Aptus' 401(K) Plans Focus on Low, Transparent Fees and individual Counseling

Aptus Financial is building a new, unique 401(k) practice because we think the industry needs to be re-built from the ground up to dramatically reduce opaque fees and to refocus on education and individual counseling, which is really what helps both sponsors and participants improve outcomes—ultimately higher retirement incomes and financial peace of mind. We've always tried to do things the right way, with just one objective in mind: helping our clients achieve their financial goals. We bring that some mentality to our 401(k) offering, which we believe represents the future of the industry. Not just different or better, but the most ethical and transparent program possible. This is a mission for us.


the Aptus 401(k) Advantage

Advantage 1: Our fixed fees are low and shrink as a percentage of assets over time. Many traditional 401(k) advisers charge a percentage of plan assets so the fees naturally increase as your assets grow over time.

Advantage 2: We focus on education and offer holistic, one-on-one counseling to every plan participant. With education and counseling, participation and savings increase and employee well being improves.  

Advantage 3: Our plans incorporate passively-managed investment options, which historically have outperformed most actively managed funds.

Advantage 4: We are led by a team of highly credentialed professionals.

Advantage 5: We are true fiduciaries and have worked hard to remove all conflicts of interest from our business.

Advantage 6: We facilitate seamless transitions from existing plans and are neutral on your choice of record keeping providers, including working with existing record keepers when appropriate.    


Why Change?

Perhaps the biggest barriers to evaluating a change in your 401(k) plan are inertia—“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”—and entrenched, long-term relationships—“our current provider does a great job.” So why change? Why should you give us a call?

401(k) Sponsor Quiz

  1. Are you aware of all the layers of fees in your 401(k) plans?

  2. Are your 401(k) fees reflective of the value you and your participants receive?

  3. Do the funds in your plan consistently beat passively managed alternatives?

  4. Do your plan participants receive counseling that addresses topics outside of the scope of 401(k) fund allocation—like household budgeting, student loan consolidation and mortgage refinancing—which clearly impact 401(k) savings rates and employee well-being?

  5. Does your current 401(k) adviser hold a Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Financial Planner designation?

  6. Is your current adviser a true fiduciary, both as defined by ERISA Section 3(38) and in the truer sense of having no conflicts of interest?

  7. Does your current adviser sell insurance or other financial products? If so, do you have provisions in your contract to negate those conflicts of interest?

  8. Are the rates of participation and rates of savings in your plan as high as you’d like?

  9. Are your switching costs meaningful if you can keep your current record keeper/third-party administrator?

  10. Are you willing to pay more than you should in 401(k) fees in order to maintain your current relationship?


401(k) Pricing

Our fixed fees are low and shrink as a percentage of assets over time. Many traditional 401(k) advisors charge a percentage of plan assets so the fees naturally increase as your assets grow over time. At Aptus, our transparent fees reflect actual services provided and generally correlate with the number of active plan participants.

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To understand the impact of our low, fixed fees on individual participants over time, we’ve looked at a hypothetical 40-year-old with an initial 401(k) balance of $50,000. Assuming he or she contributes $10,000 per year with a $2,000 employer match, we ran a simulation over 25 years to see how their account balance would grow with Aptus’ low fixed fees in conjunction with low-cost passive funds versus a traditional plan with advisor fees and fund fees totaling 1% of assets under management.


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in the news

TUESDAY, APRIL 10 – LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Aptus Financial is excited to announce the launch of a new 401(k) advisory practice, led by Tim Quillin. Quillin is joining Aptus after 18 years at Stephens Inc. and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) designation. The CFA is the most respected and recognized investment management designation in the world and Tim is 1 of only 112 CFA charterholders in the state of Arkansas.    

“My aspiration is to help people make smarter financial decisions to support their wants, needs, hopes and dreams. I was attracted to Aptus’ focus on providing clear-eyed, unbiased, holistic advice to individuals and 401(k) participants,” said Quillin.

The Aptus 401(k) platform is positioned to redefine the company retirement market by offering low, fixed fee pricing rather than the standard industry percentage pricing. “Tim Quillin’s investment expertise and passion for financial advice is the right combination for helping people save more in their retirement plans and for companies to know they have a strong fiduciary,” says Sarah Catherine Gutierrez, founder and principal of Aptus. ”It is an added bonus that savers will also enjoy lower fees.”

Aptus fund lineups incorporate passively managed index funds, which historically have outperformed most actively managed funds. By pricing advisory services as a fixed fee, fees start low and decline as a percentage of assets over time. The Aptus platform is neutral and able to work with the company’s existing recordkeeping which can make plan transitions swift, smooth and seamless.

“Most importantly, we focus on education and counseling to make sure people make informed decisions on their 401(k) allocations and other financial topics in their lives,” added Gutierrez. “In turn, this helps increase savings rates and potentially improves job satisfaction and retention.”

Finally, Aptus is a true fiduciary, removing all conflicts of interest from its practice. “Billing our clients only for the advice we give and not selling any financial products or having revenue sharing agreements on the investment fund line-up fully aligns our interests with our clients,” said Quillin.

During his time at Stephens Inc., Quillin was an equity research analyst with expertise in communications, cyber and defense technology. He was recognized multiple times for his stock picking ability in the Wall Street Journal Best of the Street survey.

More recently he worked as an analyst at Circumference Group, a technology-focused, long-only investment fund. Earlier in his career Tim served as a commissioned officer and explosives ordnance disposal technician in the U.S. Army. He holds an MBA from the University of Iowa and a BSBA from the University of Arizona.

To learn more about Aptus Financial, visit