May 28, 2019

Is your retirement plan stuck in the past?

How well are you preparing your employ­ees for a secure future? Are you actively working to build a retirement-ready workforce, or have you left your plan on autopilot? If you haven’t checked in a while, you may be missing out on important services, trends, and cost efficiencies! Review this checklist to find out where paying a bit of attention can pay off for you and your participants.

Review your consult­ing relationships.

When did you last examine your consulting re­lationship, considering your overall plan needs and the best fit for your organization and your participants? As you take a closer look, consid­er:

  • Are you getting the value you are paying for?
  • Are your services structured to fit your committee’s and plan’s needs?
  • Have you looked at the advantages of switching to a 3(38) discretionary model? A discretionary approach can relieve fiduciary liability and allow your committee more time to focus on big-picture issues.

Review your service providers.

Have you recently conducted a thorough re­view of your service provider/recordkeeper, or undergone an RFP process? Make sure you are getting the most out of your provider rela­tionship by reviewing your services to find out:

  • Are there new or improved services available? Many providers are able to leverage new technologies to make customized services that used to be offered only to large plans now available to smaller plans.
  • Are you receiving the best value for the fees you are paying? A fee analysis can help you determine whether it may be time to renegotiate.
  • Are the services you are receiving the right ones for your participants? Are your services tailored appropriately to your plan, and is there anything missing?

Review your investment menu.

It’s important to review your plan’s investment menu periodically to make sure that the over­all lineup continues to serve participants and meet their needs. Taking a big-picture look at your menu can help you assess the following:

  • Is there overlap in the menu that you can eliminate and simplify?
  • Are your plan’s investment fees appropriate, and are you using the lowest-cost share classes?
  • Does your menu lineup address the particular needs of your participant demographic?
  • Is the menu understandable and easy to use for participants?

Automatic features

Automatic features can make a big differ­ence in creating improved outcomes for participants. They are structured to help participants overcome inertia by turn­ing inaction into action, and can help participants save more, invest better, and become more retirement-ready. If you haven’t recently, review some of the automatic features available to determine whether they would be a good fit for your plan:

  • Automatic enrollment: Participants are automatically enrolled when they become eligible unless they actively opt out.
  • Automatic deferral increases: Participant contributions are automatically increased at regular intervals (usually annually) up to a maximum, unless they opt out of the program.

Financial wellness

The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey found that 3 in 10 workers worry about their personal finances while at work1; re­search into financial wellness is begin­ning to show just how much of a toll financial anxiety can have on workers. You can help your participants reduce financial stress — and become more productive — by building a financial wellness program:

  • Begin with an analysis of participant behvior. Are they using the tools that are available to them; are they participating in the plan, are they deferring enough, are they allocating assets properly?
  • Consider conducting a participant survey to find out where the greatest needs and confusion lie. What do participants know, and where would more information be helpful?
  • Many retirement plan providers are offering complete financial wellness programs and curriculae for participants. Ask your provider what’s available, and whether a wellness program would benefit your participants.

Regulatory review.

Regulations change over time, and it’s critical to review your plan in light of changing and new laws and regulations. Make sure you are still qualified and in compliance with newly passed legislation and regulatory changes. Your service providers should be able to assist in en­suring your plan is compliant and up to date.

Additional Resources

Read Arnerich Massena’s recent white paper series on Retirement Plan Best Practices for more details about best practices for your plan in all areas.Click the links below or visit our Research/Resources page:

You can also speak with an Arnerich Massena consultant to learn how we can help by contacting us at or 503.239.0475.


1 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, Employee Benefits    Research Institute;