That’s the expression that AllianceBernstein, the global asset management firm, uses to describe what 401(k) plan are all about now. Since the beginning of 401(k) plans over 25 years ago, 401(k) providers have escalated the number of plan features to stay competitive with other providers. We’ve seen the evolution of such features as:

  • Daily valuation
  • Loans
  • Self-directed brokerage
  • Web access
  • Investment education tools
  • Multi-share classes
  • Co-fiduciary responsibility
  • Advice tools

But AllianceBernstein’s 2006 research shows that it isn’t about that any more. What employers and employees want, says their 2006 research, is quite basic.

Employers want to "keep it simple”. They want 401(k) plans that focus on participant needs, are user friendly, and provide personal service.

Employees also want 401(k) plans that "just do it for me” Plans that require little work to join, little work to invest, and minimize tough decisions.

Now let’s move forward!

Picture credit: The new New Economy Analyst Report – Oct 06, 2001, Juergen Daum.