Retirement planning is no simple task - but it just got a little easier. A growing number of specialized firms have started digging deep into retirement plan documents to unearth competitive details about how the plans work. This new due diligence is developing ahead of Labor Department regulations, which are scheduled to take effect early next year, that will require more detailed disclosures of underlying plan expenses.

In February, the Labor Department will begin requiring retirement plan providers and third-party administrators to reveal investment expenses and service provider fees to plan sponsors. Employers, as the plan fiduciaries, will be required to disclose what participants' share of the plan costs are. The idea is to give firms and investors the data they need to make informed decisions about their retirement savings.

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