It’s never a problem, until it’s a problem.
Over the past decade, 70% or more of the retirement plans audited by the Department of Labor were found to have operational deficiencies which led to penalties, fines and/or plan restitutions. (Source: DOL EBSA)
Click here to read more about avoidable plan problems we’ve seen.
Being a fiduciary is not your job.
You’re the expert in your business, and with the right people and the right tools in place, you have the best chance of success.
For your retirement plan fiduciary responsibilities, do you have the right people and tools in place that give you confidence and peace of mind that you’re doing the right things, at the right times, in the right ways, without putting yourself in unnecessary risk?
At 401k|Safe, our passion is to help relieve you of the burdens of the operational tasks that accompany fiduciary responsibility.
We provide the fiduciary protection, administrative oversight and participant communication that are essential to keep your plan on track and in compliance. You can sleep better, knowing there’s a guard on duty.
Our service is more than checking a box.
As an Operational Fiduciary – not simply a 3(16) service – 401k|Safe takes a holistic approach to fiduciary oversight to free up your key employees so they can focus their energy to address your business objectives.
We are not a third-party administrator (TPA). We are an independent fiduciary who serves as your advocate, working closely with your plan vendors, such as your record keeper and TPA.
As Plan Administrator and Plan Trustee, 401k|Safe provides the following comprehensive services:
- Serves as 3(16) Plan Administrator, reviewing and signing annual Form 5500
- Functions as Plan Trustee, signing plan amendments and service agreements as trustee
- Reviews and manages all plan-related documentation is compliance audit-ready
- Monitors ERISA 3(21) and 3(38) plan fiduciaries
- Maintains trustee minutes for the plan during the year
- Retains leading ERISA attorneys for plan oversight
- Conducts due diligence prior to the start of service to ensure the plan is in compliance
- Periodically conducts industry benchmarking to ensure reasonable and customary plan fees and expenses
- Ensures enrollment information and required notices are provided to new participants
- Distribute all required annual notices and plan documentation (SPD, Safe Harbor, SAR, etc.)
- Provide a secure web portal for all plan documents, quarterly investment reviews, fiduciary updates
- Conducts an annual review of operational and administrative items during the plan year
- Assist participants with inquiries regarding loans, distributions or hardships
- Generate participant FAQs regarding the plan if requested by the client
Plan Administration Oversight
- Reviews, signs and files annual Form 5500
- Monitors plan administration to ensure plan provisions are compliant
- Reviews and approves participant distributions and loans
- Discounted plan audit services for large plans that are subject to an annual CPA audit
- Collaborate with plan vendors to ensure best practices for plan administration
- Ability to work with any payroll provider
- As an optional service, administers the payroll census and contribution file from the payroll system to the record keeper, and make all updates from the 401k provider into the payroll system (360°administration)
- Periodically reconcile payroll data to identify mistakes before they become compliance problems
- Monitor record keeping and TPA platforms and services including periodic onsite due diligence meetings
Solving operational problems within plans is our purpose. Avoiding operational problems altogether is our goal.
“The support and expertise provided by 401k|Safe to our organization has freed up the HR staff to focus on more urgent day-to-day matters. Additionally, as the head of HR function for our company, I feel good knowing subject matter experts (401k|Safe personnel) are administering specialty programs that the internal HR generalist team can not readily provide.”
Kevin Stouse, Vice President, Human Resources
Jindal Films – Global Solutions For Packaging Innovation
“For every organization, it is important to attract and retain the best employees and having a competitive 401k plan is a part of providing competitive and comprehensive benefits to meet that objective.” “You have been a great partner in helping us make improvements to our plan design, making the plan more attractive for employees while maintaining compliance ultimately resulting in a net savings for the company.”
Marc Padre, Vice President, Finance
“We’ve been using 401k|Safe for the last several years because we trust their expertise and their commitment to staying compliant with 401k regulations. Working with them gives us a real peace of mind and we appreciate their proactive approach to 401k administration.”
Todd Talley, CFO/co-owner, Talley Farms
“Years ago, our plan was randomly audited by the Department of Labor. Considering the cost and time involved with that experience, we never wanted to go through it again, especially without a partner who was experienced with ERISA and plan compliance. 401k|Safe has been our 3(16) fiduciary service ever since. They ensure that the day-to-day administration of our plan, loans and distributions, and required notices are being properly administered. We aren’t experts in plan compliance and have peace of mind that 401k|Safe is taking care of our plan and participants.”
Bob Irelan, President, Walashek Industrial & Marine, Inc.
