Ascensus MEPs and PEPs

A Unique Way to 401(k)

Sponsoring a retirement plan can provide numerous potential benefits for your business and financial future—but owning and managing a business may not leave you with enough time for the administrative tasks typically associated with sponsoring a plan.

Pooled employer plans (PEPs) and multiple employer plans (MEPs) offer a unique solution, enabling employers to "pool" together and participate in a group 401(k) plan arrangement instead of establishing a plan of their own.

Key features of MEPs and PEPs

Compared to the traditional 401(k), a MEP or PEP arrangement can help take many operational responsibilities off of the employer’s to-do list, enabling them to outsource plan administrative duties and investment management to help reduce their fiduciary risk.

A MEP or PEP arrangement may be a good fit for employers who:

  • Want to start offering a retirement plan but want to limit the expense, fiduciary liability, and time it takes.
  • Currently sponsor a plan and want to reduce expenses or outsource fiduciary responsibilities to an expert.
  • Want a turnkey solution that doesn’t require custom documents and plan features—and provides more time to focus on running the business.

Learn more about MEP and PEP arrangements and how they can help support overall business objectives and retirement plan goals.

Plug in: Listen to our PEPCAST Tune into our PEPCast audio series, featuring an Ascensus pooled plan specialist to help employers and advisors plug in to timely topics.

MEP vs PEP Comparison

Wondering which type of retirement plan may be the best fit for you and your business? Review the side-by-side comparison below to understand the key differences between traditional 401(k) plans, MEPs, and PEPs.

  Traditional 401(k) Plan MEP PEP
Eligibility Single employers or groups of related employers Unrelated employers with sufficient commonality Unrelated employers
Named Plan Fiduciary Plan sponsor MEP sponsor Pooled Plan Provider (PPP)
Designed Plan Administrator Plan sponsor (can hire a third party to help) MEP sponsor/lead employer PPP
Plan Design Customization Can be customized to meet plan sponsor needs Can be customized to meet adopting employer needs Some customization available depending on PPP and plan size
Required Form 5500 Filed by employer Filed by lead employer Filed by PPP

MEP and PEP benefits

While businesses of all sizes can benefit from the streamlined plan administration, lower exposure to fiduciary risk, and available tax credits that MEPS and PEPs offer, when you join a MEP or PEP through Ascensus, you and your employees gain access to additional advantages, including:

For employers

  • Integrated 402(a) named fiduciary and 3(16) administrative fiduciary, helping minimize fiduciary risk for plan sponsors
  • Integrated 3(38) investment manager to select and monitor the investments in the plan
  • Integrated trust and custody services
  • Payroll contribution tracking and integration
  • Digital access to all plan functions and information
  • Integrated nonqualified plans

For employees

  • Easy-to-use website and call center support
  • Spanish-language website
  • Spanish-speaking call center representatives
  • Full suite of participant educational materials
  • Financial wellness program
  • Integrated managed account services
Let's make a plan.

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View additional retirement plan options

Newport Group, Inc. ("NGI"), an Ascensus company, is a registered Pooled Plan Provider offering professionally-managed Pooled Employer Plans ("PEPs"). More information regarding Newport's registration and available plans can be found at by clicking Form PR Registration Search, entering "Newport" in the Legal Business Name field, and then clicking "search" at the bottom of the page.

NGI and its affiliates provide recordkeeping, plan administration, trust and custody, consulting, insurance, and brokerage services. Investment Advisory and fiduciary consulting services are offered through Newport Group Consulting, LLC, ("NGC") a registered investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of NGI. For more information about NGC and its services, please visit or refer to NGC’s Form ADV Part 2, which is available by contacting us at 407-333-2905, or by visiting our website.

Ascensus, LLC provides administrative and recordkeeping services. It is not a broker-dealer or an investment advisor. Neither Ascensus, LLC nor NGI provide tax, legal, or accounting services.