Making good on a promise made by President Obama earlier in the year, the Department of Labor has come out with its highly anticipated proposed rule that would require any broker who advises a retirement plan to act in a fiduciary capacity – that is, to act in the best interest of the client.
Retirement Services & Financial Advisors - Serving Columbus & Beyond
Most company 401k plans offer individual account plans in which participants direct their own investments, so should be taking advantage of Section 404(c) of ERISA. This is the provision that frees you and your company of certain fiduciary liabilities for the investments they offer.
It’s no secret that government agencies have been stepping up their oversight of employer-sponsored retirement plans in recent years.
Recent multi-multi-million dollar class action settlements by Nationwide, Mass Mutual and Lockheed Martin are only the latest wakeup calls for plan sponsors who are coming under magnified scrutiny by employee groups and advocates.
To the consternation of many plan sponsors, nearly one-third of eligible employees forego participation in their 401k or 403b plans. The percentage is slightly higher, around 38 percent, for smaller plans which are already struggling to achieve cost efficiencies.
The most heavily scrutinized fiduciary duty of a plan sponsor is its role as an Investment Steward, which also extends to members of the plan’s investment committee, trustees, and anyone else who is involved in the oversight of investment decisions for the plan.
With the heavy emphasis by plan sponsors on increasing plan participation and deferrals, another, potentially larger, challenge often simmers on the back burner. For many small to mid-size plans, the growing pool of terminated participants could begin to boil over, wreaking havoc on recordkeepers and significantly increasing plan costs.
For many small businesses comprised of one or several highly compensated employees and a few non-highly compensated employees, the Safe Harbor 401k plan may be the best option if maximizing contributions is a primary objective. Safe harbor plans effectively remove the barriers of discrimination testing that limits the amount that can be contributed for highly compensated employees.
Proposed Changes to Retirement Plans
For businesses with less than 25 employees, the allure of adopting a SIMPLE IRA as their employer-sponsored retirement plan is very tempting. Simple to set up – just set up an IRA for each eligible employee; and there is no administration. The required matching contribution is only 3 percent, and only on actual salary deferrals.