Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Q: What are the duties of a retirement plan fiduciary?
A: A fiduciary is a person who has some authority or control over the management of a retirement plan or its assets. This could be a small-business owner, officers of a company or plan trustees and could include the HR professionals in companies that offer retirement benefits. Anyone who helps to make decisions about how a retirement plan is managed, how its assets are invested, or helps to select a plan provider or funds is probably a fiduciary.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) mandates the duties and responsibilities of a plan fiduciary. ERISA focuses on five major duties for a plan fiduciary: first, act in the best interests of plan participants and beneficiaries; second, understand and be aware of all expenses paid from the plan; third, make prudent decisions regarding the plan, including investments and service providers; fourth, act in accordance with plan documents; and fifth, monitor the plan’s investments.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has developed a checklist for fiduciaries to measure how well they are handling their duties, and reading it might help clarify what those duties entail. Some of the checklist items are these:
Failure to comply with ERISA and act responsibly as a plan fiduciary can have serious repercussions, including heavy fines and possibly even jail. According to the SBA, proper fiduciary oversight takes only about an hour a month, and it is time well worth investing. For more information, or to read the SBA report, “Retirement Plan Management for Small Businesses,” click on http://www.sba.gov/nationwide/index.htm.
Deborah A. Keary, SPHR, is director of SHRM’s Information Center and Library.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies