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Role of a Retirement Financial Professional

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

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Role of a Retirement Financial Professional
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Most prudent plan sponsors hire a financial professional to help them adhere to ERISA's rigorous standards and to meet their objective of offering a best practices retirement plan to their employees. But for plan sponsors considering hiring a retirement financial professional, what are the attributes of a good one?

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. ERISA rules are 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.

Attributes of a Good Financial Professional

Why You Should Hire One


Ability to help evaluate funds and providers objectively and without conflict of interest

Familiarity with ERISA

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

Expertise with Plan Design

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

Knowledge of the Provider Marketplace

Ability to ensure that our plan is being administered in the most efficient manner and for a reasonable price, and benchmark on an annual basis

Qualified Plan Investment Expertise

Ability to evaluate, select and monitor fund performance

Documentation Skills

Ability to demonstrate procedural prudence in a well-documented manner

Communication Skills

Ability to educate employees regarding plan highlights and how to create an appropriate investment strategy

Acceptance of Role as a Co-Fiduciary

Willingness to acknowledge in writing that they’re a co-fiduciary to our plan with respect to the investment advice being delivered

Full and Open Disclosure

Fully and openly discloses all sources of fees being received on a direct and/or indirect basis

Participant Outcomes

Provide plan guidance to aid plan design, and participant education to improve participant outcomes

Participant Advice

Ability to provide customized advice to individual participants

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