Anyone can be a TPA

With apologies to Tod Higgins (played by Keanu Reeves) in “Parenthood”, you need a license to practice law to be an ERISA attorney, you need to be a CPA to be a retirement plan auditor, and you need a securities license to be a financial advisor, but any shmuck can put out a shingle and call themselves a third party administrator (TPA).

There is no required training or licensing for someone to operate a TPA business and I find that scary for a position that requires such knowledge and expertise to do the job of plan administration and recordkeeping properly.

So when looking for a TPA, look for any ASPPA or CEFEX designation or other accreditations such as an enrolled actuary among the professionals you hire as your TPA.

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