Role of a Retirement Plan Advisor

As a plan sponsor and fiduciary to your company’s retirement plan, you have certain responsibilities to ensure optimal investments, reasonable fees, and informed participants. With an advisor at your side, you can navigate these waters smoothly and with confidence to create a best practices retirement plan that helps protect you from liability and loss while promoting positive participant outcomes.

Plan fiduciaries must act as prudent experts under ERISA, and are therefore held to a high standard of care with respect to plan-related decisions regarding investments, service providers, plan administration, and general ERISA compliance issues. Most prudent plan sponsors hire a plan consultant (advisor) to assist them in adhering to ERISA’s rigorous standards, and to meet their objective of offering a best practices 401(k) or 403(b) plan to their employees.

Retirement Plans Experience

Demonstrates true specialty in retirement plan consulting; generalists can’t provide insulation or relieve pain points.



Ability to evaluate funds and service providers objectively and without conflict of interest, independent of your service provider.


Co-Fiduciary Status

Willingness to acknowledge in writing that they are a co-fiduciary to the plan as it relates to the selection and monitoring of investments.


ERISA §404(a) and §404(c) Expertise

Guides you through ERISA’s requirements. Provides checklists, forms, education modules, etc., to ensure prudent skill and care.


ERISA Updates

Ability to keep the committee updated on litigation, legislation and regulations impacting plans and fiduciaries.


Prudent Expert

ERISA section 404(a) requires fiduciaries to act with the skill, knowledge and expertise of a prudent expert.


Plan Design Expertise

Ability to help plans maintain qualified status while continuing to meet the goals and objectives of your organization.


Qualified Plan Investment Expertise

Ability to evaluate, select and monitor fund performance; demonstrates a documented process led by qualified CFAs & staff analysts.


Knowledge of Provider Marketplace

Demonstrates knowledge of plan fees, expenses and revenue sharing, and can properly benchmark your plan among other service providers, while ensuring that your plan is being administered in the most efficient manner and for a reasonable price.


Enrollment & Education Support

Ability to meet with your employees on-site to promote better understanding of investments and asset allocation.


Communication Skills

Ability to articulate plan details to the sponsor and participants, regardless of sophistication level, along with educating employees regarding plan highlights, and how to create an appropriate investment strategy.


Documentation Skills

Demonstrates procedural prudence in a well-documented manner, including meeting minutes, investment charter, online file storage, etc.


Thought Leadership & Advocacy

Serves as an active contributor to industry development; updates your committee on current legislation and trends impacting your plan.


Full and Open Disclosure

Fully and openly discloses all sources of fees received on a direct and/or indirect basis. States fees and frequency of services being delivered in writing.


ERISA’s rules are crystal clear: every decision you make as a fiduciary must be in the best interests of plan participants and their beneficiaries, and certain relationships may result in prohibited transactions.