How about a slice of 401(cake)?

It began with all the excitement of a three-ring circus (almost literally, you can read about it in “How Investment Theory Explains 401(k) Plan Sponsors’ Evolving Fiduciary Duties,”, Sept. 17, 2013). At the outset, 401(k) plans generally had just the minimum three options required to meet 404(c) standards. This seemed like a lot compared to the usual profit sharing plans offered then. It was enough to give us the control we thought we needed. We didn’t need to change our allocations more than once a quarter. We didn’t need to see our valuation more than once a year. 401(k) plans were easy. We went to bed happy.

What made 401(k) plans get so hard? I blame three things (and I know a lot of people – including some of my close friends – will get angry at me for saying this, but…): Employees, mutual funds and the Morningstar style box.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.


Join BenefitsPRO

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to navigate the shifting employee benefits industry. Join now!

  • Unlimited access to - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and
  • Exclusive discounts on and ALM events.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join BenefitsPRO

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.