Top 10 checklists for every 401(k) plan sponsor

A veritable how-to guide of how-to’s

Wouldn’t life be just grand if it could be reduced to a simple 10-point checklist? This is as close as it comes for 401(k) plan sponsors.

4 Essential Elements of Every Retirement Plan – The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a booklet entitled “Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities.” The DOL created this publication to help Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan fiduciaries better understand their duties and obligations. Included are four “essential elements” of all retirement plans.

3 Critical Fiduciary Duties Every ERISA Plan Sponsor Must Know – Will Congress, the SEC and the DOL upgrade the current fiduciary standard to the trust model used by bank trust departments so successfully for more than a century?

5 Important Duties of Every ERISA Fiduciary – An employee places much trust in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) fiduciary. Because they have the responsibility to act on behalf of retirement plan beneficiaries, plan fiduciaries are held to certain standards of conduct by the United States Department of Labor.

5 Criteria 401k Plan Sponsors Must Consider Before Hiring an ERISA Attorney – If the consequences of choosing the wrong ERISA attorney can prove catastrophic, what are the most important criteria 401k plan sponsors should use when selecting an ERISA attorney?

The 7 Most Critical Action Steps 401k Fiduciaries Must Address Right Now – Are you a 401k fiduciary looking for ways to reduce your personal fiduciary liability? The US Department of Labor doesn’t expect the ERISA fiduciary to always produce favorable outcomes for retirement plan beneficiaries. Rather, the DOL expects the 401k fiduciary to carefully document and prudently execute all aspects of the retirement plan. Here are seven critical action steps.

5 Things the Fiduciary Might Not Know About the 401k Plan Investment Policy Statement – Does creating an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) reduce fiduciary liability or augment it? Though there’s no clear agreement on this matter, the DOL has long maintained it has greater concern for processes than outcomes. Benefits attorneys often view memorializing the process through an IPS and documenting its successful implementation as the surest way to reduce fiduciary liability.

4 Liability Reducing Strategies for Today’s 401k Plan Sponsor – These three issues linger like a ticking time bomb. They’re out there. They’re going to go off at some point. We just don’t know when. Plan fiduciaries need to get ready for them.

10 Useful DOL Tips for Employers with Retirement Plans – Understanding fiduciary responsibilities is important for the security of a retirement plan and compliance with the law. Here are 10 tips excerpted from the United States Department of Labor booklet “Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities” that may be a helpful starting point.

9 Free On-Line DOL Resources for 401k Plan Sponsors – Where’s the best place for the 401k plan sponsor to go for free help on their fiduciary duties and responsibilities?

10 Useful Web-Sites for 401k Plan Sponsors & Any ERISA Fiduciary – A handful of web-sites have sprung up offering useful information geared specifically to 401k plan sponsors and fiduciaries. These 10 past our test as the best.


About the Author
Chris Carosa

Chris Carosa

Christopher Carosa, CTFA, is chief contributing editor for FiduciaryNews.com, a leading provider of essential news and information, blunt commentary and practical examples for ERISA/401(k) fiduciaries, individual trustees and professional fiduciaries. With three decades of experience in the investment industry, Carosa has helped create or found a number of financial products and firms including mutual funds, common trust funds, registered investment advisers as well as a billion-dollar trust company. He is also the author of the new book, "401(k) Fiduciary Solutions." Follow Fiduciary News on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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