This year, when you make New Year’s resolutions, be sure to have one about checking on the fees you pay to administer your plan. Even a company like Walmart, with its extensive legal resources, recently agreed to pay $13.5 million dollars along with Merrill Lynch for a class action settlement. Without admitting any fiduciary wrongdoing, they agreed to eliminate funds from their plans that carried high fees. A few reminders:
- Know what fees you pay and be prepared to justify them to your plan participants as well as the DOL.
- Be sure that record-keeping fees are documented separately from investment management fees.
- Diversify your plan portfolio, offering choices to plan participants.
- Communicate all changes to your plan participants and employees – clearly and promptly to avoid any misunderstandings.
Your plan auditor is a good source of information about ways to keep your plan in top fiduciary shape. Another good resource is the AICPA’s Accounting and Auditing Resource Centers.