Calling revenue-sharing agreements between mutual funds and 401(k) administrators “controversial,” today’s “Fund Track” column in The Wall Street Journal urges investors to pay attention to these fees, since some funds levy them and others do not. Actively managed funds in large plans, rather than index funds or small plans, tend to charge higher revenue-sharing fees, the column warns.

According to a recent study by Callan Associates, only abut 12% of plans that use revenue-sharing have the entire lineup of funds contributing to the fees, which typically range from six to 35 basis points. “The concern is it’s not equitable,” said Lori Lucas, head of the defined contribution practice at Callan. “Some people could pay almost all of the costs. Some could pay none of the costs. What funds you select can determine whether you pay or not.”

“Almost every single plan will have different funds that pay different amounts,” agreed Pamela Heess, director of retirement research at Hewitt Associates. “It can be all over the map.”

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