The Highest Standard is the Most Credible Standard

“We cannot say that (Defendant) was imprudent merely because the Balanced Fund lost money; such a pronouncement would convert the Balanced Fund into an account with a guaranteed return and would immunize plaintiffs from assuming any of the risk of loss associated with their investment. ‘The fiduciary duty of care,’ as the district court so cogently stated it, ‘requires prudence, not prescience.’ “

Debruyne v. Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, 920 F.2d 457, 465 (7th Cir. 1990) (Wood).

Standards of Excellence

Employer plan sponsors are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their compliance with fiduciary regulations. Recently, the number of plan participant lawsuits has increased. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor (DOL) is demanding greater accountability and transparency in plan oversight and governance. To address these challenges, many plan sponsors are requesting guidance to help them identify fiduciary deficiencies and achieve conformance with plan sponsor Standards of Excellence.

Some plan sponsors need a comprehensive evaluation of their fiduciary practices, while others want impartial perspectives on service provider and participant disclosures. Our company offers a variety of assessment options to address your needs.

The Plan Sponsor Review

This review can help you determine how well your plan’s investment management and governance processes conform to the plan sponsor Standards of Excellence.

  • Review conducted primarily by analyzing your plan’s fiduciary acknowledgements, investment due diligence process, current investment choices, and conflict of interest policies
  • Results are increased efficiency and effectiveness in regulatory compliance and portfolio oversight to serve in the best interest of the plan participants

Upon completion, employers receive:

  • A Center for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) Report that summarizes the Analyst’s findings and evaluates your organization’s conformance with fiduciary best practices
  • A Monitoring Report that analyzes and rates the prudence of your plan’s investment portfolio in a variety of areas, including performance, risk management and style drift.
  • A Fee and Expense Report that provides a clear summary of fees charged by investment companies and advisors
  • A Registered Opinion Letter from CEFEX that states the Review has been conducted by a qualified Analyst in accordance with CEFEX’s assessment standards.

The Duty of Loyalty, Care and Utmost Good Faith

In the private sector, the transition from defined benefit (DB) plans to defined contribution plans (DC) has taken place over the last 30 years. In 1979, defined benefit plans accounted for 62% of retirement plan types among workers with a plan, while defined contribution plans accounted for 16%. In 2011, defined benefit plans accounted for 7%, while defined contribution plans accounted for 69%*. In the public sector, many state and local governmental plans are considering adopting a defined contribution, 401(k) style plan for their organizations, and many already have voluntary programs in place.

As an employer, regardless of whether you are a for-profit corporation or a public entity such as an educational institution or municipal government, adherence to the highest standard of care for your organization’s DB or DC retirement plan is in the best interest of the plan participants. TJW Fiduciary Plan Consultants, LLC believes in fulfilling the duties of Loyalty, Care, and Utmost Good Faith in delivering a prudent process in the oversight of your organization’s plan-sponsored retirement program.

*Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute