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Fiduciary Education Campaign

Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities

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The Fiduciary Education Campaign, a compliance assistance initiative of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), is designed to improve workers' health and retirement security by educating employers and service providers about their fiduciary responsibilities under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Plan sponsors and other fiduciaries have a solemn responsibility to protect the interests of the workers and retirees in their benefit plans.  The Department's program "Getting It Right-Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities" will provide employers and plan officials with an understanding of the law and their responsibilities and will focus on steps for avoiding the most common problems EBSA encounters in its enforcement activities. The program emphasizes the obligation of plan sponsors and other fiduciaries to:

  • Understand the terms of their plans
  • Select and monitor service providers carefully
  • Make timely contributions to fund benefits
  • Avoid prohibited transactions; and
  • Make timely disclosures to workers and their beneficiaries and reports to the government

The Fiduciary Education Campaign includes nationwide educational seminars and webcasts to help plan sponsors understand rules and meet their responsibilities to workers and retirees, thereby improving their financial security.  The campaign also includes educational materials on topics such as understanding fees and selecting an auditor.

ERISA Fiduciary Advisor

The ERISA Fiduciary Advisor provides information and answers to a variety of questions about who is a fiduciary and their responsibilities under ERISA. It was developed by EBSA in its continuing effort to increase awareness and understanding about basic fiduciary responsibilities when operating a retirement plan.

Publications

Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities [en espaŮol]
To meet their responsibilities as plan sponsors, employers need to understand some basic rules, specifically the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  ERISA sets standards of conduct for those who manage an employee benefit plan and its assets (called fiduciaries).  This publication provides an overview of the basic fiduciary responsibilities applicable to retirement plans under the law.

Understanding Retirement Plan Fees And Expenses
This booklet will help retirement plan sponsors better understand and evaluate their plan's fees and expenses.  While the focus is on fees and expenses involved with 401(k) plans, many of the principles discussed in the booklet also will have application to all types of retirement plans.

401(k) Plan Fee Disclosure Tool
A form developed by banking, insurance and mutual fund trade groups to provide employers with a way to collect and compare investment fees and administrative costs of competing providers of plan services, now available in MS Word format. This form was not developed by the Department and was not designed to ensure compliance with the Department's regulations on service provider fee disclosure to plans or plan fee disclosure to 401(k) plan participants and beneficiaries.

Selecting An Auditor For Your Employee Benefit Plan
Federal law requires employee benefit plans with 100 or more participants to have an audit as part of their obligation to file the Form 5500.  This booklet will assist plan administrators in selecting an auditor and reviewing the audit work and report.

Selecting And Monitoring Pension Consultants - Tips For Plan Fiduciaries
ERISA requires that fiduciaries of employee benefit plans administer and manage their plans prudently and in the interest of the planís participants and beneficiaries. In carrying out these responsibilities, plan fiduciaries often rely heavily on pension consultants and other professionals for help. Findings included in a report by the SEC released in May 2005, however, raise serious questions concerning whether some pension consultants are fully disclosing potential conflicts of interest that may affect the objectivity of the advice they are providing to their pension plan clients.

Tips For Selecting And Monitoring Service Providers For Your Employee Benefit Plan
Business owners are responsible for ensuring that their 401(k) plans comply with Federal law and rely on other professionals to assist them with their plan duties. Selecting a service provider is one of the most important responsibilities of a plan sponsor.

Target Date Retirement Funds - Tips for ERISA Plan Fiduciaries - Target date retirement funds (also called target date funds or TDFs) have become an increasingly popular investment option in 401(k) plans and similar employee-directed retirement plans. EBSA prepared the following general guidance to assist plan fiduciaries in selecting and monitoring TDFs and other investment options in 401(k) and similar participant-directed individual account plans.

Reporting and Disclosure Guide for Employee Benefit Plans
This guide is intended to be used as a quick reference tool for certain basic reporting and disclosure requirements under ERISA.

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

The Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) is designed to encourage employers to voluntarily comply with ERISA by self-correcting violations of the law. Workers can benefit from the program as a result of the increased retirement security associated with restoration of plan assets and payment of additional benefits. The program also will help plan officials understand the law. In addition, the Department is giving applicants immediate relief from payment of excise taxes under a class exemption.

Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program

The Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) is designed to encourage voluntary compliance with the annual reporting requirements under ERISA. The program gives delinquent plan administrators a way to avoid potentially higher civil penalty assessments by satisfying the programís requirements and voluntarily paying a reduced penalty amount. To increase incentives for delinquent plan administrators to voluntarily comply, the Department reduced penalties and simplified the rules governing participation in the program.