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What are most important 401k/403b plan sponsor communication attributes?

I'm working with a 401(k)/403(b) provider and interested in hearing what the CFO and senior HR community believes are the most important plan sponsor communication (or service) attributes you look for when evaluating a retirement plan provider. I'm not looking for plan admin specifics, more, what do YOU need from the provider (regular compliance updates, more online tools, plan reporting/benchmarking)?  Thank you for your help!!

Answers

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

I would like discrimination testing reviewed prior to the end of the year, to anticipate issues vs. dealing with it after year-end when my options are more limited.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

I would expect at a minimum the following from a provider:
-With all of the litigation going on relating to managing these plans effectively for your constituents, you should receive updates from your provider on litigation trends and things to be watchful for.
-A quarterly review of how your investment choices are doing against benchmarks
-Review and support to help determine if your investments are diversified enough help in finding better funds to add or to replace existing funds

Lorraine Romasco
Title: Principal
Company: Continuum Communications, Inc.
(Principal, Continuum Communications, Inc.) |

Regis and Patrick, thank you both for taking the time to provide your responses. Let's assume we're going to provide a quarterly update with the information you both note. Would you prefer to attend a 30 minute webinar or an emailed doc/posted pdf? Thanks, Lorraine

Topic Expert
Brenda Goudey
Title: CFO/VP of Finance
Company: KDR Designer Showrooms
(CFO/VP of Finance, KDR Designer Showrooms) |

I agree with Regis that it would be nice to review discrimination testing before the chaos at year end, but I don't know that I'd be willing to 'pay the price' of submitting all of the required data twice each year. Even though a lot of the data is provided by our payroll service, it still ends up being a time-consuming project for me.

Lorraine - I'd prefer an emailed doc/posted pdf that I can review as my schedule allows. If the webinar occurs at an inconvenient time, I may be distracted and not really get much out of it even if I'm in attendance.

Lorraine Romasco
Title: Principal
Company: Continuum Communications, Inc.
(Principal, Continuum Communications, Inc.) |

Thanks Brenda - regarding webinars: emails with clear subject lines, a single-page fact sheet and links to (1) a live webinar and (2) its subsequent pre-recording might be the way to go. That way you are alerted to the information and can decide how much (and when) you want when you're ready.

Mark Kirsch
Title: Vice President of Treasury
Company: ContourGlobal
(Vice President of Treasury, ContourGlobal) |

Lorraine,

I agree with everyone who has commented, but think the CFO and HR Community need to advise that everything is being done to minimize expenses incurred to run the plan. This has been and will continue to be a hot topic among participants. In addition, they need to confirm that investment options are regularly reviewed, and changes/additions will be made if needed.

In terms of communication, I agree that a webinar is not the best option. A message via the company intranet, or perhaps part of a company Town Hall meeting might be the better options.

Lorraine Romasco
Title: Principal
Company: Continuum Communications, Inc.
(Principal, Continuum Communications, Inc.) |

You raise a good point - getting access to the organization's intranet (if only to post in conspicuous areas) is key. Sure, the provider will have its plan sponsor access site but posting to your intranet extra takes steps out of how you actually get the information. Town Hall's are great for hot topics and sharing opinions. Thank you, both are valuable.

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