The 401k compliance landscape has changed.
Historically, most employers have given little, if any, thought to the oversight of their retirement plan. In many cases, there was simply a lack of knowing or understanding their fiduciary responsibilities and accountability, and worse, not weighing or mitigating their potential liabilities as fiduciaries. Those days are over. Whether or not an employer understands their fiduciary role, today they are subject to unprecedented compliance scrutiny and litigation risks.
Consider these changes:
- Since 2011, the Department of Labor (DOL) has expanded audit agent enforcement by nearly 10-fold.
- Annual electronic filing of Form 5500 allows the DOL to easily target compliance “red flags”
- U.S. Supreme Court changed the legal basis for litigating 401(k) plans, allowing individuals to seek damages against plan sponsors.
- Additional landmark lawsuits also expand the ability to litigate 401(k) plans related to fiduciary oversight
- DOL implemented a random audit process, meaning a company’s plan can be selected for a compliance audit without cause.
- DOL fee disclosure rules, also known as the 408(b)2 regulations, require plan sponsors to take a more active oversight role of plan fees and expenses.
- DOL targets employers with late contributions and requires a formal submission to correct via the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program.
Does outsourcing fiduciary oversight generate an ROI?
Of course, every situation is different, but here are some factors that can generate a quick return on investment based on the time currently consumed by your internal resources:
- Reviewing and approving loans, distributions or hardship withdrawals
- Preparing and submitting payroll files each pay period to your record keeper
- Ensuring payroll files are submitted on a timely basis (avoiding penalties for late contribution files)
- Generating payroll change reports from your record keeper and making those updates to your payroll system
- Disseminating required participant notices during the year
- Maintaining files of all plan-related documentation and supporting participant documentation for loans, distributions and hardships
- Reviewing merger and acquisition impacts on 401(k) benefits and participant transition
- Providing plan documentation, valuation reports and trust statements to auditors for annual plan audits
- Responding to DOL audit investigations and inquiries
Ready to partner with us?
We welcome the opportunity to serve you, your management team, and your plan participants. Here are a few things we want you to know:
- You can add us to your current plan but there are some restrictions;
- We work with a limited number of record-keeping platform (401k provider)
- We work with TPA’s (third party administrator) across the country and are happy to discuss working with yours
- We require the plan to have an investment fiduciary, i.e. 3(21) or 3(38) as defined by ERISA
- We typically work through retirement plan advisers, so talk to yours. If you do not have an advisor, or want to discuss your situation, feel free to reach out to us.
- We only provide our services to ERISA compliant 401(k) and 403(b) plans. We will not serve as a fiduciary for company stock, real estate, insurance contracts or self-directed brokerage accounts. You’re on your own with those.
- Our services and the fees we charge are based on the number of total eligible participants in your plan. That includes employees who are actively contributing to your plan, employees who have satisfied eligibility but are not contributing and terminated employees who still maintain an account balance in your plan (We can help you clean up that last item).
- Our fees can be paid from your plan or billed directly to you. About 75% our clients pay our fees directly, and we collect those fees in quarterly installments via an ACH debit. We also have additional participant paid fees for processing loans, distributions, hardships and QDROs.
- We provide payroll file administration, but it is an optional, stand-alone service. If you are interested, please let us know your pay frequency, total employee count and if you run multiple payrolls.
- You can add us to your plan at any time. There’s no certain time better than another unless you are also changing record keepers and/or TPAs. It takes approximately thirty days from signing our service agreement until we are up and running.
- We will not assume fiduciary liability for anything related to your plan prior to the start of our service. However, if you think you’ve got a problem, we will be happy to review and consult with you on the best course to correct the problem.
- Finally, you cannot completely absolve yourself as a plan fiduciary. However, with 401k|Safe and an investment fiduciary, you’ve effectively discharged the bulk of your responsibilities and liability.
Are you an Association looking to provide a 401k as a member benefit?
As one of the original “Open MEPs” (multiple employer plans), 401k|Safe is uniquely positioned to guide your organization in the steps to make a 401k MEP offering an outstanding benefit to your members. We currently sponsor and service a number of MEPs in various parts of the country and with pending Congressional legislation, the ease and opportunity for your association to provide this benefit are only going to expand. We welcome any opportunity to discuss the best approach to offering this benefit and why now is the ideal time to provide this benefit to your members.
Let’s start a conversation. There are a number of factors to consider and we can advise you on the pros and cons of each. If you’re an advisor, we can discuss proven marketing solutions in conjunction with the association.