more-arw search

Q&A Forum

Any experience with Vanguard as small business 401K (or Ascensus recordkeeping)?

Ascensus 401k reviews

I am just starting to look at establishing a 401(K) plan (under 20 people).  Does anyone have experience with Vanguard as a small-company 401(K) provider, or Ascensus 401k reviews as their record keeper (Vanguard uses them)?  I will also look into the recommendations from the April-2009 thread "Looking for new 401k provider."   Anything else I should be looking at?

Also, does anyone have a spreadsheet for comparing across providers they are willing to share?

Thanks in advance....


Lynn Zeiner
Title: Business Manager
Company: DME Alliance, Inc
LinkedIn Profile
(Business Manager, DME Alliance, Inc) |

Yes, we use Vanguard to administer our Simple IRA which includes no fees to us as the employer. I make the contributions online. Very easy to do. One thing to remember is that the employer must match up to 3% of the employee's annual salary as part of the Simple IRA plan.

Judy Monteux
Title: Accountant
Company: StemExpress, LLC
(Accountant, StemExpress, LLC) |

Vanguard terminated our small business 401k several years ago which was fine by me because their administration of the plan was archaic at best. Go with T Rowe Price instead!

Andrea Bornschlegel
Title: Fractional CFO/Controller
Company: Financial Consultant
(Fractional CFO/Controller, Financial Consultant) |

(original poster again) Additional question, does anyone use Employee Fiduciary Corp.? This article touts both them and Vanguard.

Judy: the linked article states Vanguard only started this small-business 401(K) about a year ago...were you maybe in a medium-business one, or something else? If you still think it's the same one -- do you know why they terminated your plan?

Topic Expert
Aaron Codak
Title: Client Services Finance manager, North A..
Company: Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service ..
LinkedIn Profile
(Client Services Finance manager, North Americ, Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service Center)) |

We've used American Funds and have had no problems at all using them - easy and seamless!

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

You might also consider Principal Financial group. Have had positive experience with them and similar sized businesses. In selecting a provider be sure to consider the "service" SLAs and references for similar "scope" clients like yours. You want to make sure they are "committed" to servicing small clients.

Topic Expert
Scott MacDonald
Title: President/Owner
Company: AlphaMac Resources, Inc.
(President/Owner, AlphaMac Resources, Inc.) |

Beware!!!! As the plan sponsor you need to look very closely at the fees charged inside of the mutual funds in these small employer plans. Make sure the fund company is offering institutional class shares without 12b1 fees. Also understand which of the funds are being managed by the administrator. Many of these companies will do the 401k administration and recordkeeping "for free". But they aren't. Find out where and how much they are making inside the mutual funds. Fees directly effect your employees returns so you need to make a serious study of these fees.

Very seldom do these companies act as the actual Trustee for the plan. Therefore, they will want you to be the Trustee, which puts your personal assets at risk. You should only do a 401k where you can hire a corporate Trustee. In most instances this is either a bank or a chartered Trust company.

DO NOT BE A PERSONAL TRUSTEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get some legal advise from an ERISA attorney before you sign up with any company. It will be the best money you ever spent.

Guna Subedi
Title: Owner/President, Shenandoah Medical Asso..
Company: SMA
(Owner/President, Shenandoah Medical Associates, SMA) |

I will not recommend Ascensus. I think they were bought by Mutual of Omaha and below is my problem with them.
We transferred our 401k and profit sharing plan to Vanguard/Ascensus two years ago. It has been OK with occasional hiccups so far but this year has been a nightmare to have our profit sharing portion calculated and deposited on our account. It has been sitting on trust fund for last three months. When we call they have same questions we have answered by email and by phone many times. There is no one consistent contact person for small business client service team and in fact there does not seem to have any team as one does not seem to know what the other is doing and they do not even seem to be interested on reading the thread of emails to find the details of problem.


Get Free Membership

By signing up, you will receive emails from Proformative regarding Proformative programs, events, community news and activity. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact Us.

Business Exchange

Browse the Business Exchange to find information, resources and peer reviews to help you select the right solution for your business.

Learn more

Contribute to Community

If you’re interested in learning more about contributing to your Proformative community, we have many ways for you to get involved. Please email [email protected] to learn more about becoming a speaker or contributing to the blogs/Q&A Forum.