I am an experienced, fee-only advisor and Accredited Investment Fiduciary that consults with business owners or executives on 401(k) and other plans to:
- Point out problems with potential to cost you personally, sometimes called a fiduciary risk audit (Every company has at least one fiduciary, normally senior executives and/or owners)
- Help you write a plan investment policy statement (IPS) with proper implementation and monitoring compliant with fi360 fiduciary standards
- Write or rewrite plan processes, procedures, and documentation to comply with fi360 fiduciary standards
- Write and install prudent best practices and documentation on regular administrator, advisor and fund reviews
- Save money on overall plan costs
- Improve plan investments performance and suitability for your particular workforce
- Improve plan participation through regular on-site participant meetings and education
- Point out potential conflicts of interest
- Hire better administration and service, if your current administrator/recordkeeper is not performing well
- “Properly appoint” an investment advisor, if the one you have is not properly appointed or is insufficiently informed in the complex area of 401(k) plans
- Show you how to improve the plan through ideas like adding a Roth option, auto-enrollment, S.S. integration, and ideas to increase owner/executive contributions
401(k) Liability Issues
I point out potential liability issues so that you can meet IRS and ERISA obligations (the latter is enforced by the Dept. of Labor).
The vast majority of plans I review as a Charlotte 401k Consultant are missing badly needed policies, procedures and documentation. These are not items in your plan document, or that your plan administrator put in place, or likely being done by H.R. or even covered in most plan audits by a CPA firm. They are things in which an owner or senior executive needs to be involved, both initially and on a periodic basis. The time commitment is not onerous and is necessary. This is serious business.
Here’s why. If your retirement plan is audited by the Dept. of Labor or sued by an unhappy participant or former participant the cost can be very high. It probably could have been avoided had you been properly informed on what you needed to do and documented it properly. That this avoidable liability is so prevalent is a travesty.
Improving Plan Investments
Many times investments available for inclusion in a plan are tightly restricted by the plan provider. Often, especially with bank plans the performance is less than it could be. Rarely can they do as I can and select the best from among thousands of funds of all types for inclusion in the specific plan. The choice should be informed by workforce demographics but many advisors do not take this into account. Insurance companies usually offer only investment choices with unit values that are nearly impossible to verify and have hidden costs.
Improving Plan Costs
Many advisors charge too much, especially given that they usually don’t understand 401(k) laws or regulations and how to comply with them. Paying higher fees than are reasonable for the work done is a prohibited transaction that can potentially have costly consequences. Fees on 401(k)s have been dropping the last few years but too many plans still pay the same fees. Even with the new disclosure regulations some hidden costs are missed. Our Charlotte 401k Consultant has the knowledge to guide you through the process.
Some plans have revenue sharing that is paid to your company from the mutual funds. If your plan is over $1 million you should be considering such plans to help lower plan costs.
Improving Plan Participation and Education
Plan participants typically don’t contribute enough to finance their retirement. It may not be fear or economic hardship, but lack of understanding of plan investments, poor plan investment performance, uncertainty over what to choose or perhaps lack of personalized information on what they need to contribute. These are fixable issues.
Eliminating Conflicts of Interest
Often plan advisors or administrators are friends of company management or they manage the owner’s or executive’s personal investments. This can be a conflict of interest, especially if fees are higher than in the market generally or for the work performed. The IRS is crystal clear that any person affecting the plan must act strictly in the best interest of plan participants.
I am Fee-Only
All my work is done for either an hourly charge, flat fee or asset fee. I do not profit by what investments I recommend or by which administrator or trustee I suggest for a plan. All 401k fees are fully and clearly disclosed, unlike many plans from banks or insurance companies. There are no surrender fees.
If requested, I can take the place of the current investment advisor. If so, other fees incurred in my review of the plan are credited against my quarterly fee. I can sometimes take over the plan as is or you and I may decide to replace the administrator or provider. Once you talk with me you will quickly see the difference in what I offer over what most advisors are doing.
Plan trustees, management, your payroll department or participants may call anytime. Regular reports for trustees can be tailored according to their preferences.
Keep Your Plan Up-to-Date
If you adopt the administrator’s plan document, they will keep it up-to-date with changes in laws and regulations, helping you keep your plan document in compliance.
Retirement Plan Audit Charlotte – Call Me
A second opinion on your retirement plan audit and your liabilities costs you nothing. I do not charge for an initial review and a review could make a huge difference, especially on the matter of personal liability. I don’t sell insurance; I put in place better policies, procedures, documentation and often better investment management. My number is 704-698-1040 or 800-566-2721.