Fiduciary Compliance

In an effort to keep clients and business partners up-to-date on 401k plan fiduciary compliance issues, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC suggests the following resources.

Resources: 401k Plan Fiduciary Compliance


401k Investment Adviser Annual Reviews – What Employers Should Expect. 
At least once each year, 401k plan sponsors should be meeting with their investment advisor to review what happened in the plan during the prior year to ensure 401k plan fiduciary compliance. This article outlines what the annual review should cover.

Are You A Fiduciary? (PDF). Clients often ask who in their organizations are fiduciaries to their retirement plans and exactly what it means to be a fiduciary. Many times, clients are surprised by the answers they get. You may be as well.

BlackRock Interview With Robert C. Lawton (PDF). Robert C. Lawton, President of Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, is interviewed by former Wall Street Journal editor and current BlackRock executive Kelly Greene on how to design the best 401k plan.

Does Your 401k Investment Adviser Measure Up? Each year retirement plan sponsors should take time to evaluate their providers. Included in this group is your 401k investment adviser. Most plan sponsors use an investment adviser to help them with their 401k plans. This is a smart decision since many advisers are able to save plan sponsors at least as much as they charge. This post will help you learn if you are working with the right 401k investment adviser.

How To Avoid A DoL 401k Audit. According to PLANSPONSOR, there are an average of 3,600 Department of Labor (DoL) qualified retirement plan audits per year. Annual settlements related to violations typically total more than $1.5 billion annually. This article contains some suggests that may help you avoid a DoL audit of your 401k plan.

New Fiduciary Regs: A Win For Plan Sponsors. On Wednesday, April 6, 2016 the Department of Labor (DoL) issued its final fiduciary regs for investment advisors working with retirement accounts. The rules were aimed specifically at brokers who provide investment advice to clients under the “suitability” requirement (which exempted brokers from being fiduciaries). The issuance of these final fiduciary regs ends a long war that the brokerage industry waged against regulators, employing all manner of threats to avoid fiduciary responsibility (e.g.; small clients will not be able to receive investment advice — absolutely ridiculous) and spending millions on intense political lobbying. Who won? Remarkably, plan sponsors!

Nine Questions Employers Have About Fiduciary Responsibility. Recently the Department of Labor shared a proposed set of regulations about retirement plan fiduciary responsibility. As a result, many 401k plan sponsors have begun asking questions about their fiduciary responsibilities. This article includes the most frequent questions that I hear, along with answers.

Plan Sponsors Should Support Harmonization Of Fiduciary Regulations. When the recently proposed fiduciary rules are finalized there will likely continue to be significant differences between how Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and brokers interact with their retirement plan clients from a fiduciary standpoint.

What 401k Plan Sponsors Want To Know About The New Fiduciary Regs. Since the Department of Labor released its final fiduciary compliance rules, there has been a tremendous amount of media coverage devoted to what plan sponsors need to know about the new fiduciary regs. Although much of it has been well written with good intentions, most of it has been wrong and has only served to confuse plan sponsors. Based on what I am hearing from plan sponsors, this is what you say you want to know about the new fiduciary regs.

What To Look For In A Top 401k Investment Adviser. Most employer plan sponsors use an investment advisor to help them with their 401k plans. This is a smart decision since most advisors are able to save plan sponsors at least as much as they charge. How can you tell if you are working with a good investment advisor? This article provides some tips.

Which Fiduciary Should 401k Plan Sponsors Hire – 3(16), 3(21) or 3(38)? There has been quite a bit of discussion about whether plan sponsors should contract with their administrative providers for section 3(16) fiduciary services. Outlined in this article are the different types of fiduciary services available to plan sponsors and when it might make sense to use them.

Why All 401k Plan Sponsors Should Use BrokerCheck. Are you working with an honest investment advisor on your 401k plan? One way to find out is by using BrokerCheck — a free service provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This article outlines how you can use BrokerCheck to research the background of your investment advisor. Don’t worry, your financial advisor will not be informed about whether you used the service to check his/her background.

Why Every 401k Plan Needs An Updated IPS. Does your 401k plan have an updated Investment Policy Statement (IPS)? Although you aren’t required by law to have one, the IPS is one of your plan’s most important documents. Take a look at this article to learn why having an updated IPS is so important.

DoL & IRS Resources: 401k Plan Fiduciary Compliance


Department Of Labor Guide To Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities
(PDF). If you are looking for information about an employer’s fiduciary responsibilities, this section of the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) website does a very good job of providing basic information about fiduciary responsibilities, as well as outlining who the DoL considers to be a fiduciary and methods of maintaining fiduciary compliance. You’ll also find a 20 page PDF booklet that provides a more complete outline of an employer’s fiduciary responsibilities. If you need fiduciary responsibility materials to present to your leadership group, this would be an excellent document to use.

Internal Revenue Service 401k Plan Checklist (PDF). A very nice one-page checklist from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for employers to review each year to ensure that they are meeting their plan sponsor responsibilities.

Department Of Labor Sample Employee Fee Disclosure (PDF). This is a sample of the sort of fee disclosure document you (or your recordkeeper) should be distributing to your plan participants. At 11 pages in length, this sample contains all of the information that the U.S. Department of Labor considers important to communicate.

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Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC
342 North Water Street
Suite 600
Milwaukee, WI 53130
(414) 828-401k (4015)
bob@lawtonrpc.com