Retirement Plans

As a sponsor of retirement plans for your employees, you play a critical role in their future and the future of the communities in which they live and will spend their retirement incomes. The role of administering a retirement plan is an important organizational and societal action and carries one of the highest standards known under the law – a fiduciary duty.

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The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which covers most retirement plans, describes the standards by which a retirement plan fiduciary will be judged at an expert standard.

Operating under these duties can be difficult because the products being sold to a plan sponsors in the financial services marketplace are designed to primarily benefit the financial service provider and can create conflicts with the exclusive interest of participants.

In 2014, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) identified significant monetary findings in nearly 65% of the civil investigations it opened. The average asset recovery was over $80,000. Additionally, the results of over 200,000 participant-initiated inquiries recovered over $356 million in benefits on behalf of plan participants. The EBSA is actively seeking evidence from plan sponsors that they are abiding by the high operational standards, which the Department of Labor describes in their publication “Meeting your Fiduciary Responsibilities.”

Operating a retirement plan can be complicated and confusing. Laws are changing, products are changing, participants are entering and exiting, service providers are acquired or want to provide additional service, organizations have employees leave key positions, additional disclosure and plan analysis are required.

At Hardy Reed, retirement investments are in good hands. Over 50 years of combined consulting experience is applied to every retirement plan/pension client. Advanced designations earned by our team include, AIFA® Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst™, CIMA® Certified Investment Management Analyst®, and PPC™ Professional Plan Consultant™. Hardy Reed also has four CEFEX Analysts on staff — more than any other firm in the US.

Vice President of Retirement Plan Services, Ken Parkinson, holds the professional designations of Professional Plan Consultant™(PPC™), CFS® (Certified Fund Specialist®) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst® (AIFA®) and serves as a CEFEX Analyst. The Hardy Reed team’s retirement plan experience includes work on defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans for corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and government entities.

Plan sponsors are now actively seeking professional, independent retirement plan experts, like our team at Hardy Reed, to help them develop a process — known as plan governance, that will help them mitigate their fiduciary liabilities, improve participant outcomes, reduce reputational risk, and bring greater value to the organization and plan participants.

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