Several of the large bundled providers are offering free recordkeeping for parts of next year if plan sponsors switch over to them. It might be a gimmick, but it’s clever marketing. When they are large in the 401(k) business and they have other sources of making money (their bread and butter is investments), they can afford to do it.
If you are a small or medium-sized third-party administrator (TPA), you can’t unless you want to go out of business. You can’t afford to provide your services for free and like I always say, providing free service might show clients that your services provide no value as long as they’re free.
You can compete with the big boys and girls on price, you’re not going to be able to match them on price if the price is free.