We hear often from clients or prospective clients that they understand what it means to be a fiduciary. But when it comes to the specifics, there seems to be uncertainty. According to the 2017 Fidelity Plan Sponsor Attitudes survey, the second biggest concern for plan sponsors was fiduciary responsibility. Further, 76% of respondents to the same survey stated that they have hired or are considering hiring someone to help them with their fiduciary responsibilities.
With the Agway, Inc., Ford Motor Company, and Fifth Third Bancorp cases in the news over the past few years, plan sponsors are increasingly understanding the impact of the litigation and scrutiny surrounding fiduciary education. We are seeing auditing and attorney firms highly recommending a proactive approach to fiduciary education. This means, if your plan requires an annual audit, you will likely be asked for this type of documentation for your audit. Here are a few comments we have seen come from recent lawsuits:
- “It has been reported that during routine audits, DOL officials seek documentation as to the level of fiduciary training that has been given to plan fiduciaries. The DOL takes the view that fiduciary training evidences prudent fiduciary practice.” Kutak Rock (5-20-13)
- “Department of Labor is looking into fiduciary training as part of the agency’s investigations into retirement plans.” Trucker Huss (10-11-13)
- “Plan sponsors should ensure that plan fiduciaries receive fiduciary training on a regular basis.” Winston (5-28-14)
The SRP Fiduciary Training Center was designed with a goal to ensure plan sponsors are receiving the support they need. Our web-based approach provides a work at your own pace support to your existing committee members and can bring your new committee members up to speed without having to take valuable time from committee meetings.
Contact Lisa Petronio for more information on how the Fiduciary Training Center may complement your holistic relationship with Walsh Duffield/SRP or a stand-alone service.
Lisa M. Petronio, CPFA, RICP®
Vice President, Retirement Plan Consulting Group