Retirement Plan Advisors Shouldn’t Overlook the Basics

BasicRetirement plan advisors shouldn’t overlook the basics.  As the saying goes, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what not to overlook.” Retirement plan advisors play a pivotal role in guiding plan sponsors, especially in discerning what not to overlook in their fiduciary responsibilities.  In the realm of fiduciary duties, overlooking ways to ensure compliance and sidestep potential litigation traps is a luxury that can’t be afforded.  The wisdom lies in recognizing and prioritizing these aspects, since compliance and adherence to regulations are the foundation of a well-managed retirement plan.  Advisors should emphasize the importance of compliance and litigation-avoidance strategies to plan sponsors, while also educating sponsors on the new and latest industry trends.

Recent TPSU programs featured attorneys who shed light on these critical areas.  Jodi Green, a former DOL examiner, shared the “Top 10 Compliance Traps” including issues like incomplete participant census and late deposits of contributions.  On the litigation front, plaintiff’s attorney Carl Engstrom highlighted key areas like record-keeping costs, share class optimization, and underperformance of funds as common sources of litigation.  Both educators prove that the demand for high-quality education on fundamental plan management is a necessity among plan sponsors, emphasizing the need to balance attention between sophisticated trends and essential basics.  Overall, it is important for advisors to remember that being viewed as educators and conflict-free fiduciaries builds trust more than a sales-focused approach.

For more on this, and for a comprehensive breakdown of Jodi’s top 10 list of compliance traps, read Fred Barstein’s article entitled: Top Compliance and Litigation Tips for 401(k) Plans on


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