Thursday, May 16, 2013

Changes in the TAG 401(k) Plan

We get questions:

[You say:] "[F]ees will go up a few basis points for people in Vanguard index funds -- which now pay zero fees."

Index funds are not managed, that's why they are cheap and historically they outperform managed funds.

People are catching on and moving more to these. Is the Union just trying to get more money to the admins?

Managed fund fees cannibalize a large amount of individual gains and usually for lower returns, sounds very fishy or the trustees are grossly uninformed... simple math.

Actually, the union is working to chop expenses. Here's why changes are happening. ...

The TAG 401(k) Plan has had expenses since its inception in 1995, all of them borne by Plan participants. (This is the same deal participants get in the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan, in case you're wondering. Expenses of the billion-dollar MPI Pension Plan are paid by the people in it.)

PIMCO, T. Rowe Price, Neuberger Berman and other funds on the TAG 401(k) Plan platform charge fees, and a slice of those fees get remitted to the plan administrator (Mass Mutual) to pay for operating all the moving parts of our multi-employer plan. Vanguard Target Retirement Funds are the only funds that give no fees back to the plan administrator.

(Good deal for people in the Vanguard Funds, yes?)

Since last year, 401(k) plans nationwide have faced new regulations that require them to be more transparent. (What are the costs of the American Beacon Large Cap Value Fund? How much are participants paying for for T. Rowe Price Spectrum Growth? "Participants need to know," sayeth the government.)

There have also been lawsuits against 401(k) plans that don't use the lowest-cost share classes for the mutual funds inside the Plan. This being the case, the trustees have directed the plan administrator to reduce every mutual fund offered to the lowest possible expense ratio. (Most are already at the lowest ratio, but a few aren't.)

This will be a good thing for plan participants, but it could leave the Plan's operating budget under-funded because cash flow coming back to Mass Mutual from different funds will be lower. To make up any difference, plan participants will pay some of the costs on a pro rata basis out of their accounts, including individuals in the Vanguard funds.

Here are current costs of TAG 401(k) Plan's most popular funds:

Expense Ratios

PIMCO Total Return -- .67%
T. Rowe Price Spectrum Growth -- .8%
Vanguard Target Retirement Funds -- .17%-.19%
MM S & P 500 Index Fund -- .21%
Mid Cap Index -- .16%
Northern Small Cap Index -- .38%
International Equity Index -- .37%

(My opinion? Avoid the higher-priced, actively managed funds, dive into the index funds.)


Andrew Nette said...

My name is Andrew Nette. I am trying to get in contact with Steve Hulett, business representative of the Animation Guild, Apologies for making contact through this blog, but I cannot seem to access your e-amil through the site.

My inquiry is in relation to Jack W Thomas, who wrote a series of books about teenagers in the seventies for Bantam.

I came across a article on IMDB that originally appeared in Varieyy in 2010, that Thomas had been elected to your Executive Board in 2010.

Very briefly, I and another Melbourne author are putting together a book on counter cultural/youth fiction from the US, Australia and the UK in the sixties and seventies. We are very keen to feature Thomas's books and, if possible, do an interview with him, either by phone or e-mail.

Any help you can provide to get in contact with Thomas would be very appreciated.

You can contact me at if you are able to help me.


Andrew Nette

Jose Rivolta said...

Hola, hemos agregado un trackback (enlace hacia este artículo) en el nuestro ya que nos pareció muy interesante la información detallada... De todas formas, no quisimos copiarla, sino que nuestros lectores vengan directamente a la fuente. Gracias...

Steve Hulett said...


My e-mail is

You can access it through our website

Steve Hulett
(818) 845-7500

(I'm not sure this is same Jack Thomas. In fact, don't think it is.)

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