Retirement Plans

A recent study performed by the DOL found that a startling number of employee benefit plan audits were deficient. The DOL study also found that there was a “clear link between the number of employee benefit plan audits performed by a CPA and the quality of the audit work performed.”

The DOL found that 33% of audit reports reviewed failed to comply with one or more of ERISA’s reporting and disclosure requirements. It believes that this error rate is at an unacceptably high level.

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Corporate risk tied to employee benefit plans is escalating, refocusing the pursuit of excellence from program features to risk management. Many businesses and nonprofit organizations are changing their risk management systems in an attempt to meet these increasing risks head-on.

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Broad in its reach, short on implementation specifics, and bristling with teeth, ramped up enforcement of fiduciary duty under ERISA has sent CFOs and HR executives scrambling to get a handle on how to ensure their organizations’ compliant oversight of retirement plans.

As 401(k) and 403(b) type retirement plans mature, the need for internal controls for managing fiduciary practices grows, too. According to Department of Labor reports, those controls are sorely lacking in most plans.

There are 5 key reasons that internal controls for fiduciary governance lag far behind other corporate risk categories. Computer technology offers a convenient permanent solution.

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Widespread conflicts of interest and overpricing by many investment firms that serve 401(k) and 403(b) plans have been uncovered by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”). Many executives that manage those types of plans are understandably concerned. Maybe you are, too.

The DOL’s Conflict of Interest; Investment Advice Rule attacks the practices of investment advisors and investment program providers who conceal their conflicts of interest that result in excessive fees for participants in ERISA qualified retirement plans.

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The executives who make procurement decisions for their organization’s retirement plans, and who are responsible for negotiating the best arrangements with their vendors, are typically experts in the field of finance or human resources. Because of this, often times, these employee benefit plan sponsors do not speak their retirement plan vendors’ esoteric language.

Savvy vendors have capitalized on technical jargon to manufacture an “information gap.” The same language challenge faces buyers of every category of goods and services that businesses and nonprofits purchase with one major difference…those buyers have specialized training.

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) change in the definition of an investment fiduciary has ushered in a dramatic shift in risk management focus for chief financial officers and human resource executives. This article explores how the “old school” way of interacting with investment advice providers has been jolted by a new imperative.

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