Often, plan sponsors are not fully aware of their fiduciary responsibilities to the plan that they have established for employees. Without periodic plan reviews, documentation of investment decisions, and ongoing participant communication and education, plan trustees may be held personally liable for any complaints filed against the plan. Our proactive and thoughtful process helps plan fiduciaries stay in compliance with section 404(c) of ERISA, and provides an important benefit to employees.
West Financial Services provides fee-only analysis and evaluation of company retirement plans, including investment options, participation, cost and design. Further, we act as a co-fiduciary with respect to decisions that impact the ultimate beneficiaries of the plan – the employees.
An overview of our approach:
Services start with a full evaluation of the current plan. Based on this evaluation, we may recommend changes that your current provider can implement to improve investment options, lower costs or improve overall service.
As part of the initial review, we evaluate available investment options, or select core funds using criteria documented by the trustees, or otherwise recommended based on the plan’s goals.
Investment Policy Statement
If a plan does not have an investment policy statement, we will help create one, or update an existing investment policy statement as part of the investment review and selection process. We believe that the drafting and implementation of a well-articulated investment policy statement is a key element in selecting and monitoring retirement plan investment options.
Employees appreciate having resources that help them to make good choices with regard to their retirement. To that end, we regularly meet with employees to review changes to the plan and investments. We also discuss retirement planning issues, risk management, and asset allocation. Periodic newsletters provide employees with ongoing economic commentary, individual fund performance reviews, and additional financial planning articles.
Plan sponsors or retirement plan investment committees should have a process for documenting all plan-related decisions. As part of our ongoing services, we create an annual trustee report that includes detailed fund reviews, participation and cost analysis, and recommendations for any changes based on the review and in coordination with the investment policy statement. Meetings with the trustees are held to review this report and prepare for the next plan year.
Action may not always bring happiness… but there is no happiness without action.