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Expanding access to MEPs is being advocated as a significant opportunity to expand access to retirement plans – especially for employees of small businesses. This paper explores the features of MEPs today as compared to traditional single employer plans, then analyzes the potential impact opening MEPs up to more plans could have on the retirement savings landscape.
Unlike traditional single employer plans that are designed to cover the employees of one business or a group of businesses with common ownership interests, MEPs are designed to cover the employees of many different employers. Pooling the assets of multiple businesses into a single plan provides the critical mass needed to negotiate more favorable investment and service fees, like those available to larger plans. MEPs also relieve participating employers of many of the fiduciary and operational duties associated with offering a retirement plan.