ASA Empower 401k Change

TO: Atlantic Southeast Airlines 401k Plan Participants

On November 2, 2015, some changes took place in the ASA Empower 401k plan. In the letter to plan participants, Empower announced that they were changing the share class of the fund. Different share classes of mutual funds generally give discounts on management fees for larger investments. It makes sense that a 401k plan the size of ASA’s should be getting preferred pricing. The Empower notice is actually moving funds from the discounted share classes to, in some cases, the most expensive share class.

If the funds stay the same, this is not good for participants in the ASA 401k plan. However, after speaking with ASA ALPA R&I about their discussion with the company, it appears that this is a transition period into a more transparent 401k plan. In the past the fees have been shared by the plan participants, meaning the more expensive funds covered the plans administration costs, as well as the larger accounts. Funds like the large cap index fund did not cover any admin costs. Going forward ExpressJet has indicated that the participants will pay a monthly fee for administration, allowing the company to negotiate better rates on the current line up of funds and more fee transparency. I have seen a list of what they hope to negotiate and the fees are very reasonable. Why this was not all done at once, like SkyWest and Legacy ExpressJet was not explained.

Until we know the final cost of the funds, I am recommending no changes to Wiser Wealth’s current recommended ASA 401k models. Should the expenses remain the same, we will have to adjust accordingly.

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