The Obama administration has unveiled new rules designed to prevent consumers from being steered toward IRAs and other retirement investments with higher fees or lower returns that benefit the advisors recommending or selling them.

The biggest impact will be on IRAs. A 401(k) plan is administered by a fiduciary who selects and monitors the available investment options. IRAs, however, can be sold by a host of financial advisors.

The risks of conflict of interest are greater with IRAs. Related costs tend to be higher because they are purchased individually, while 401(k) plans are run by companies that pool employees’ investments.

“When you’re with all the other employees, you have more buying power,” said Robert Kaplan, an associate at the Ballard Spahr law firm in Philadelphia, who specializes in employee benefits and executive compensation.

“It’s much cheaper to service a million-dollar client than service a $50,000 client,” he said.