TPA vs Bundled: Pros and Cons of Managing Your Retirement Plan

As an employer, you are tasked with providing your team with excellent benefits that both retain talent and offer real value. Retirement plans have always been an attractive employee benefit, but they have become even more important with the impact of the Great Resignation. When looking to offer retirement benefits to your employees, you may find that retirement plans get a little confusing since there are diverse ways to have your retirement plan service. You can choose from bundled services or working with a TPA (third-party administrator.)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with a TPA or bundling all services with a plan provider? Read further to take away a few salient tips for your company’s retirement program.

What is the Bundled Retirement Model?

While this sounds like an “all hands-on deck” proposition, you are looking at a “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation. In this setup, all plan design, investments, record-keeping, and reporting comes as a “package” deal amounting to “the best you can get for the money.” Tasks are delegated and performed by different departments.

Generally, a bundled arrangement prevents the TPA from doing all that it can do. This model is helpful for those who want to go simple and streamlined as bundled service providers focus on automation, rather than customization. You generally get a “generic” solution without addressing all the company’s needs and are forced to work with associates who only know one small aspect of your retirement plan.

How Does a TPA Work?

If you allow a third-party administrator to handle the retirement plan, you will receive expert advice on plan design that typically saves money and maximizes the effectiveness of the retirement plan. The TPA provides a comprehensive approach by understanding your objectives from both a business and employee perspective and integrating them into a cost-effective customized solution that runs more smoothly. The “unbundled” retirement plan model requires a record keeper (employer) and the TPA to work together to create the best plan possible.

The TPA can guide the employer, helping them roll out key benefits to employees and assisting with the implementation with the record keeper. You get a customized plan that meets everyone’s needs, and you can even offer varying degrees of benefits for different employees.

Choose the Best Program for Your Business

You want a retirement program that best suits your business while running smoothly & providing key benefits that your employees are looking for. Bundling services will often streamline retirement operations, but oftentimes at the cost of personal guidance. The TPA acts as your guide to customize your program to meet your specific needs and you will never feel like you are using a “cookie cutter” retirement plan for your employees.

Consider your needs and speak with one of our experts to learn more about the differences between bundled and unbundled retirement plans.

Pros and Cons of TPAs and Bundled Plans


Pros: One Vendor Streamlined Approach, Cost May Be Lower
Cons: Not Customized, Offers Little Guidance, Confusing Cost for Services, Call Center Support


Pros: Personalized Guidance, Custom Plan Design, and Support, You Have a Retirement Plan Partner
Cons: You May Pay More (but it is worth it.)

Why Choose a TPA?

Choosing a TPA allows you to partner with a retirement expert who has your best interests at heart. You can make changes as needed, reach out for guidance, and keep your employees happy. Without a TPA, you are left to pick a “boxed” plan that may or may not meet your retirement plan needs. When retirement and benefits plans lag, that’s when employees start looking for other work.

Contact Shore Tompkins Actuarial Services for TPA Services

Contact Shore-Tompkins Actuarial Services when you want to learn more about TPA services for your employee retirement plan. By working with an expert, you can ensure that your benefits and retirement package functions properly and gives your team the value they so richly deserve.