Make sure clients check plan document vs. practice


I’ve spent 21 years as an ERISA attorney and took some classes when I was getting my LLM and I learn something new about retirement plans every day. As a financial advisor, you likely didn’t have the training to be an ERISA expert, so there is so much you don’t know.


One of the biggest errors out there that could embroil your plan sponsor clients is when the plan document says one thing and your client does something else, It’s a huge problem. Retirement plans have to live by the plan document that governs them, any delineation is a huge compliance program that could subject the plan to penalties and possible disqualification.


It might make sense for you to get your client’s plan document reviewed and make sure the plan in administration is consistent. When I draft plan documents, there is this handy index that my volume submitter publisher creates that makes reviewing the plan easy. Most plan documents, you don’t get that handy index. So have your plan reviewed by an ERISA attorney (hi, there) or the trusted third-party administrator to review the plan document against practice and fix whatever doesn’t match through a plan amendment, self-correction, or a voluntary compliance program.

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