“Experienced” Plan Provider can mean a lot of things

by Ary Rosenbaum

I always talk about how plan sponsors need to work with experienced financial advisors, third party administration (TPA) firms, and ERISA attorneys on their plan needs.

Like with reasonable fees, I believe that the term “experienced” is vague. Experience doesn’t just mean years of service as a service provider. Years of experience are just one measure of retirement plan experience. Retirement plan experience could be number of plans that a provider is currently working on or even something as performing good practices in an industry where not many providers do that. So I was kind of taken back when a financial advisor I assumed that I said experience means years because this advisor (who has made a name for himself as being excellent) protested that he had 3 ½ years experience and his commitment to his clients in doing the right thing was better than what many with 35 years experience as a financial advisor who put their needs ahead of the client. I told him that he was preaching to the choir because I’ve been there and done that.

I worked at a law firm for 2 ½ years. You had some law firm partners who were excellent and then you had some that you knew that either fell through the cracks or more likely, were “juiced in” because a senior partner took their fancy. At one point, our firm had about 5 ERISA partners. All of these partners were from the multiemployer world (union Taft Hartley plans), which is a different creature from the single employer world. I bet none of these attorneys knew what revenue sharing was or how a single employer 401(k) plan because one of these partners was our 401(k) plan’s trustee and he never bothered to hire a financial advisor or review investments with the other two trustees or have participants in the plan get investment education that only increased the law firm’s fiduciary liability as a plan sponsor. So if you sponsor a 401(k) plan, would you hire one of these ERISA attorneys? At another firm, I once worked for one of the best ERISA attorneys in the country (in the multiemployer world) and didn’t know what revenue sharing was an why plan sponsors need to be concerned about administrative costs.

The same can be said of financial advisors. A financial advisor may have a billion dollars or management or have been in the business for 30+ years, but it’s irrelevant if they don’t have more than one retirement plan on their books. Even if they have a load of retirement plans on their books, it doesn’t mean anything if they don’t help their clients with an investment policy statement or giving education to participants in participant directed 401(k) plans.

Same with TPAs. Some can’t handle daily valued 401(k) plans, some can’t handle defined benefit plans, and some can’t handle any retirement plan outside of the box like new comparability form of allocation.

The point is that levels of experience may vary and it’s important to find the retirement plan provider with the right experience. It has to be the right fit for the plan based on the plan’s size and type. How do you that? Nothing beats word of mouth and asking the potential retirement plan provider the right questions, especially if they have the experience to handle your type of plan.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ary Rosenbaum, The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Ary Rosenbaum

The Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C. on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.