I always joke that I get rid of old grudges to make way for new ones. Recently, an advisor asked about a well-known third-party administrator (TPA) for a plan that I serve as a fiduciary. This TPA has a very good reputation as is well known for a certain part of the 401(k) industry.
Being too honest to a fault, I told the advisor about my issues with the TPA, which results from a job offer that went awry a very long time ago. Let’s just say the job offer salary was well below what they advertised the ERISA attorney position for. When I asked about flexible scheduling that they mentioned during my interviews, the job offer was yanked. In the end, I think things worked out better for me. It was a time in my life when my kids were much younger, the job would have been sort of a demotion at the time, and the travel (when gas was around $4 a gallon after Hurricane Katrina) would have been brutal.
The TPA looked like a great fit and I told the advisor because I wanted him to know the grudge I had and that the grudge would not be the reason I wouldn’t hire them. In the end, whatever you do, it has to be in the best interests of the plan participants. Get rid of grudges that might negatively impact your clients and plan particpants, and make ways for new ones.