401k Fiduciary Duties

Amazing yet true: it seems 401k Fiduciary Duties keep growing. If your plan documents name you (the plan administrator) as the fiduciary, then you and the plan sponsor (your employer), could be taking on more risks than you know. According to the Department of Labor, your basic responsibilities include: acting solely in the interest of plan participants and their beneficiaries and with the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to them; carrying out the duties prudently; following the plan documents; diversifying plan investments; and paying only reasonable plan expenses.

But now it seems that it’s not enough that you have to worry over these responsibilities while also offering the best investment options for the plan participants; now, from information we have seen, 401k Fiduciary Duties include your maintaining proper cyber-security on the participant information.  Take a look at this article from BDO to get your brain around this issue. You may also want to explore external firms that offer to take over the fiduciary responsibility from you.

And what about selecting your 401k plan auditor? Here are some key questions you should explore: Is the CPA firm a member of the AICPA?  If so, is your CPA a member of the AICPA’s Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center? Will your CPA provide a copy of their last peer review report and is it clean of any findings?  Does your plan auditor have a written quality control policy in place? How much 401k-related CPE do the members of your proposed service team attend each year? This we find to be the big differentiator between firms in our space. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Having audited countless ERISA retirement plans across the Gulf Coast region, Wegmann Dazet has become proficient in the steps of a quality plan audit. Email us if we can help you with any guidance or services.

Latest posts by Colette Theriot, CPA