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401(k)bps

Dialing in to the Web for employee retirement plans

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This story appears in the February 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

With the talent war besieging companies of all sizes, good help is scarce-and employees have grown accustomed to the good life. Once upon a time, a 401(k) retirement program was a tantalizing plum on a company's list of benefits; these days it's a must-have.

Now, thanks to a number of companies taking 401(k)s to the Web, entrepreneurs can afford plans that previously would have demanded high fees and additional staff. The key is automation, says Bill Carey, executive vice president of Covington, Kentucky-based Fidelity Institutional Retirement Services Co., which runs Fidelitye401k.com. Because the process-from enrollment and selection of investment options to administration-is handled online, fewer resources are needed to run it. Carey estimates the cost of an e401(k) at roughly half that of a traditional plan. Also, Fidelityarticipants can choose from up to 25 funds-more than in traditional plans.

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