12 Questions Asked During An ERISA DOL Investigation

The Department of Labor (DOL) continues to bring retirement plan fiduciary responsibilities to center stage. For the past five years, approximately 73% of retirement plans investigated were required to take some type of corrective action. In light of this focus, it is more important today than ever for plan sponsors to review their fiduciary process.

First, 5 Main Tips From a Former DOL Investigator:

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We asked our former Senior DOL Investigator to share the following 12 questions that are commonly asked by the DOL during an ERISA Investigation. Plan sponsors and employers should ask themselves: How well can I answer these questions? How solid is my fiduciary process? Below you can download our free fiduciary worksheet and score your compliance answers to duplicate a DOL Investigator interview.

1. Do you know exactly where all plan documents are and can you make them readily available for inspection upon request?
2. Can you articulate and prove that your plan’s fees are reasonable?
3. Can you articulate and demonstrate a prudent process for selecting and monitoring your plan’s investment menu?
4. Can you articulate and demonstrate your plan’s reasonable standard for the forwarding of employee contributions?
5. Do you understand the differences between investment advice and investment education for participants?
6. Do you know the difference between fiduciary functions and settlor functions as they pertain to your plan?
7. Are you familiar with your fiduciary duties under ERISA Section 404(c)?
8. Is your Summary Plan Description (SPD) current and does it contains all the necessary content required under ERISA?
9. Do you have a process in place to identify and avoid prohibited transactions under ERISA Section 406?
10. Have you identified plan fiduciaries and are you clear about the extent of their fiduciary responsibilities?
11. Do you have formal training on ERISA?
12. Are all service providers hired through a due diligence process?

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