Lincoln Trust Offers Plan, Participant Fee Disclosure Solution

Lincoln Trust Company is offering a fee disclosure solution that it says goes beyond next year’s regulatory requirements. 

The Denver, Colorado-based provider of open architecture 401(k), profit sharing and self-directed IRA solutions, this week introduces the Personalized Expense Ratio (PER), which it described as “one of the retirement industry’s most precise all-in 401(k) plan cost calculations”.

Available exclusively on the Lincoln Trust 401(k) platform, PER is intended for participants, plan sponsors, and advisors to see the actual cost of their plans without having to perform calculations themselves.  According to the announcement, PER was designed to go beyond the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) recent revisions to 408(b)(2) and 404(a)(5) reporting requirements, noting that neither regulation calls for the calculation and display of a plan’s or a participant’s total plan cost.

“We didn’t think that the DOL regulations went far enough to provide a clear understanding of the true cost of a 401(k) plan,” says Tom Gonnella, senior vice president of Corporate Development for Lincoln Trust Company. “Our ‘Personalized Expense Ratio’ was designed to provide a more precise calculation by including investment expenses and aggregating fees from multiple service providers.”

 Lincoln Trust’s is one of the first platforms to combine actual fees paid with investment expenses in a single calculation, both for the individual participant and for the entire plan. Fee categories include:

  • recordkeeping,
  • advisor,
  • TPA, and
  • investment expense fees,
  • as well as revenue sharing offsets.

According to the announcement, PER also calculates and displays investment costs using a participant’s average daily balance rather than just period-end balance. 

“Our due diligence process takes a lot of effort, and PER goes a long ways toward reducing the work load,” says Paula Hendrickson, Director of Retirement Services, First Western Trust, “More than that, PER’s transparency and benchmarking gives us a greater level of understanding of a plan’s fees, both absolutely and relatively.”

The DOL only requires the disclosure of the expense ratios and the amount per $1,000 that it would cost participants to be invested in the fund, leaving the burden on the participant to perform the calculations to determine their investment expense, according to the announcement.

“We don’t believe that participants, plan sponsors or advisors should have to wonder what they’re paying for their 401(k) plans,” says Gonnella. “And we don’t think each party should be burdened with having to perform this calculation themselves. With PER, Lincoln Trust provides all the information in a simple to understand figure along with a relevant benchmark.”

Lincoln Trust has more than 2,000 qualified plan clients and $7.6 billion in retirement assets.  The firm provides trust, custodial, recordkeeping and administration services to open architecture 401(k) plans and other defined contribution plans.  More information is available at, or via phone at 1-855-719-5796.