Retirement Plan Stress Test

The Department of Labor, as well as numerous class action lawsuits, have put fiduciary liability and risk management front and center for retirement plans. Plan sponsors, trustees and even plan committee members may be personally liable. We have designed the two part stress test to identify gaps between  your current processes and best practices.

The stress test will take less than 10 minutes to complete (must be done in one session). In addition to the policy and procedure stress test, we can complete a full plan benchmark through the optional second step below.  

Plan benchmark (optional):  
A digital copy of your latest Annual Plan Review is required to complete the second section in this assessment (this section is optional). Your Annual Plan Review can be found on your provider's website. 

Post stress test:
Once you have completed the stress test, we will put together an aggregate report and follow up to discuss your results and suggested next steps.  

Thank you in advance for your participation and we look forward to serving you.
Information about you

Name *

Title *

Phone Number *

Company Name *

Plan Name *

Approximately how many people are currently participating in your plan? *

What is the approximate value of your plan? *

Name of Recordkeeper (e.g. John Hancock, Transamerica, Mass Mutual) *

Name of payroll provider *

Plan Administration and Behaviors

The first section of this assessment focuses on plan administration and behaviors. This section will measure four basic dimensions of your plan: Risk, Investments, Education and Operations/Plan Design.

There is a formal Plan Committee with written policies and procedures. *

A formal committee with defined roles makes it clear for the trustees what responsibilities they have.

Trustees / Committee members are covered by fiduciary insurance (not same as required Fidelity Bond). *

The Plan is a separate legal entity from the company. It is important to make sure the company D&O policy extends to fiduciaries of the plan - whether they are an officer or not.

Trustee / Committee maintains fiduciary folder with plan policies, plan documents, participant communication & other records; the policy statements and procedures are reviewed annually. *

A single repository containing all governing documents, meeting minutes and plan communications. Important to show plan fiduciaries are organized and following obligations.

Participants are properly notified regarding fee disclosures and required notices. *

These notices are the crux of fee disclosure requirements to participants. There are specific requirements for sending these notices.

Participants are educated on key policies and procedures put in place by Trustee / Committee. *

Advisor meets face to face with committee annually. *

Meeting at least annually is crucial. Depending on your plan size/needs, multiple in-person meetings may be warranted.

The advisor is serving as a Fiduciary - in writing. *

There are two distinct advisory relationships: a fiduciary or a broker. A fiduciary doesn't receive compensation from selling products (commissions) and must always act in a client's best interest. A broker is only required to sell suitable products.

There is a written Fee Policy Statements (FPS). *

An FPS outlines exactly what and how fees are paid, including how the fees are allocated to participants. This helps ensure fees are paid fairly across participants.

Overall plan fees and plan design features are benchmarked annually. *

ERISA requires plan sponsors to ensure the fees are "fair and reasonable" - a written benchmark using independent industry data helps meet this obligation.

Some or all plan fees are paid for by revenue sharing from investments. *


There is a written Investment Policy Statement (IPS). *

The IPS shows that fiduciaries are using a prudent process when selecting and monitoring funds.

Plan investments are monitored quarterly. *

At minimum plan investments should be monitored annually.

The plan has a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA). *

QDIA's provide plan sponsors additional legal protection under ERISA.

The plan offers a Money Market fund. *

The aggregate plan investment allocation generally matches expectations based on participant demographics (i.e. younger workforce would be more aggressively invested). *

A negative correlation between a participants age and their allocation to aggressive funds can signal a lack of plan education.


There is a written Education Policy Statement (EPS). *

The EPS is used to outline how participants are educated and through what mediums.

Annual Education meetings are conducted. *

At minimum, education meetings should be held annually.

Education meetings cover general financial topics and also plan specific information. *

Meeting topics should cover more than plan investments. Topics should be relevant and beneficial given the current market sentiment.

Annual enrollment meetings are conducted. *

At minimum, enrollment meetings should be held annually.

There are specific education meeting (materials) for participants over age 50. *

A huge portion of the workforce is over age 50, preparing your employees for a quickly approaching retirement is crucial.

Operations / Plan Design

Highly compensated employees are able to maximize contributions. *

Plans with high corrective distributions often benefit from plan design changes and increased employee education.

Participant deferral changes and payroll are coordinated to minimize HR involvement. *

HR should not be burdened by administrative tasks related to the 401k plan.

The plan has both auto-enrollment and auto-increases by default. *

The results are in! Employees in a plan with auto-enroll and auto-increase have a much higher chance of retiring on time!

There is a process to (try to) move former employees out of the plan within 90 days of departure and those with balances under $5,000 are automatically removed from plan. *

Terminated employees with a balance are an unneeded liability.

Eligibility and enrollment options reviewed annually. *

Needs change, review your plan eligibility and enrollment options annually.

Plan Operations and Performance

The second section of the assessment focuses specifically on your plan's structural components and performance. We will use the data in this section to provide you with a free benchmark that will compare your plan to industry standards and best practices.
Please provide your most recent version of your Annual Plan Review document (Also known as your Plan Summary. This document should contain your plan's Form 408(b)(2) which includes a list of your plan's funds and their expenses).

Have there been any material changes to your company and it's plan since your last filing?

Please provide an explanation of the change(s)

Examples of material changes include business events such as mergers or acquisitions, change in number of employees, plan additions or changes such as matching or safe harbor status.
Thank you for providing us your information.

One of our consultants will contact you in the next 3-5 business days to schedule a time to discuss your results.

During your scheduled consultation you will receive a report that includes a plan benchmark. This report will compares your plan's Administration Behaviors and Operational Performance against accepted industry best practices. Your consultant will provide you with recommendations for remediating specific plan issues.

We look forward to working with you!

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