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Buyer Beware

Marcia S. Wagner, Wagner Law Group, ASSPA Plan Consultant Magazine, 07/01/2013
Although a plan sponsor may hire various service providers, the sponsor typically retains primary responsibility for the management of the plan as a fiduciary under ERISA. However, a number of providers are now willing to accept certain plan management responsibilities as so-called "3(16) fiduciaries." This article examines the implication of this development. Read more...

EBSA Enforcement Strategy: We're Looking at Everything

Published By Mark Casciari, Jim Goodfellow and Chris Busey with Seyfarth, Shaw, LLP, 05/23/2013
Few things in life are certain; for Benjamin Franklin, it was death and taxes. According to two officials from the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the division tasked with enforcing ERISA, we should now add an assertive EBSA. Read more...

IRS Makes Employer's Internal Controls a Priority in Employee Plan Audits

By Florence Olsen, Bloomberg BNA, 04/12/2013
For more than a decade, the Internal Revenue Service has been refining its approach to examining tax-qualified retirement plans, most recently by focusing on internal controls, according to BNA interviews with attorneys and auditors who help employers maintain their plans' tax-qualified status. Read more...

401k Plan Sponsors and the Risk of Fiduciary Liability

Fiduciary News By Christopher Carosa, CTFA, 08/22/2012
For anyone that needs proof that plan sponsors are being litigated by the DOL this article cites a number of cases, and highlights the increasing exposure employers have to both DOL and participant litigation. Read more...

The End of Solution Sales

by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixson, and Nicholas Toman, Harvard Business Review, 07/19/2012
The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don't need you the way they used to. In recent decades sales reps have become adept at discovering customers' needs and selling them "solutions"—generally, complex combinations of products and services. This worked because customers didn't know how to solve their own problems, even though they often had a good understanding of what their problems were. But now, Read more...

ERISA 404(a)(5) A Game Changer? 401(k) Participant Disclosure Could Reconstruct the Industry

A DALBAR White Paper, February 2012, 05/21/2012
For plan years beginning November, 2011, ERISA 404(a)(5) requires that every one of 72 million plan participants are told something that they never knew… how much they pay each quarter for their 401(k) plan. In fact, most participants believe they pay nothing for the services provided in their 401(k). Read more...

A Few Things to Ask Your Financial Advisor

by Carl Richards, The Bucks Blog, The New York Times, 04/04/2012
This posting on the New York Times website addresses a not necessarily new topic for 401(k) advisors, but one that will likely heat up on the other side of Fee Disclosure. Read more...

Senate Bill Would Use Open MEP's To Expand 401(k) To Small Employers

Investment News, 03/21/2012
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., are drafting a bill that would allow companies with fewer than 100 workers to pool their employees' re-tirement assets into a combined plan, Mr. Kohl, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, said at a hearing last week.

The multiple employer plans would allow firms to hire third-party financial experts for the administrative and fiduciary duties that many small business owners say keep them from offering employees a 401(k) plan or other retirement savings vehicle. Read more...

Plan Advisers Should Urge Sponsors to Prepare for 404(a)(5)

by Corie Russell,, 03/15/2012
Plan advisers should not delay helping plan sponsors prepare for the 404(a)(5) regulation as the deadline looms. Under the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) 404(a)(5) regulation, plan sponsors must provide fee information to participants by August 30, 2012. However, with all the attention surrounding the 408(b)(2) regulation—which requires most service providers of retirement plans to disclose information about fees and services to plan sponsors by July 1, 2012—some industry experts think preparation for 404(a)(5) is falling by the wayside. Read more...

Employer to Pay for Failing to Monitor RK Costs

by Rebecca Moore, Asset International, 03/15/2012
Specifically, U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found the ABB defendants violated their fiduciary duties to the plans when they failed to monitor recordkeeping costs, failed to negotiate rebates for the plan from either Fidelity or other investment companies Read more...

401(k) Outsourcing: The Next Big Thing

Forbes Advisor Network, 02/15/2012
Here's a brief, but clear and easy to understand outline of the different outsourced fiduciary services available to employers today. It is important employers understand the differences from the limited 3(21) to the more comprehensive 3(16) MEP fiduciary services. Read more...

BAML's New Fiduciary Service

Investment News, 02/15/2012
Bank of America Merrill Lynch continues to ramp up its retirement plan offerings, adding fiduciary services in an effort to attract and keep plan advisers. Read more...

Legislation Might Help Smaller Firms Offer Retirement Plans

USA Today, 02/01/2012
Many small-business owners say that they want to offer their workers a retirement plan but obstacles are holding them back. Wednesday, a Senate panel said it would introduce legislation to help address the problem. Read more...

DOL Cracks Down on Retirement Plan Advisors for Fiduciary Negligence

If you are selling 401(k) plans (or even thinking about it), I would review this article. In summary, the IRS has teamed up with the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and they are not only going after plan sponsors for fiduciary negligence, but also advisors. In 2011, the DOL closed 3,472 civil cases and collected nearly $1.39B in fines - Read more....
"An estimated 70% of retirement plans audited by the Department of Labor (DOL) in 2009 and 2010 were fined, received penalties or had to make reimbursements for errors" Read more...
Source: "Plan Sponsors Getting Big Fines from DOL", Jim McConville, Financial Advisor Magazine, February 21, 2012
"Even the most diligent employers are often ill-equipped to deal with the regulatory complexities of qualified retirement plans because they lack the internal resources to execute their fiduciary responsibilities."
Source: Fred Reish and Bruce Ashton, Partners with Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP, and recognized as two of the leading ERISA attorneys in the U.S
"We take great comfort in knowing that outsourcing with 401k SAFE has substantially mitigated our exposure as a fiduciary for our 401(k) plan. It has also allowed me to focus my time in areas other than 401(k) administration."
Source: CFO with Florida-Based Pharmaceutical Company
1919 Oxmoor Rd Suite 104 Birmingham, Alabama 35209