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May 7, 2021

Role of a Retirement Plan Advisor

David Lemire, CFA
David Lemire, CFA, Senior Advisor and Head of Retirement Plans, discusses key attributes to look for when choosing an advisor for your company’s retirement plan.

Retirement plan advisors can play a critical role in helping you manage your company’s retirement plan. Those lucky few tagged with this responsibility (aka “Plan fiduciaries”) must act as prudent experts under ERISA (The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) and are therefore held to a high standard of care concerning plan-related decisions.

Most prudent organizations (aka “plan sponsors”) hire an advisor to help them adhere to ERISA’s rigorous standards where — every decision you make as a fiduciary must be in the best interests of plan participants and their beneficiaries. While important, that role increasingly is the minimum standard for hiring and retaining an advisor. Leading organizations look to their advisors to help them craft a retirement program anchored in best practices – to craft a program to help your employees “to live a great life”. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

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Attributes of a Good AdvisorWhy It Should Be Important To You
IndependenceAbility to provide advice and counsel objectively and without conflict
Familiarity with ERISAAbility to keep you updated on litigation, legislation and regulations impacting plans and fiduciaries
Prudent ExpertAn ERISA requirement that fiduciaries act with the skill, knowledge, and expertise of a prudent expert
Expertise with Plan OptionsAbility to help your plan meet its goals and objectives while maintaining fiduciary excellence
Knowledge of the MarketplaceAbility to ensure that your plan is being administered in the most efficient and cost-effective manner
Qualified Plan Investment ExpertiseAbility to ensure that your plan’s investments are selected and monitored prudently.
Documentation SkillsAbility to demonstrate procedural prudence in a well-documented manner
Communication SkillsAbility to educate employees and fiduciaries in a manner that helps the plan reach its goals and objectives
Acceptance of Role as a Co-FiduciaryWillingness to acknowledge in writing that they are a co-fiduciary to your plan
Full and Open DisclosureFully and openly discloses all sources of fees being received

Responsibility for providing a retirement plan can be daunting, we are dedicated to helping you create and maintain a great plan. Reach out to start a conversation.

David Lemire, Senior Advisor and Head of Retirement Plans

This document is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. Plan fiduciaries are urged to seek the advice of their attorneys as to their precise duties, responsibilities, and liabilities.

About Strategic

Founded in 1979, Strategic is a leading investment and wealth management firm managing and advising on client assets of over $2 billion.

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