Playing favorites and making quid pro quo deals have been longstanding practices in the financial services industry, and the 401(k) marketplace is not immune to its ill effects. As such, federal regulators have joined their state counterparts in examining the opaque nature of 401(k) fees and related revenue-sharing arrangements.

Most Americans have a good portion of their retirement savings in deferred contribution vehicles such as 401(k) plans offered by their employers, but there is growing concern about the lack of information plan participants are receiving about the performance and fees associated with their portfolios. Many employees have no idea what they're paying for in these plans and what they're getting in return outside of the bi-monthly deduction from their paycheck.

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