403(b) Reform: 403(b) Reform Efforts
Despite predating the 401(k) by several decades (1958 vs. 1978), the 403(b) plan suffers a myriad of problems that adversely affect participants. All too often investment fees are too high and access to low-cost mutual funds is too limited. This is especially true in public K-14 plans. While entrenched interests are fighting to protect the status quo (and often fat profit margins), advocates are wising up and fighting back. There is a growing movement to reform the 403(b). Reform initiatives are happening at both the national and state level.
Need for Better 403(b) Investment Choices
Too many participants lack access to low-cost investment products.
403(b) Fee Transparency
It is far too difficult for participants to find clear fee and surrender charge information.
End Union Product Endorsement
Unions, including the NEA, have endorsed 403(b) products that do not have the participant's best interest in mind.
403(b) arena full of sales agents pitching high-fee products that serve their interests at the expense of their client's. Require all 403(b) investment professionals to take a fiduciary pledge that puts their client's interests above their own. Note: New Fiduciary rules do not apply to public 403(b) plans. We encourage all participants to have any advisor they plan to work with sign the 403(b)wise Advisory Fiduciary Pledge.
Perseverance led to change.