Law Firm with 150 Employees

An East Coast law firm with about 150 employees approached Alliance with the following challenge: increase contributions to the partner group without increasing the already generous contribution to staff. We collected their employee census and presented three alternatives which, in varying degrees, accomplished their stated objective.

Contributions per partner were increased by over $20,000 with no additional contribution required for staff.

Law Firm with 20 Employees

A Chicago law firm with 20 employees hired a new accountant. The accountant noticed that all of the firm’s partners had deferred the maximum to their 401(k) plan, but only three staff members were deferring. Suspecting something was amiss, the accountant asked Alliance to review the plan which was, at the time, administered by the law firm’s payroll provider.

We discovered that the payroll firm required the company to identify their own testing groups (which can be very complex), and, unfortunately, they did not properly fill out the form. The law firm’s improper coding of their employees resulted in a passed ADP test – a good result based on bad information. In truth, the firm had badly failed the required test and hired us to help correct this violation.

They now have a much healthier plan.

Machine Shop with 3 Owners and 15 Employees

A suburban Chicago machine shop established a 401(k) plan for its three owners and 15 employees through their insurance agent. They were happy with the initial enrollment meeting and the handouts and had pretty good participation. Business was good, they bought another small machine shop, and six years later they had over 50 employees and almost $2,000,000 in the plan.

Alliance was asked to meet with this company to review their plan. They were fairly happy with the plan, although they had a few concerns regarding the turnover of relationship managers at the insurance company. When we told them that they might be overpaying they said, “No way, this plan is cheap; I think we pay about $2,000 per year, tops!” We then showed them that they may not be writing a large check, but they were paying more than expected because they were being charged extremely high fees on the investment funds. We prepared a spreadsheet and illustrated that if they used the same investment funds and accessed them directly through an open architecture program like Alliance's, they would cut their investment expenses by over $16,000.

Over the seven years they have been a client, we have saved them over $100,000 on the total cost of their plan.