As a retirement plan provider, you need to understand where there is a conflict of interest if someone you know hires you. Whether it’s a family member, golf club, church, or bank where you serve as an advisory board member, you need to identify any potential conflicts of interest.
While a plan provider needs to understand the prohibited transaction rules under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, a plan provider should also identify the non-retirement plan rules on conflicts of interest. For example, if you are on a private school committee and you are hired as the school’s retirement plan advisor, you may not have an issue with the prohibited transaction rules, but you may have a problem with the school’s rules on conflicts.
Nepotism is as bad as cronyism, so getting hired as a retirement plan advisor because you’re related to a decision-maker is also a potential problem. It might be Kosher with ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, but it may not pass muster with the courts and/or the Department of Labor under review.
Just because something might be OK with retirement plan rules, it may not be good for the organization or person that did the hiring.