Web-based 401(k) management tools popular with small business employees

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Offering employees in small businesses an opportunity to save for retirement in a company-sponsored plan is no longer enough, small business owners are discovering. Their employees want the same kind of access to information about their accounts and tools that can help them manage their accounts that employees in large companies have. Companies are finding that retirement plans that give employees the opportunity to play an active role in their savings and investments are attractive benefits to new hires, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Consulting firms and the larger payroll service providers offer some of these tools to clients, but only 41 percent of accounting, legal, engineering and retail firms provide benefits web sites to their employees compared to 53 percent of employers across all industries, a MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool survey has found.

Spectrum Pension Consultants of Tacoma, WA offers retirement plan clients financial management tools, calculators, and a Web page which features a daily update on the value of their funds. Spectrum's fees range from $15 to $19 per month per employee. The Web-based retirement plan program offered by Weiss Group Inc., of Des Plaines, IL features an Internet site that allows users to see account balances at the end of each trading day and permits them to move money around between different mutual funds. Both Spectrum and Weiss use software from Relius, a unit of SunGard Data Systems Inc. of Wayne, PA, the Journal says.

Gayle Rose founded a data backup and recovery company, Electronic Vaulting, Inc. in 2005 in Memphis, TN but did not initially offer a retirement plan. Wanting to hire executives from local and national companies, in 2007 she asked Adams Keegan Inc., a local firm that handles payroll and retirement, to set up a plan that gives the employee access to online tools and fund performance reports. Ms. Rose said, according to the Journal, that within months of setting up her retirement benefits program she was able to recruit two senior employees from larger companies.

The large payroll providers generally support employees' desire to take an active part in their retirement saving. They provide access to Plan Sponsor web pages as well as to enrollment specialists and call centers.

ADP says that their 401(k) plan is ideal for companies either starting a 401(k) plan for the first time or that have an existing 401(k) plan but want more out of their plan. The ADP program is a comprehensive package from initial plan design and enrollment through investment options, record keeping, and compliance testing. It offers a Plan Sponsor Call Center and website, access to enrollment specialists and automatic account rebalancing.

CompuPay's Web-enabled retirement solution, Power401K, provides small businesses with a complete online retirement plan with online employee enrollment and ongoing plan management. Like the other large payroll companies CompuPay's 401(k) program offers full compliance testing and tax reporting features, and control of all plan information, forms, and disclosures.

Paychex, a partner of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), offers a Web-based 401(k) plan that accounting firms can manage for their clients along with other payroll tasks. Paychex plans feature 24-hour online or telephone access to participant account information and a toll-free support line available for employers and employees.

These are just a few of the options available today.

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