such as taxpayers concerned about public plan costs.
The key focus of investigations could include conflicts of interest, fee disclosure, excessive fees, company stock allocation and suitability of investment options.
Mr. Siedle plans to present the findings to the officials overseeing the plan and post results, making them available to the public. Any action stemming from the findings would be up to the plan sponsor to take or participants to pursue, Mr. Siedle said.
“If it works even a little, it would change the landscape significantly, creating the possibility participants” can get more involved in oversight of their plan, Mr. Siedle said.