Today, the scrutiny of retirement plans has never been higher. Harbor Retirement has been able to observe both positive and negative plan management. Some positive management practices of plan sponsors includes: implementing and following appropriate fiduciary processes; minimizing staff involvement with plan administration and communications; keeping administrative expenses ‘reasonable’. These good practices have translated into the following benefits for plan participants: simple enrollment; institutionally priced investments choices; easy access to ask questions. Some negative situations include: providers more concerned about their revenues and proprietary investments than customer satisfaction; ‘paid for’ but unused services; increased expenses based upon asset growth without adding or improving services
As members of the Board of Directors, you may be considered retirement plan fiduciaries and as such have very specific oversight responsibilities. Most important, to the extent that the Board of Directors of an organization fails to perform their fiduciary duties, members may be subject to personal financial liability for plan losses.
The roles and responsibilities of plan fiduciaries primarily involve instituting, documenting and following certain prescribed processes. Harbor Retirement Planning not only functions as a conduit of information between the plan sponsor and the vendors who provide services or investment management to the plan, but we can help plan sponsors establish the appropriate fiduciary committees and provide regular guidance on plan governance, investment policies, fiduciary processes, investment choice monitoring and participant communications.
Below are some questions for the Board of Directors to evaluate whether the appropriate fiduciary processes are in place for your retirement plans:
The responsibilities of retirement plan fiduciaries are important to ensure your plan is in compliance with ERISA guidelines and that it stays that way. These responsibilities cannot be taken lightly, however they can be time consuming activities. ERISA encourages plan sponsors and other fiduciaries to hire “prudent experts” to help implement and maintain a documented process designed to attain the greatest value for the plan while providing guidance to plan participants.
Harbor Retirement can review your current situation and act as a guide through the fiduciary issues of retirement plan and vendor management. Our in-depth knowledge of the industry will help enable you to understand how trends and current developments may impact your retirement program and identify strategies that are unbiased, balanced, and address your specific needs.