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401k Plan Testing – How to Monitor 401k Plan Vendors

How to Monitor 401k Plan Vendors

401k Plan testing is just one if the struggles that plan sponsors experience if plan and participant information does not flow smoothly, timely and accurately.  When challenges occur in obtaining good information in a timely fashion there is usually another area of the retirement plan where problems or some inefficiencies surface.  At the conclusion of a Plan Sponsor University (TPSU) Fiduciary Education Program held at the University of Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia, TPSU Founder, and CEO, Fred Barstein spoke with Phyllis, a Senior Human Resources Partner and Program attendee.  Phyllis is responsible for the successful flow of the retirement plan information at her firm which employs a staff of approximately 100.  Phyllis’ firm was experiencing slow service when requesting plan information and timely reports.  Whether your firm uses a 403b plan, a 401k plan or a defined benefit plan structure, this 401kTV video can provide the viewer the steps Phyllis took to rectify the poor flow of information on her firm’s retirement plan.

Full Transcript Here

Fred Barstein:
Fred Barstein with 401kTV in rainy Atlanta, where we just completed a TPSU program. And I am here with Phyllis. Welcome, Phyllis.

Phyllis:
Hi.

Fred Barstein:
How are you doing? Okay if we ask you a few questions?

Phyllis:
Sure.

Fred Barstein:
Okay. So, one of the things that you mentioned in the program today was keeping your TPA accountable.

Phyllis:
Yes.

Fred Barstein:
What does that mean?

Phyllis:
So, originally our TPA and record keeper were bundled together and I felt like they weren’t helping me with compliance issues, so I separated and went and found a third party administrator separate from our record keeper, and really was able to ask more questions and really get more information from them and really keep compliance more on track.

Fred Barstein:
More on track. And so, when you did that, what was the effect for you and for your employees?

Phyllis:
I think it was a decrease in frustration of not being able to get answers from the record keeper/third party administrator. Now I seem to get better information, faster, and sometimes the issues can be with staff asking me questions that I may not have the answer. So it’s important for me to be able to have someone to go back to to ask, because I’m not an expert in 401k at this point.

Fred Barstein:
I don’t think we ever will be and that’s good. So that TPA is just sort of that local, more personal resource that you might have.

Phyllis:
Yes. Yes.

Fred Barstein:
That’s great. Well, that’s good. Well, that’s good advice. And I don’t know if we asked, how many employees do you have in your company?

Phyllis:
We have 100 employees.

Fred Barstein:
A hundred employees. So that’s good. And then final question is what are a couple of things that you picked up today that you may want to take back?

Phyllis:
I think looking at the target date funds, being more opening up the hood and really looking at the investments that are there a little bit more with our financial advisor. And making sure that we meet quarterly with our financial advisor to really look at the investments that are being offered to the employees. That that’s really an important thing to do for being a fiduciary with a 401k.

Fred Barstein:
Very good. Well, thank you.

Phyllis:
Thank you.

Fred Barstein:
Thanks for your time. Thanks for attending today.

Phyllis:
Thank you.

Fred Barstein:
And thank you for watching 401kTV.

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