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May 18, 2015

The Fiduciary Responsibilities of a 401(k) Plan Administrator

As a 401(k) plan administrator you have specific fiduciary administrative duties you must adhere to in order to stay in compliance with ERISA, DOL and IRS regulations. Even if you hire a 3rd party CPA firm to assist as administrator and auditor, you are still responsible for these administrative duties.


  • Reporting. It’s important to have all plan reports current and up-to-date at the time of a plan audit.
  • Loans. Ensure that you are in compliance with the rules and regulations of your plan.
  • Expenses. Are your plans investment or loan expenses reasonable?
  • Contributions. Make sure that your participant contributions are collected or distributed in a timely manner.
  • Disclosures. As administrator you must give an all-inclusive plan summary report annually as well as an annual benefit statement to plan participants.
  • Participant Deposits. You must make sure that all contributions are promptly deposited and recorded.
  • Investments. You must maintain plan investment certificates and keep reports current.
  • Assets. Ensure that your plan assets are appropriately insured.
  • Insurance. Are the reserves and retentions held by insurance company reasonable?
  • Plan insurance. You must make sure that your PBGC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation) insurance is up-to-date.
  • Valuation. Be sure that you have the proper valuation of all your plan assets.
  • Selecting a Plan Committee. Selecting your plan committee is vitally important to your retirement plan. The plan committee should include employees at an executive level with experience in decision making. For example: Your committee should consist of people from departments with financial and investment experience, such as the:
    • Legal department
    • CPA
    • Treasurer or finance department.
    • Human resource department

This is just a short list of a 401(k) plan administrator responsibilities. Some businesses find it more convenient to hire a 3rd party fiduciary for their retirement plan to insure that the plan reporting is up-to-date and organized when it’s time for a 401(k) audit.

Hiring a CPA firm that specializes in 401(k) auditing will make a difference in how smoothly your audit goes. Utilizing modern technology, it is possible to assist you entirely “off-site”, and with little or no distraction to your daily office routine. At Anders CPAs + Advisors we also offer flat-fee pricing for 401(k) audits so there are no surprises when you receive your bill.

To get started, request a free 401(k) audit consultation below or contact the team at (314)-886-7913 to schedule an appointment.

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