According to the Department of Labor, 401(k) plan sponsors aren't complying with ERISA standards adequately.

Of the plans audited by the DOL last year, 75 percent resulted in sponsors being fined, penalized or forced to make reimbursements for errors. The average fine was $600,000, a jump from $150,000 just four years ago.

The financial crisis of 2008 casts a long shadow. Since then, DOL's added 1,000 enforcement officials to ensure 401(k) plan compliance.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.