Making sure you get the plan services you bargained for.

Plan sponsors must be certain what there adviser is aying is in the contract. You must read even the small print. If you want to advoid this exercise hire an independent fiduciary professional to assist you. Many service providers will use a number of ‘marketing gimmicks’ to get your business.

Fiduciary Building
Fiduciary Building (Photo credit: burt_frogblast)

People can promise you the moon, but they may deliver far less. That is why despite the promises made by your plan providers; you should always read their contract to determine whether they are actually delivering you what they promised.A few weeks back, an advisor looking at a prospective client showed me their agreement with their current ERISA §3(38) fiduciary. The only problem is that there was nothing in the contract that suggested that the fiduciary was an ERISA §3(38) fiduciary or was exercising discretionary authority over the fiduciary process. So for all intensive purposes, the provider may be providing the service, but the contract says differently.  So imagine if the plan sponsor has to sue the fiduciary for a breach of fiduciary duty and realize that the contract doesn’t protect them because the contract never claimed they were getting that 3(38) service.

So rather than taking the plan provider’s word, I recommend all plan sponsors to read those contracts to make sure they got what they bargained for. Otherwise, it’s another breach of fiduciary duty.

Enough said.

Please comment or call to discuss.

  • As a 401(k) plan sponsor, did you know that you must be prudent when you endorse service providers or products related to your retirement plans? (
  • Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure Regulations: Top Ten Steps Plan Sponsors Can Take To Meet the 401(k) Fee Disclosure Rules (
  • DOL Cracks Down on Retirement Plan Advisors for Fiduciary Negligence (
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