Plan fiduciaries must act as prudent experts under ERISA, and are therefore held to a high standard of care with respect to plan-related decisions regarding investments, service providers, plan administration, and general ERISA compliance issues. Most prudent plan sponsors hire a plan consultant (advisor) to assist them in adhering to ERISA’s rigorous standards, and to meet their objective of offering a best practices 401(k) plan to their employees.
|Attributes of a Good Advisor||Why You Should Hire One|
|Independence||Ability to help evaluate funds and providers objectively and without conflict of interest|
|Familiarity with ERISA||Ability to keep the committee updated on litigation, legislation and regulations impacting plans and fiduciaries|
|Prudent Expert||ERISA section 404(a) requires fiduciaries to act with the skill, knowledge and expertise of a prudent expert|
|Expertise with Plan Design||Ability to help plans maintain qualified status while continuing to meet the goals and objectives of our organization|
|Knowledge of the Provider Marketplace||Ability to ensure that our plan is being administered in the most efficient manner and for a reasonable price|
|Qualified Plan Investment Expertise||Ability to evaluate, select and monitor fund performance|
|Documentation Skills||Ability to demonstrate procedural prudence in a well-documented manner|
|Communication Skills||Ability to educate employees regarding plan highlights, and how to create an appropriate investment strategy|
|Acceptance of Role as a Co-Fiduciary||Willingness to acknowledge in writing that they are a co-fiduciary to our plan with respect to the investment advice being delivered|
|Full and Open Disclosure||Fully and openly discloses all sources of fees being received on a direct and/or indirect basis|
ERISA’s rules are crystal clear: every decision you make as a fiduciary must be in the best interests of plan participants and their beneficiaries and certain relationships may result in prohibited transactions.