Qualified Plan Consulting
Why might you need fiduciary assistance?
401(k) and other qualified retirement plans have supplanted defined benefit plans as the primary source of business retirement savings in the US. The importance of qualified plans has become greater as social security funding projections have declined. Finally, pervasive underperformance in qualified plan accounts, in combination with the above two factors, are catalyzing increased oversight and enforcement of qualified plan administration.
Plan sponsors always have been personally liable for the administration of plan assets but now, more than ever, plan fiduciaries face increasing risk of liability for not meeting standards for transparency and accountability in discrete areas of plan administration. Some key fiduciary responsibility considerations for investment committees and all other plan sponsors include:
- Plan sponsors are expected to stay on top of a fast-changing regulatory environment.
- Plan sponsors are the primary educational resource for plan participants.
- Investments must be selected and monitored with the care, skill, and prudence of an expert.
- Fiduciary responsibility cannot be delegated.
- Plan sponsors and all other plan fiduciaries are now measured on the results of the “participant experience” in the qualified plan.
- Fiduciaries must act solely in the interest of the plan participants and their beneficiaries.
The magnitude of potential enforcement of plan fiduciary liability is illustrated by the following recent survey findings by the Employee Benefit Research Institute:
- 33% of respondents over age 55 have less than $25,000 in retirement savings.
- 77% of respondents have either a “basic,” “limited,” or no level of investment understanding.
- 53% of respondents have not done a retirement needs calculation.
How Oak Grove Capital can help:
We are committed to helping plan sponsors create a successful retirement plan experience for their participants by:
- Providing independent, unbiased advice both to plan sponsors and providers.
- Devising strategies to aid plan sponsors in mitigating potential fiduciary liability.
- Focusing on developing the plan features that will improve the retirement “plan experience” and readiness of all plan participants.
Specifically, we provide independent and unbiased fiduciary advisory services to plan sponsors and providers in four core areas:
1. Protecting Plan Fiduciaries:
- Assisting investment committee development and protocols
- Guiding and documenting independent plan provider searches and comparisons
- Providing comprehensive fee analysis and benchmarking
- Developing and managing strategies for employee education and advice with the investment plan committee
- Analysis of plan process for effectiveness in meeting fiduciary responsibility
2. Providing Co-Fiduciary Investment Support:
- Investment policy statement construction and/or review
- Investment product selection review and monitoring
- Model portfolio development and maintenance
- Investment performance reviews and reporting relative to peer group
- Review of “Qualified Default Investment Alternatives” (QDIAs)
3. Maximizing Plan Efficiency and Compliance:
- Providing the initial and follow-up needs analyses
- Developing and maintaining the fiduciary audit file
- Providing on-going plan administration analysis
- Providing fee transparency to minimize total plan cost
4. Maximizing Plan Participant Retirement Readiness:
- Designing customized employee communication program
- Offering customized investment advice
- Designing group education meetings
- Designing individual advisory meetings