Who (or What) Is 401(k) Easy?

We have been in the 401(k) business since its inception over thirty years ago. The founder of the company, Mr. James Gilbert, was previously an account executive with both Merrill Lynch and Dean Witter, specializing in IRA retirement accounts. When the 401(k) was introduced to Merrill Lynch stockbrokers in the early 80s as a new financial product, Mr. Gilbert was mesmerized by its potential and quickly decided to devote himself to it.

Mr. Gilbert tried using the Merrill Lynch and Dean Witter 401(k) products but saw their weaknesses and high relative costs. He saw tremendous opportunity in starting a new type of 401(k) from the ground up. It would be low in price, use IRS pre-approved prototype 401(k) plan documents, offer unlimited mutual fund investment options, and, most importantly, never deduct or skim fees from 401(k) assets. Mr. Gilbert’s 401(k) would derive all its revenues by directly invoicing the small business owner and never deducting fees from employees.

Mr. Gilbert named his 401(k) service "401(k) Easy" and was granted a trademark by the US Patent and Trademark Office. He began promoting 401(k) Easy through advertisements targeting small business owners, used direct mail campaigns, and thousands of "cold calls”. He spent countless hours explaining the tax advantages of the 401(k) to small business owners. Today virtually every business owner knows about the tax advantages of 401(k) plans, but back in the early 80s, very few people knew or understood their significance.

401(k) Easy proliferated, and when websites and search engines became the primary way to promote services to small business owners, 401(k) Easy went completely “online.”. Mr. Gilbert invented a type of 401(k) that was unique and used individual mutual fund accounts integrated with specialized software designed to track participants' retirement savings from start to finish. For his unique 401(k) business process invention, Mr. Gilbert was granted US patent number 6041313 (Please see patent details below).

As a direct result of 401(k) Easy’s reputation and success, Union Bank of California contacted Mr. Gilbert, negotiated the use of his patent, and hired him to build a version of 401(k) Easy for Union Bank's small business clients. The software, named 401(k) Enginuity, took more than a year to write, build and test. It required the full-time efforts of ten software engineers who worked closely with Union Bank employees to make the perfect 401(k) recordkeeping product for Union Bank ( please see details and press release below). Today 401(k) Easy continues to rely upon 401(k) Enginuity as the backbone for its online services.

Pension Systems Corporation owns 401(k) Easy and 401(k) Enginuity, a California corporation established in 2008. Along with 401(k) Easy and 401(k) Enginuity, Penson Systems Corporation owns several other 401(k)-related online websites and services, including a new ultra-low-cost 401(k) called No Fees 401(k). This relatively new Pension Systems Corporation lineup member is essentially 401(k) Easy’s “little brother." No Fees 401(k) is the perfect low-cost "starter" for a small business. What makes both 401(k) Easy and No Fees 401(k) alike is that both guarantee never to deduct or skim fully disclosed or hidden fees from 401(k) participants' accounts. Also, 401(k) Easy and No Fees 401(k) provides employee participants with unlimited investment options by offering self-directed brokerage accounts from top companies like Charles Schwab, among others. With self-directed brokerage accounts, participants can select investments that fit their goals, needs, and experience. In addition, self-directed brokerage accounts free the small business owner from the responsibilities and liabilities of selecting investments for the company’s 401(k).

About the Founder & CEO of Pension Systems Corporation

Mr. James Gilbert, founder and CEO of Pension Systems Corporation (PSC), launched low-priced, complete 401(k) plans in 2008. His company is based upon a US Patent he was awarded in 2000 (401(k) User Software, Patent 6041313). PSC is a California corporation (CA 3121569) and has maintained an A+ rating with the US Better Business Bureau for the past 25 years. James’ education, work experience, and professional background have made him an expert in affordable 401(k) plans that quickly adapt to the needs of small business owners like himself.

Mr. Gilbert graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in the late '70s. His first significant corporate job was as general sales manager of KFOG Radio in San Francisco, California. At the time, KFOG was owned by General Electric. As a GE manager, James attended exclusive seminars taught by GE CEO Jack Welsch, America's most famous and influential corporate leader at that time.

While as a manager of General Electric’s KFOG Radio (and with GE's full knowledge and approval), Mr. Gilbert started Radio Ad Monitor (RAM), a radio advertising research company. RAM was based upon another of Mr. Gilbert's inventions; software that automatically identified, recorded, and tabulated all radio commercials broadcast from radio stations operating in the San Francisco Bay Area. RAM successfully expanded to include the San Jose and Sacramento radio markets. It was from James’ exposure to San Jose’s “Silicon Valley” that he met engineers and computer programmers who, in later years, helped Mr. Gilbert secure the US Patent referred to above.

General Electric sold KFOG Radio, and Mr. Gilbert joined Merrill Lynch, the country's largest stock brokerage business. James was hired as an executive specializing in retirement plans. His client base increased quickly because of his prior business relationships with Bay Area radio executives. In those days, most people, including very well-paid people, did not know about the tax benefits of IRA accounts. Mr. Gilbert stepped in, educated clients, and opened hundreds of IRA accounts at Merrill.

