New Infographic: How are Small Plan 401k Fees Split?

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Where do 401k fees go? Learn from the 401k Averages Book's New Infographic

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The lion’s share of participant 401(k) fees come from investment related expenses.

“The lion’s share of participant 401k fees come from investment related expenses,” said David Huntley, co-author of the 401k Averages Book.

According to the 401k Averages Book’s new infographic, Breakdown of Small Plan 401k Fees, investment related expenses account for nearly 94% of a participant’s total plan costs. “When we break it down further you find 43% is for investment management, 51% is available for revenue sharing and 6% for hard dollar recordkeeping costs,” said Huntley.

Some key takeaways from this infographic include a chart that shows small plan fees have declined from 1.30% in 2011 to 1.25% in 2016. Or that the average participant in a small 401k plan, defined as a plan with $5,000,000 in assets and 100 participants, pays $623 in total plan fees. Other key points on the infographic provide insights to average investment costs for target date funds, large US equity funds and other typical 401k investments.

The infographic is updated annually and is available to subscribers of the 401k Averages Book or downloaded from

About 401k Averages Book
Published since 1995, the 401k Averages Book is the only resource book available for non-biased, comparative 401k average cost information. It's designed to provide retirement plan advisors, employers and financial professionals with essential 401k cost information needed to determine if their 401k plan costs are above or below average. The 17th Edition of the 401k Averages Book is available for $95 and can be purchased by calling (888) 401-3089 or online at

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Joseph W. Valletta
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