Fisher Investments urges careful approach to Pooled Employer Plan regulation

CAMAS, Wash., July 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Fisher Investments, one of the world’s largest fee-only investment advisers with over $125…

CAMAS, Wash., July 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Fisher Investments, one of the world’s largest fee-only investment advisers with over $125 billion in assets, and also an ERISA 3(38) Investment Manager, has signaled its strong support for Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) in a letter to the Department of Labor (DOL), but cautioned that regulatory guidance for these plans should be crafted carefully to avoid inadvertent or counterproductive limitations on options available to plan participants.

PEPs, which were established as part of the 2019 Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, will allow unrelated and smaller employers that don’t share a common industry or location to participate in a single, shared 401(k) plan so they can take advantage of their collective purchasing power to provide retirement plans to their employees.   

Fisher Investments expressed its views in response to the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration’s (EBSA’s) request for comments on its planned regulatory guidance on PEPs. In its response, the firm asserts that additional exemptions and limitations on products and services do not need to be added to PEP plan rulemaking. The letter focused on two key points:

  • A single entity can serve as the pooled plan provider and the investment manager, without raising the need for additional prohibited transaction relief;
  • Not all proprietary investment products raise prohibited transactions.

PEPs empower plan administrators to act as Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) fiduciaries on behalf of participating employers.  Similar to Multiple Employer Plans (MEPs), the ultimate goal of this new approach will be to provide an efficient retirement alternative to small, independent employers.

Fisher Investments’ letter covers issues around plan structure and investment options including:

  • How the firm would structure PEPs to maximize retirement savings while addressing the varied needs of plan participants with different levels of sophistication.
  • Potential conflicts of interest that may arise in working with PEPs and how these can be avoided.
  • Appropriate investment products that may be included in plans.

“Pooled Employer Plans present a major opportunity to increase the retirement security of working Americans by providing them access to top quality investments. In creating this option, the Department of Labor and EBSA have struck a blow in addressing the current retirement savings crisis,” said Nathan Fisher, Founder and Senior Executive Vice President of Fisher Investments 401(k) Solutions. “With the correct approach, these plans can provide a vital new retirement savings vehicle for a significant number of Americans.”

The letter can be read in its entirety here at the following link.

About Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments is one of the world’s largest independent, fee-only investment advisers and serves over 74,000 clients globally. Fisher Investments and its subsidiaries currently manage over $125 billion in assets—over $78 billion for North American private investors, over $31 billion for institutional investors, over $12 billion for European private investors and over $1 billion for small and mid-size business 401k plans. Fisher Investments maintains four principal business groups: US Private Client, Institutional, Private Client International and 401(k) Solutions, which serve a diverse global client base. Founder and Executive Chairman, Ken Fisher, wrote the Forbes “Portfolio Strategy” column from 1984 through 2016, making him the longest continuously running columnist in the magazine’s history. He now writes monthly, native language columns in major media organs spanning Western Europe and Asia, including Germany’s Focus Money, Denmark’s Børsen, the Netherland’s De Telegraaf, Switzerland’s Handelszeitung, Spain’s El Economista, Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore, France’s L’Opinion, Belgium’s La Libre, Austria’s Trend, China’s Caixin, the Hong Kong Economic Journal, Taiwan’s Business Weekly, and South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo. Ken has also written 11 books, including 4 New York Times bestsellers. For more information on Fisher Investments, please visit or call us at 1-888-823-9566.

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SOURCE Fisher Investments