Washington State Retirement Marketplace Website Streamlines 401(k) Shopping for Small Businesses

Virtual retirement plan marketplace offers a menu of low-cost plans that meet strict criteria

Bellingham, Washington, April 13, 2018Saturna Trust Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary investment advisory firm Saturna Capital, is pleased to participate in the launch of Washington’s Retirement Marketplace website, which features Saturna as its first provider of employer 401(k) plans.

The Retirement Marketplace streamlines 401(k) shopping for small businesses because they can be assured the online portal features only plans that meet stringent criteria established by the Washington State Legislature, including a fee cap.

Kalen Hanna, Saturna’s Employer Services Manager believes Washington is on the right track with the Marketplace. “When we’re in the field talking to small business owners and human resources professionals they often express their frustration and confusion about plan complexity and fee structure. For those who may be on the fence about starting a 401(k) plan or switching providers, it can be a hurdle,” he said. “There’s a fear of fees and charges buried in the small print that will produce that ‘gotcha’ moment.”

“We’re hearing from employers that selecting plans from the Retirement Marketplace increases their confidence, and they feel relieved that some of the legwork is done for them. This means they can fast-forward to choosing a plan that will work for their business knowing that it meets certain criteria. In our experience, this removes a big barrier to action for many employers, and we see it helping to fulfill the state’s goal of closing the retirement savings gap,” added Hanna.

The Marketplace online portal, the first of its kind in the US, offers individuals and small businesses information and resources to comparison shop for retirement savings plans that meet strict criteria established by the Washington State Legislature. Providers may not charge a participating employer an administrative fee and may not charge plan enrollees more than 1.00% in total annual administrative fees, for example. Regulations also specify that plans must include certain types of investment options, and that providers must be licensed and in good standing with applicable financial regulatory authorities. Because the portal includes providers and plans subject to annual review and renewal by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, plan shoppers can be assured that each plan meets established state guidelines.

Saturna Trust Company filed five low-cost 401(k) plans with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions that are currently available via the Retirement Marketplace portal administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce. The plans are designed to meet needs of small business owners, from sole proprietorships to businesses with up to 100 employees.

The Washington Department of Commerce estimates that 131,000 businesses in the state do not offer employees a way to save for retirement. To encourage higher retirement plan participation rates, the Retirement Marketplace was designed to simplify the process of plan shopping by offering low-cost options for both individuals and employers. Individuals and businesses can choose from a range of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to 401(k)s by comparing plans listed  via the portal. The Retirement Marketplace website displays savings plan details, such as fees, services, and account minimums, as well as contact information for each provider.

For more information about Saturna Trust Company’s retirement plans, visit Washington’s  Retirement Marketplace at www.retirementmarketplace.com. For information about Saturna Capital and its subsidiary Saturna Trust Company, visit www.saturna.com