Fidelity Investments and State Street Boston Corp. have won the bidding for savings plan servicing contracts that General Motors Corp. has decided to take away from Bankers Trust New York Corp. at yearend.
While the terms of the new contracts were not disclosed, they are said to be among the largest in the employee-directed savings business, market experts said.
Fidelity will be the recordkeeper and administrator of tax-deferred 401(k) and taxable savings plans made available to all of GM's 320,000 employees in this country. State Street will be a trustee for the plans. Currently, Bankers Trust handles all of these services.
Charles C. Licari, a GM spokesman in Detroit, said the automaker had decided at the beginning of this year to take the servicing and trustee contracts away from Bankers Trust. He declined to say why.
But Bankers Trust spokesman Tom Parisi said the bank had wanted to jack up the fees, and GM balked. "They have told us that it was not in regard to any dissatisfaction with the service they were receiving," he said.
According to Pensions & Investments magazine, Fidelity is the country's larger manager of 401(k) and related investments, with $58.3 billion of these assets, followed by Bankers Trust, with $28 billion.
The GM loss is ill-timed for Bankers Trust, coming just as the company is trying to grow its 401(k) administration business through an alliance with discount broker Charles Schwab Corp.
The loss of the contract could cost Bankers Trust some $4 million in fees per year, assuming the bank got an industry benchmark of $15 per participant, said Robert G. Wuelfing, president of employee benefit consultant Access Research Inc., of Windsor, Conn.
But Bankers Trust's 401(k) servicing business can probably weather the blow, he added.
The Wall Street Journal reported in February that there are a total of 270,000 participants in the GM savings plans, with $11 billion invested. Spokesmen for GM, Bankers Trust and Fidelity were unable to confirm or deny the figures.