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ShareBuilder 401k Adds Tiered Allocation Services for Profit Sharing Plans

Enables Partnerships and Small Businesses to Customize Plans by Group, Tenure or Age

SEATTLE — ING DIRECT's ShareBuilder 401k, a leading provider of retirement plans for small businesses, has expanded its profit sharing 401(k) plan options in ways that now enable small business owners to award several different levels of contributions to their employees based on group-specific criteria.

"Traditional profit sharing plans award the same percentage of employer contributions to each employee based on their annual salary," said ShareBuilder 401k General Manager Stuart Robertson. "By contrast, advanced profit sharing 401(k) plans give employers more flexibility in allocating different percentages of contributions to different levels of employees based on skill sets, age or other important criteria."

Previously, ShareBuilder 401k's offered a standardized advanced profit sharing plan that was limited to two tiers of allocations. The enhanced plan offers the flexibility to create as many tiers as appropriate for each business.

ShareBuilder 401k has named the enhanced offering Tiered Profit Sharing so any business can quickly understand the 401(k) plan type and key benefit.

"We found that many businesses, especially law firms and other partnerships, have very unique profit sharing needs, so we've expanded our platform with the help of Ascensus, a plan administrator, to be as customizable as possible," said Robertson. "Our new product name, low pricing and enhanced services make it easy for any business to align business profits with each defined employee group's impact on results."

One of the first firms to sign-up for the new offering was Tousley Brain Stephens, PLLC in Seattle.

"Tiered profit sharing is the perfect fit for a firm like ours that has several distinct groups of employees," said Julie Livengood, executive director at Tousley Brain Stephens, PLLC. "We've looked at a lot of different 401(k) plans on the market but found this to be the only one that fit our needs in terms of both affordability and access to expert support."

ShareBuilder 401k provides small businesses with two primary ways to structure a tiered profit sharing 401(k) plan. In both scenarios, contributions are placed in a 401(k) making them tax-deductible for the employer.

The first is a "new comparability" structure that sorts employees into different groups based on income or other clearly-defined criteria of which compensation is a component. Partnerships, such as law firms, are perhaps best-suited for tiered profit sharing plans as they're comprised of clearly-defined groups of employees. A legal firm often includes partners, attorneys, paralegals and administrative staff. In this setting, the plan would likely align higher-to-lower percentages of allocations to partners, attorneys, paralegals and administrative staff.

The second is called "age-weighted" structure which uses each participant's age as the primary factor for allocation with older employees receiving the highest percentage. This can be a great fit for small businesses that may have a large percentage of older employees with a short window of time to accumulate savings for retirement.

The new plan, which starts at $190 a month, also provides added fiduciary oversight.

"The fact that we share in the investment fiduciary role is pretty unique in the industry" says Robertson. "And it's something that clearly resonates with law firms and other businesses that are looking to lower the business risk of offering a retirement plan."

About ShareBuilder 401k
ShareBuilder 401k, also known as ShareBuilder Advisors, LLC, provides easy and affordable 401(k) plans for small businesses, ranging from the self-employed to those with 500 or more employees. ShareBuilder 401k is a leader in providing 100% index-based ETF investments (plus a money market) in retirement plans. ShareBuilder 401k offers a suite of on-demand services that make it simple for employers and employees to open and manage their retirement plans online at ShareBuilder 401k plans provide market-efficient investments and model portfolios that make it easy for employees to select the smart investments to help them get on track to meet their retirement goals. Customers can also take advantage of ShareBuilder 401k Consultants, Customer Success Managers, and Customer Care Agents to receive assistance in choosing and managing their retirement benefits.

About Ascensus
With more than 30 years of industry experience, Ascensus delivers high-quality solutions for every segment of the retirement plan marketplace. A division of Crump Group, Inc., a leading provider of retirement services and the largest, most diversified wholesale insurance distributor in the U.S., Ascensus services nearly 27,000 defined contribution plans in the micro to large markets and administers over 1.5 million IRAs. Core capabilities include ERISA consulting, compliance support, sales, trust services, multilingual participant education, training and documentation. Solutions are offered with open architecture investment capabilities tailored to the needs of institutional partners, third party administrators, financial advisors, plan sponsors and participants. Learn more at

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Dan Branley, Launch Communications

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