In addition to compiling documentation which will be requested by your Plan auditor, there are a few things plan sponsors should do annually to ensure the fiduciary responsibility is being met. This includes:
Perform a “check-up” on funds offered by the Plan
This is especially important as plan participants are likely becoming nervous as they see the value of their retirement account dwindle with the stock market. Maximizing fund returns will keep plan participants satisfied with fund options so they continue to contribute to the Plan. Items you should consider as it relates to fund offerings include:
- Do the funds still meet the diversification requirements per the Department of Labor?
- How have the funds offered by the Plan performed compared to other funds? Consult the Plan investment advisor to help determine whether a change in the mix of funds offered is necessary
- What are the true administrative costs of the Plan? Many investment houses net certain administrative costs from the plan returns
Review control structure of the plan
- Have there been any changes in service providers?
- Have there been any changes to the plan document? If so, are you still administering the Plan according to the Plan document?
Review eligible plan participants
As the economy continues to recede, you may have laid off employees thus decreasing the number of eligible plan participants. Now is a good time to determine whether your Plan still requires an audit. If you have less than 100 eligible participants at the beginning of the Plan year, the Plan may no longer require an audit.