A Better Way to Manage Your 401(k) Account

September 30, 2021  | By Matt Pierce

By Matthew Pierce, CFA

This month, we added a new technology platform, called FeeX, to help us better manage our clients’ employer-sponsored 401(k) accounts and other outside assets. In the coming weeks, we will begin migrating clients to this new platform. If you currently have outside accounts managed by AWM, we will be reaching out to you with next steps.

If you have outside assets that are not currently managed by AWM and are interested in learning more, please reach out to your advisor.

Why are we using FeeX?

Improved Security

  • FeeX invested significant resources into their security architecture to conform to the highest standards in financial services. We are happy to provide additional information if you would like to learn more about their security standards.
  • We will no longer need to receive or store client login credentials.

Efficient Review and Trading

  • FeeX provides a single login to trade and review all client outside accounts.
  • We can maintain custom investment models for each client account.
  • We receive proactive alerts notifying us of changes to your plan or opportunities to rebalance your portfolio.
  • The system accommodates management of ‘Direct Brokerage’ accounts through 401(k) plans that allow them. These accounts provide full access to retail investments at major brokerage firms like Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and TD Ameritrade.

Seamless Integration with Orion

  • You can continue to view the performance of all of your assets in one place through the Orion Client Portal.

Adding Value to 401(k) Accounts, By:

Curing ‘Default-itis’

  • Many of us never change the ringtone on our cell phones. The same is common for 401(k) investments. The ‘default’ investment portfolio may not be the most appropriate for your situation.

Removing Sneaky Bond Allocations

  • ‘Target Date’ funds simplify the investment decisions in a 401(k), but they may be more conservative than you want them to be. Their one-size-fits-all approach is a step in the right direction, but an unnecessary bond allocation of 10% can reduce your returns by 0.50% or more per year.

Rebalancing

  • Some 401(k) plans allow automatic rebalancing, which we encourage clients to use. An automatic semi-annual rebalance will return your investments to the target allocations twice per year, buying low and selling high. If markets move dramatically in between those automated rebalance events, there is an opportunity to manually rebalance to take advantage of price movements.

Adapting to Menu Changes

  • 401(k) plans have investment committees that decide which investments should be available to participants. They usually make changes once per year and have a tendency to replace recent poor performers with recent high performers (buying high and selling low!) They will automatically ‘map’ your funds to the replacement investments, unless action is taken otherwise.

Managing Direct Brokerage Accounts

  • Some 401(k) plans allow a ‘Direct Brokerage Window’, which allows access to a regular brokerage account at one of the major custodians. This expands investment options to the complete offering of the stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. More options can be attractive, but these accounts are cumbersome to manage, because they require active movement of funds and trade orders.
Posted in: Investing, Retirement
Matthew Pierce, CFA
512.960.4273   |  [email protected]

Having started his career in the depths of the 2007/2008 financial crisis, Matt is acutely aware of the need for sound portfolio construction and risk management and is dedicated to delivering on those objectives. While Matt can often be found…Read More




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