Maximize your company’s 401(k) plan and minimize your liability risk

John Lindberg
John Lindberg

Owning a business can be one of the most rewarding professional experiences. If you are like most business owners, you have invested greatly and sacrificed much to follow your vision and reap the personal and financial rewards that go along with it. The day-to-day challenges are daunting even for the most tenured and savvy businessperson. No matter how successful you are, you risk losing everything if you don’t keep up with constantly evolving laws.
Most employers are unaware of a recent Supreme Court Ruling that expands the rights of employees to sue over their 401(k) plans, and increases pressure on employers to be vigilant in monitoring their retirement plan offerings. Tibble v. Edison International emphasizes that overseeing a retirement plan includes a continuing duty to monitor investments and remove options that aren’t prudent. The Supreme Court extended the six-year period in which employees may sue an employer so it begins when the employer is alleged to have breached his or her duty in monitoring the plan, rather than when the investments in question were added to the plan.
Another very important fact business owners need to understand is that anyone with discretion over the plan is considered a fiduciary, meaning they are legally responsible to act in the plan participants’ (employees) best interest both in the selection and continued monitoring of the investment.
How can you make sure you are protecting your company and still focus on driving your business objectives?
1) Due Diligence – Can you answer these questions?
• Do you know how much your 401(k) plan is costing you and your fellow employees?
• Do you know what investment options are in your plan?
• Do you have true diversification options?
• Is your plan serving your interests?
• Have you researched other plans?
2) Be aware of what the Dept. of Labor is looking at:
• High plan fees
• Fee disclosure
• Investment plan options
• Employee plan education and investment advice given their age, risk tolerance and goals
• Potential conflicts of interest (mutual funds or other investments)

If this sounds overwhelming, you are not alone. That’s where we come in. Winch Financial can help:
• Shoulder the burden with a no cost analysis of your current plan
• Develop a customized plan that not only adheres to the new guidelines, but also helps drive your business goals
• Educate employers and their employees
• Introduce tax-saving options like the Roth 401(k)
• Offer self-directed brokerage options
• Simplify investment tracking with on-line access
The end result is a partnership that will make your retirement plan a strength instead of a liability.