Capital One Announces Spark 401k, a Low-Cost, Digitally-Managed Option for Small Businesses


Capital One recently announced the launch of a new retirement savings product designed expressly for small business.

The product, Spark 401k, provides low-cost, digitally-managed 401(k)s targeted specifically to companies with one to 100 employees, the company says. It utilizes exchange-traded funds (ETFs), a type of index fund, as the investment instrument.

According to an official release, Spark 401k offers the same benefits available to larger companies, including the ability to build a retirement nest egg with tax-deferred dollars, reduce business taxes and recruit and incentivize employees.

The new product is also designed with digital technology in mind and for small business owners presents a “streamlined, digital experience to easily determine which plan best suits their needs,” the release says.

Even though small business owners can benefit from establishing a 401(k) plan, the latest Spark Business Barometer, a survey that measures small business sentiment and related trends, found that only 13 percent of companies currently have such plans in place. That represents a drop of 50 percent from Q4 2014, the survey says.

The reason? Most consider the option too “expensive, burdensome or complicated,” said Stuart Robertson, president of Capital One Advisors 401k services, the group that manages the plans, in a prepared statement. He added that Capital One created Spark 401k to address the problem and “make retirement planning easier and more accessible for small businesses.”

Breaking Down the Spark 401k Plans

Spark 401k provides three types of 401(k) plan:

  • Safe Harbor — allowing business owners and key employees to contribute the maximum amount to their accounts;
  • Owner-only Business — used mainly for Sole Proprietors, S Corp, LLC, C Corp or other owner-only businesses seeking to maximize their personal contributions;
  • Businesses with Employees — allowing eligible employees to contribute to their 401(k) tax-deferred and set the amount they want to defer. Spark 401k deducts the amount each month from their paycheck automatically.

Spark 401k oversees each plan’s investment fiduciary responsibilities for no additional cost, says the announcement.

Capital One is discounting Spark 401k Safe Harbor plans for a limited time, to encourage small business owners to begin reaping the benefits of offering a 401(k) plan to their employees. Those who purchase a plan by August 29 will save $200 on set-up costs. Plans purchased between August 30 and September 14 will see a $100 reduction in those costs.

You can learn more about the options available by visiting the Spark 401k website.


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