The one thing that I think most employers forget about in sponsoring a retirement plan is that an employer sponsored retirement plan is an employee benefit. Maybe not as important as health insurance, but certainly more important than gym discounts and free coffee and milk.
With January 1 quickly approaching, now is a perfect time for employers to take a look “underneath the hood” of their retirement plan to see what works and what needs improvement. It’s a great time to do the things they are supposed to do which is properly exercise their responsibility as plan fiduciaries.
If you are a plan sponsor, look at plan costs. Look at your plan investments, has your advisor seen you in the past six months and reviewed the plan investments and investment policy statement? Have you reviewed last year’s compliance test? Is your plan close to failing the discrimination tests? Do you need or can you afford a safe harbor 401(k) contribution? Do you have extra money that a new comparability allocation to benefit your highly compensated employees while offering a minimum gateway contribution to your rank and file makes sense? Is participation a problem and does automatic enrollment look like an option? Do you have allow Roth 401(k) after tax contributions?
These are just some of the questions you need to ask and right before the beginning of a new year makes a whole lot of sense.