A recent survey reveals the highest priorities of 401(k) plan sponsors. Here's a gift tailored exactly to their highest priority. When Deloitte Consulting asked 401(k) plan sponsors to rank eight hot topics, they might have been surprised by the results they received. Still, the respondents made their top choice quite clear (for the complete list, see "New Survey Reveals How 401(k) Plan Sponsors Rank 8 Hot Topics," FiduciaryNews.com, December 20, 2011). They didn't want what they been told is popular by the service providers, industry pundits and even some policy makers. Rather, they desired what all good fiduciaries want: to be able to help their beneficiaries achieve the goals of the trust.

 In the case of 401(k) plans, this means helping employees do what needs to be done to achieve a comfortable retirement. Since their inception 30 years ago, with the reduction of the number of companies offering pension plans and the growing concern as to the long-term viability of Social Security, the 401(k) plan has become the go-to choice for those seeking a secure retirement. Although originally designed to only supplement the other two retirement vehicles, over the last two decades legislation increasing the 401(k) deferral maximum has made it easier for employees to rely solely on the one retirement vehicle they have the most control over: their 401(k) plan.

Of all the many issues facing 401(k) plan sponsors today, nothing compares to their desire to provide the right investments to help participants achieve retirement goals. This classic fiduciary duty has received scant little attention in the 401(k) media, so it's heartening to see plan sponsors remember their primary purpose without much prodding from journalists. That they rank this the highest of all hot issues, though, suggests they might be in need of a bigger library, or at least more time to read.

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal FiduciaryNews.com and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christophercarosa/)and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChrisCarosa).