Introduction to UC Retirement Savings Program Fees

Every retirement savings plan comes with certain fees and expenses.

Some are associated with the cost of managing the plan itself, while others are connected to the specific investment options you choose. The three most common retirement plan fees are asset-based fees, participant-based fees, and individual service fees. Here is an overview of these three types of fees.


In choosing investment options for your UC Retirement Savings Program (UCRSP) accounts, you should look carefully at the description of fees and expenses because they can have an impact on how quickly your retirement savings may grow. The fund options, overseen by the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents, are a good example of a diverse fund menu that carries lower expenses than many similar publicly traded mutual funds. 


Typically, asset-based fees, the largest component of retirement plan costs, are expressed as an “expense ratio” for each of the plans’ investment options.

An expense ratio represents the investment option’s management and operating expenses, including professional management, custody, accounting, audits, and other administrative expenses. These fees are paid by all shareholders, regardless of whether they purchased the shares inside or outside of a retirement plan. An investment option’s expenses can vary from year to year. In addition, some investment options may carry a short-term trading fee, which is designed to discourage short-term buying and selling of fund shares.

To learn more about what they are and how they work, read Understanding Asset-based Fees.


The day-to-day operation of a savings plan involves expenses for basic administrative services―such as plan recordkeeping, accounting, and legal and trustee services―that are necessary for administering the plan as a whole. These fees are typically calculated based on the number of participants in the plan

For the UC-managed funds, administrative fees are paid by a combination of charges against plan earnings, revenue sharing from certain mutual funds, and the fees for special services described below. Currently, no plan administration fees are charged to your UC Retirement Savings Program accounts.


The UC Retirement Savings Program may charge a fee for specific services, such as a participant loan, a qualified domestic relations order, or a hardship distribution. To take out a loan, you will pay a one-time fee of $35 when you initiate a loan and a loan service fee of $15 per year for each outstanding loan.


Fees and expenses do have an impact on your retirement income, but remember to keep them in perspective. Fees are one part of a bigger picture that includes investment risk, historical investment returns, and the extent and quality of the services your Plan provides. 

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