Our approach

Key benefits

Leaders of small and mid-sized businesses have multiple roles and competing priorities. You want a best-in-class retirement plan but may be unsure about all the complexities and requirements. You may be uncertain about the costs and fees involved. You need a provider focused solely on retirement and aligned with your needs and goals.

Vanguard is committed to the retirement business and is a leader in the retirement plan industry. Best of all, you can benefit from Vanguard’s unique ownership structure: We’re owned by our clients and not by outside investors or stockholders. That means you never need to question whose interests come first for us. This approach serves as a foundation for all that we do with Vanguard Retirement Plan Access™, our 401(k) offer for small and mid-sized plans. You can count on our expertise to remove the uncertainties from managing your plan and our leadership to help you offer a strong plan for your participants.

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Resource Center

Defined Contribution Resource Center

Working with your partners
We can work with your advisor and third-party administrator to create a state-of-the-art plan.



As a business owner and plan fiduciary, ambiguity in retirement plan costs can cause concern. Research has shown that plan costs for the smaller end of the market tend to be higher, and you need a retirement plan provider that not only provides transparent pricing but has a fair and reasonable cost structure.

With Vanguard Retirement Plan Access:

  • You receive an All-in Fee Report that shows the total cost of your plan.
  • You have access to low-cost Vanguard index funds, plus the opportunity to choose among more than 10,000 non-Vanguard funds.
  • Your annual recordkeeping price is based on a per-participant fee—a fee that doesn’t jump as your assets grow, as with many small to mid-sized retirement plans.
  • You have flexibility in how you cover your plan costs—including a recordkeeping credit depending on the share class selected.

Too busy?

As a business owner, you’re pressed for time and focused on many aspects of business. You want an accurate, effective plan that’s not a burden or time-consuming. You need a high-quality recordkeeper with experts who can guide you and make your retirement plan easier to manage.

With Vanguard Retirement Plan Access, day-to-day recordkeeping is managed by Ascensus, one of the nation’s top recordkeeping firms focused on small business, according to a plan sponsor survey conducted by Cogent Research.1 Managing more than 42,000 plans and with more than 30 years of experience, Ascensus has a long tradition of outstanding client service.

1 Source: Cogent Research, 2012. Cogent Research provides custom research, syndicated research products, and evidence-based consulting to organizations in the financial services, life sciences, and consumer goods industries. This institutional investor survey was conducted independently by Cogent. Vanguard neither commissioned nor paid to be included. Cogent has conducted unrelated, custom market research for Vanguard in the past.


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