The UPAL Member Advantage: Reduced Costs


When UPAL lowers Retirement Program costs, there’s no catch. It’s by design.

When UPAL recently reduced its fees for Retirement Program services by 8-12% – without affecting our comprehensive service deliverables available to all participating Plan Sponsors – we did so with little fanfare. So, what’s the catch?

The truth is…there is no catch.

Reduced costs are a benefit of economies of scale. Reduced costs are a benefit of structural changes. Reduced costs are a benefit of client ownership. You could say they’re an inherent part of our DNA.

A 27-year track record of putting members first

In fact, the March waiver of all Plan administrative fees and this most recent fee reduction is consistent with an intentional pattern of lowering costs since UPAL was first founded by Drs. Terry Dolan, Donald Stout, Victor Robards, and the late James Snipes and John Alexander. In those early years, costs exceeded 1.25% as a percentage of Program assets. UPAL maintained that pattern in good markets and bad, and today, aggregate costs average just 0.70% as a percentage of Program assets, including ALL administrative, recordkeeping, trustee, legal compliance and investment management services.

As with the recent conversion to a more passive Core Investment Platform, some have responded to these initiatives with skepticism. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised at this reaction. After all, as big banks and brokerage firms struggle, fees have proliferated – both in amounts and types of “extra” user fees. Proposed debit card fees provoked consumer outrage, and longstanding irritations such as account-closing charges at some brokerage firms and fund companies now grate on nerves rubbed raw by difficult financial times.

Client Utilization and Ownership: The Source of Savings

So skepticism might be understandable, but UPAL’s cost reductions are not a one-time, short-term gimmick. They’re not “loss-leaders” borne of the latest marketing strategy. They’re not an act of altruism. They’re structural.

UPAL is owned by its member physicians. This unique structural mutuality aligns the interests of UPAL with those of its client physicians. As more physician clients have utilized UPAL financial services and invested in its Core Investment Platform, the Company has realized economies of scale and gained access to institutional-class investments with lower cost structures. And, those economies have been passed on to member physicians sponsoring a retirement plan participating in the Program in the form of reduced costs.

As UPAL attracts even more clients, and economies of scale grow, we have more wherewithal to enhance services and reduce costs further, even in unsettled markets. It’s the benefit of client ownership.

Thank you for your trust and loyalty. Your UPAL Board has worked tirelessly to earn both.