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A better idea: A way small businesses could join retirement forces

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Joe Ready, the director of Institutional Retirement and Trust at Wells Fargo, said his company administers about $300 billion in retirement plan assets for more than 3.6 million people.

And while those dollars and employees obviously are spread out over numerous organizations, Ready said there is power in numbers — and hopes a new plan will be created to take advantage of just that.

Ready said a proposal being discussed in the benefits world would encourage the creation of multi-employer 401k plans — enabling small companies to get the advantage of offering a 401k plan while sharing in the administration costs.

"You could have tens or hundreds of employers in these plans, and every employer would have the same investment fund lineup and rules (under the purview of an independent fiduciary institution)," he said.

Ready said currently these multi-employer 401k plans are mostly used by affiliated companies. As things stand now, there are administrative burdens and reporting complexities preventing them from becoming more mainstream.

But Ready said with some regulatory streamlining by the government, they could be offered more widely.

And be far more vibrant than the proposed MyRA.

Ready said Wells Fargo is, well, ready for this idea.

"It is something we would definitely evaluate," he said.

E-mail to: beth@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @bethfitzgerald8

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