As you bask in the glory of summer over the next couple of months, don’t forget the three Fs that define this cherished season — fun, Fourth of July, and fiduciary! While you’re enjoying the fruits of summer, don’t forget your fiduciary responsibilities! Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are on top of your responsibilities and liabilities.
1. Are you practicing procedural prudence when making plan management decisions?
2. Do you clearly understand the DOL’s TIPS on selecting and monitoring your QDIA in order to obtain fiduciary protection?
3. Are you documenting each plan management decision and its support?
4. Are you familiar with current trends in fiduciary litigation?
5. Are you certain that your plan is being administered in accordance with your plan document provisions?
6. What fiduciary liability mitigation strategies are you following? (Fiduciaries are personally financially responsible for any fiduciary breaches that disadvantage participants.)
7. Are you kept abreast of regulatory changes?
8. Are you appropriately determining reasonableness of plan fees, services and investment opportunities?
9. How do you define “success” for your plan and what metrics do you use to track progress?
10. Is your current plan design communicating the appropriate messaging to encourage success for your participants and plan fiduciaries? 11. Is your menu efficiently designed for benefit of participants and plan fiduciaries?
12. Are you certain you are providing all required communications and distributions to plan participants (including former participants with account balances)?
13. Are you handling missing participants appropriately?
14. Are you appropriately monitoring and documenting your fiduciary activities and those of your service providers?
15. Are you maintaining plan records appropriately?
Many fiduciaries are unaware of their fiduciary responsibilities or do not understand them. As you contemplate these important questions while staying cool this summer, if you need help uncovering the answers to any of these important questions, do not hesitate to ask your plan advisor.