The proposed redefinition of fiduciary by regulators could unintentionally push small employers out of the 401(k) market, according to a survey by Greenwald & Associates.

The Greenwald survey polled 607 sponsors and decision-makers in businesses with up to 500 employees. About 30 percent said the new definition of fiduciary would make them "at least somewhat likely" to eliminate current retirement plans.

The Department of Labor has proposed expanding the definition of fiduciary to include the financial institutions that advise sponsors on plan implementation. Currently, advisors can help direct a program without being considered a fiduciary and being beholden to the obligations and liabilities under that distinction.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.