Plan sponsors face intense scrutiny by Congress and the Department of Labor over real or suspected ERISA violations. Failure to manage this risk is costly, and employee litigation is on the rise. Surprisingly, many companies do not know their fiduciary responsibilities under the law. We help maintain client compliance with the DOL, IRS, and other regulatory bodies and help improve investment opportunities for plan participants. We offer resources and guidelines to help plan sponsors manage the major responsibilities and liabilities that accompany retirement plans.
Current Design and Organizational Oversight
The Department of Labor recently issued its 2011 statistics, and it closed 3,472 civil cases for $1.39 billion in monetary fines. “From the audits, very small percentages of plans had true "bad guy" situations; the majority of violations generally come from oversight and errors and omissions by the plan sponsors. There is every indication the DOL is escalating audits of small plans. Plan sponsors should be asking advisors what they can do to help their plan comply with the DOL rules.”
We work with business owners to gain an understanding of their plan objectives and design in order to improve value and promote operational efficiency. We seek to understand and verify that the plan foundations are in place and working well for critical organizational oversight. We then help you establish a due diligence process to plan and document fiduciary control activities and responsibilities. For instance, has an Investment Committee been created and adopted by the organization? Are they responsible for plan oversight? Has a Committee chart and member responsibilities been detailed? Have members been informed in writing of their Committee appointment and fiduciary responsibilities? Have members accepted in writing the Committee assignment? We will work with the organization to ensure the plan is in compliance with all regulatory bodies.
The best place to start is with a fiduciary review, as it will show you exactly where your fiduciary practices stand in comparison to the Department of Labor regulations.
Our services include:
- Analyze what fiduciary practices are currently in place and how well the plan's trustees are managing these fiduciary practices
- Identifying ways to improve the documentation of the decision-making process
- Assistance in implementing the recommendations from our findings to align your plan with what are considered to be fiduciary best practices
- Provide alternative ways to further reduce your liability with 3(21) and 3(38) services or fiduciary liability insurance
The services provided above are intended to enable the plan sponsor and its trustees to smoothly transition to fiduciary best practices for a definable, measurable, and repeatable process.
(Source: DOL Cracks Down on Retirement Plan Advisors for Fiduciary Negligence, Melanie Waddell, AdvisorOne, 2/24/12)