Broker Check
Clearly state your value.

Clearly state your value.

| May 25, 2024

One of my clients is looking at getting divorced. The divorce attorney we are consulting clearly stated her hourly rate. $650. A colleague of mine has been asked to create valuations for several businesses. She told the requesting party she will start for an upfront fee of $20,000. My start-up 401k fee is $2,000 per year and 0.80% of plan assets.

Why, as an industry, are we afraid to state our fees? I was thinking about this as I read an article on the Department of Labor's efforts to understand the effectiveness of existing reporting and disclosure requirements for certain retirement plans under ERISA. I will admit I was excited when the 408b2 and 404a5 fee disclosure requirements came out.

But excitement has been muted and tamped down as there is no uniform way of presenting fees. One 401k provider listed every possible fee, start with the most obscure fees. Perhaps they hoped the reader would give up in frustration? Another provider had the same stock answer after each fee category: Please refer to the General Administration Agreement. Are they counting on the reader looking up another document and reading it or are they hoping the reader will also give up?

Why is it so difficult to say $650? $20,000? $2,000 + 0.8% of plan assets? I know my value and I am happy to quantify it. My fees may scare some people off. And that is fine. I am not looking to work with just anyone. I am looking to work with people who get what I do and appreciate my work.

Bottom line? Know your value. Quantify your value. And state your value loudly and proudly. You may find you attract the audience you desire.