Question: Our plan committee has worked hard this year to maintain a consistent system of checks and balances with regard to plan compliance. Are there any items in particular we should prioritize in terms of staying compliant with our retirement plan?
Answer: There are definitely some potential compliance violations that are more common among retirement plans. The Government Accountability Office recently published a 56-page report, click here, which provides updated information regarding the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s (EBSA’s) enforcement activities and how the agency is working to improve their investigative and enforcement processes.
As far as retirement plans go, the most common Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) violation categories found in closed EBSA investigations through 2020 included:
- Fiduciary imprudence (869 cases)
- Exclusive purpose (793 cases)
- Fiduciary self-dealing (543 cases)
- Prohibited transactions with a party in interest (457 cases)
- Failure to follow plan documents (344 cases)
- Improper benefit to employer (235 cases)
- Duty of disclosure: plan descriptions and summary plan descriptions (183 cases)
- Bonding (159 cases).
Your plan advisor is a great resource to help you better understand what these violations encompass and how best to avoid them.