Three New Year's Resolutions for Plan Sponsors

It's time again to make resolutions for the New Year. If you're like me, some of these resolutions you'll keep and some....well, may not be so easy. In my view, simplicity is the key to successful resolution keeping, so I've considered three (yes, only three!) to consider.

Create a Fiduciary File

Make sure you have one - and that it is up to date. This file should contain all plan documents and amendments. Thanks to the world of emails and the Portable Document Format (pdf), records of all plan documents and amendments requires a lot less paper and are much easier to store. Client portals like Innovest's InnoVault, allow plan sponsors to upload documents to a secure server so they are available when needed. A fiduciary file not only maintains copies of plan documents, but it also houses documentation of the decisions made by the board and a written summary of the processes used to reach those decisions. Keeping documents related to all fiduciary decisions, such as hiring service providers, meeting minutes, changing and reviewing investment options, and other decisions, ensures that you're creating a paper trail for future board members and protecting yourself in case of an audit.

Review Plan Expenses

Plan sponsors have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the plan's fees and expenses are reasonable. Plan sponsors need to review the expenses charged to their plan and determine whether they are reasonable for the services provided. Plan sponsors should have received fee disclosures from their plan provider. Reviewing the disclosures and benchmarking those fees to those charged in similarly sized plans are the most effective ways to ensure that plan expenses are reasonable. Who knows? This exercise might also provide you the opportunity to renegotiate lower fees, and the savings to the plan could be substantial. That would be a great way to begin 2018!

Review Plan Providers

Plan Sponsors need to resolve to review the work of their providers to make sure they are doing the work promised. Reviewing the services standards, education offerings and other promised services ensures that your plan is receiving the services for which it has paid. Plan sponsors should review their plan providers by either doing the work themselves or by hiring a qualified consultant to evaluate the offerings in comparison to other providers in the marketplace. Vendors frequently introduce new tools and technologies, which provides an opportunity to learn about new tools and services that may add value to your participants.