Average total 401(k) plan costs declined in 2019 among plans of almost all asset sizes, according to the latest annual edition of the 401k Averages Book.
Large retirement plans with 1,000 participants and $50 million in assets saw total plan costs dip last year to 0.91% from 0.93% in 2018. Meanwhile, average total plan costs for small retirement plans with 100 participants and $5 million in assets fell 0.01 percentage points to 1.23% from 1.24%.
Total plan costs include investment, record-keeping and administration fees, as well as trustee costs paid by the company or the participant.
For plans with 50 participants, costs declined across all plan asset sizes. For those with $500,000 in assets, costs fell to 2.23% from 2.24%, while those with $2.5 million and $5 million dropped 0.01 percentage points to 1.37% and 1.16%, respectively. Their costs in 2015 were 2.31%, 1.43% and 1.22%, respectively.
Of the 24 combinations of participant and asset sizes analyzed in the book, all but two posted a decrease in total plan costs. The two that did not decline — those with 200 participants and $2 million in assets and those with 1,000 participants and $10 million in assets — remained unchanged, at 1.64% and 1.38%, respectively, from last year.