Vanguard to offer 401(k) services to small firms

NEW YORK (AP) ? Investment manager Vanguard said Wednesday that it plans to offer a 401(k) plan service for small businesses.

Vanguard said the service is designed for 401(k) and profit-sharing plans with assets below $20 million. That could include companies with just a handful of employees or as many as about 1,000, said Linda Wolohan, a Vanguard spokeswoman.

Details on pricing will become available in the fourth quarter, when the service is slated to launch. Wolohan said the total plan costs for investment and record-keeping are expected to be among the lowest in the industry.

Vanguard said the service will be “bundled,” meaning retirement outsourcing services company Ascensus will act as the record keeper and administrator. Vanguard provides its own record-keeping and administrative services for its larger clients.

The service will include funds, record-keeping, call center services, compliance testing, participant education and optional services such as self-directed brokerage and trustee services. It will be available to plan sponsors and fee-only advisers who serve sponsors.