While at Merrill, Mr. Gilbert learned about a new kind of retirement plan called the "401(k)". For him, the 401(k) was “love at first sight” and motivated him to leave Merrill, take his clients, and start his own 401(k) business. To accomplish this, Mr. Gilbert set up an independent NASD-registered Broker/ Dealer named Pension Service Associates Securities (CRD 29919) to manage his clients' IRAs while simultaneously setting up and launching his unique 401(k), designed and priced especially for small businesses.

It is critical to appreciate that, unlike most other NASD/FINRA Broker/Dealers and FINRA Registered Investment Advisors, James had an aversion to the industry trend of “skimming” fees from clients’ retirement assets. In addition, James recommended only commission-free, no-load mutual funds to his clients. His only compensation for providing these services was getting referrals for his new 401(k) services. For the past 25 years, James has used Charles Schwab discount brokerage as the primary custodian for his clients' IRAs and 401(k)s and has an iron-clad guarantee that his 401(k) plans never skim fees or commissions from retirement assets, ever.

To this day, Pension Systems Corporation’s 401(k) Easy and No Fees 401(k) has never taken a single penny in fees or commissions from clients’ retirement assets. It is clear from this website that James explicitly rejects the notion that registered investment advisors and brokers/dealers should charge and pocket fees and commissions from the retirement plan assets, including IRAs and 401(k)s. After fifteen years in operation, Mr. Gilbert sold his NASD/FINRA Broker/Dealer and transitioned to a FINRA Registered Investment Advisor (CRD 158650). He remains vehemently opposed to asset-based fee skimming by financial advisors and their brokerages. AARP agrees and publishes a detailed study about the significant harm asset fee skimming does to a person’s 401(k) retirement savings. You are welcome to download this AARP 401(k) Fee Report from this website.

We hold the United States-Issued Patent 6041313 for our highly regarded self-service 401(k) technology

For more than a decade before developing our revolutionary self-service 401(k) system, we operated as a valued full-service provider of 401(k), 403b and other government-sanctioned retirement plans.

Back then, as now, we specialized in plans for small and mid-sized businesses. In fact, we were providing small businesses with affordable plans rich in investment options and plan flexibility long before other 401(k) providers showed any interest in the small plan market.

Back then, as now, we found that by diverging from the "big plan" administrative setup used by most of the 401(k) industry, that rethinking the areas that were particularly inefficient, we could cut administrative overhead and save clients money.

The Wall Street Journal describes 401(k) Easy as the "Quicken" of 401(k) plans for small businesses

The Wall Street Journal said the following about our self-service 401(k) software back when we introduced it in 1999:

"(It) allows small businesses to manage 401(k) plans as easily as a consumer navigates family finances with programs such as Quicken" ("Web Helps Small Firms Start 401(k)s," 12/27/99, C1).

Our 401(k) software (401(k) Enginuity at www.401kenginuity.com) developed in conjunction with Union Bank of California (UBOC) and customized 401(k) plan proved so innovative in the 401(k) industry that it's patented.

The Wall Street Journal article describing 401(k) Easy and the joint 401(k) Easy / Union Bank press release

(Summary) In conjunction with Union Bank of California, Pension Systems Corporation developed 401(k) Easy Online, a web-based 401(k) plan administration service based upon the success of the 'run-it-yourself' pc-based 401(k) Easy.

  Reprinted from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  

Web Helps Small Firms Start 401(k)s




Tom Hendricks's employer recently adopted a 401(k)-retirement plan for him and his colleagues. Big deal, you say? Well, actually, it is. Mr. Hendricks and the 13 managers who oversee trust-fund operations for a California union have never had access to the hugely popular retirement accounts because of the expense and complexity of running them.

Now, though, cheap and efficient technology is changing those notions. Easy-to-use software and low-cost, back-office support - much of it available online - are opening retirement-savings benefits to an estimated 27 million small-business workers who don't have retirement plans. It's also allowing companies with inflexible and meager plans to upgrade to more appealing, full-blown 401(k) by pushing down administrative costs and challenging the idea that small-business owners can't manage the rule-bound accounts. "There's been a whole lot of mumbo jumbo used in this industry to create a Tower of Babel that running a 401(k) is tough," says Jim Gilbert, who has spent 15 years in the industry designing and overseeing retirement plans. Mr. Gilbert, president of 401(k) Pro Inc., Los Angeles, recently introduced a software program called 401(k) Easy - which allows small businesses to manage 401(k) plans as easily as a consumer navigates family finances with programs such as Quicken. "This is not brain surgery," he says.




James Gilbert
President, Pension Systems Corporation
(800) 660-0050
Sharon Woodson-Bryant, Union Bank of California
Union Bank of California, N.A., Pension Systems Corporation, Launch Web-based 401(k) Administration Service for Small Businesses

LOS ANGELES Union Bank of California (UBOC), N.A., and Pension Systems Corporation have jointly developed a web-based 401(k) plan administration service based upon their existing desktop product. The service allows clients to set up and manage low-cost, option-rich "run-it-yourself" 401(k) plans from any location connected to the Internet — be it via computer terminal, web-enabled mobile phone or PDA device; access via a toll-free automated voice response system is also available. Like the desktop product, the system is geared particularly toward serving small businesses of one to 100 employees.