A retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), is a valuable employee retention and recruitment benefit. But sponsoring one takes a great deal of work and employees do not always fully understand the plan’s value or utilize its benefits. Meanwhile, you need to make sure the investment options are sound, diverse, and low cost while meeting participant needs. That means developing an investment policy statement and monitoring process that:
- provides ongoing vigilance,
- regularly reviews participant and fund behavior, and
- considers new investment options.
When asked why they did not participate in their employer’s 401(k) plan, 40 percent of respondents to a survey said they did not have time to enroll. Nearly an equal percent said they did not earn enough, and 19 percent cited the hassle of enrollment as the reason for non-participation. These concerns, as well as other factors, could be affecting the participation and retirement readiness of the employees of your organization. Here are a few ways you can address these common concerns and increase plan participation rates.
Retirement plan risks cannot be avoided, but they can be managed in order to minimize their impact on plan participants and sponsors. Employers and sponsors that offer defined contribution (DC) plans have a fiduciary responsibility to measure, manage and mitigate the various factors and risks that could affect those plans.
Protecting a retirement savings plan and its assets requires effective governance. The need was particularly intensified in recent years by several employee class action lawsuits scrutinizing employer governance of 401(k) and other defined contribution plans (e.g., 403(b) and 457).
What does it mean to be a member of your company’s retirement plan committee? It probably means that you are intelligent and dependable and your CEO values your contributions. Your company leadership believes you are trustworthy, enough so to give you control over something as important as their retirement. It also means that you are now a fiduciary.
Being a fiduciary is a legal responsibility that you automatically take on when you become a committee member. However, do you and the other committee members even know what a fiduciary is?
You’ve taken the leap to offer a 401(k) plan for your employees. It’s an added expense and takes administrative hours, but you know that it is well worth the increase in employee well-being and the benefits it provides in recruiting.
But how is your 401(k) doing? Is it everything you dreamed it would be, or are you still unsatisfied? If the customer service, fees, or investment performance are leaving you unsettled, it might be time to change your 401(k) provider.