You may be an ERISA/401k fiduciary and not know it. The first step to reducing your personal fiduciary liability it to fully understand under what conditions you may be acting as a fiduciary.
Does creating an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) reduce fiduciary liability or augment it? Though there’s no clear agreement on this matter, the DOL has long maintained it has greater concern for processes than outcomes. Benefits attorneys often view memorializing the process through an IPS and documenting its successful implementation as the surest way to reduce fiduciary liability.
The 401k fiduciary typically searches for ways to reduce fiduciary liability. This can be done by hiring what the United States Department of Labor (DOL) terms “prudent experts,” particularly in the area of investments. The DOL permits a fiduciary to appoint, among others, a registered investment adviser to reduce personal fiduciary liability.
What most often triggers a DOL audit? What liability exposure does the ERISA/401k fiduciary typically face as a result of a DOL audit? Can a retirement plan fiduciary face criminal charges? What does the DOL auditor expect from the ERISA/401k fiduciary? What are the four critical keys the plan fiduciary should focus on during a DOL audit? Does the DOL have an ideal “Wish List of Materials” they expect an ERISA/401k fiduciary to provide them during a DOL audit?
The Supreme Court will raise the visibility of the fee structure within the investments of nearly half of all 401k plan assets. Just because the powers that be say it’s so, doesn’t necessary mean your average fiduciary can rely on the decree. Indeed, the Supreme Court of the United States appears poised rule in favor of mutual fund shareholders, yet, at the same time, mislead both 401k investors and fiduciaries.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a booklet entitled “Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities.” The DOL created this publication to help Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan fiduciaries better understand their duties and obligations. Included are four “essential elements” of all retirement plans.
A mutual fund’s expense ratio represents only one factor in analyzing the appropriateness of a mutual fund as an investment. Other factors may in fact be more important (including, among other things, portfolio manager tenure, number of holdings, total net assets, investment objective and consistency of returns).
Understanding fiduciary responsibilities is important for the security of a retirement plan and compliance with the law. Here are 10 tips excerpted from the United States Department of Labor booklet “Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities” that may be a helpful starting point.
An employee places much trust in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) fiduciary. Because they have the responsibility to act on behalf of retirement plan beneficiaries, plan fiduciaries are held to certain standards of conduct by the United States Department of Labor.