Mariner Retirement Advisors is a fiduciary.
Mar. 10, 2016 Article

Fiduciary Responsibility Checklist


Identification of Fiduciaries and administration due diligence:

Identify and designate ERISA Fiduciaries

  • Work with legal counsel to help Fiduciaries understand their responsibilities

Select committee members

Investment Committee Charter executed

Appoint/confirm a trustee

  • Confirm the trust agreement correctly reflects Fiduciary roles of the plan committees and the plan sponsor

Annual meeting

  • Conduct at least an annual meeting with the retirement committee and/or plan Fiduciaries
  • Record and distribute meeting minutes to the committee and/or plan Fiduciaries

Plan investments and education:

Adopt an Investment Policy Statement

Consider ERISA section 404(c) compliance

  • Confirm that all requirements under Section 404(c) are being met if the plan intends to comply with ERISA

Review the plan’s investment lineup

Maintain a broad, well diversified plan with different risk and return characteristics

Document the review of the evaluation and replacement of poorly performing investment options, which should be performed at least annually

  • Be sure to follow the frequency set in the plan’s written Investment Policy Statement

Ensure QDIA investment characteristics and objectives are met and documented

Provide investment education (and advice, if applicable)

  • Review the selection of any third party providers and regularly review their performance

Educational meetings and/or communications

  • Provide financial, investment and retirement information to participants

Provide ongoing communication and education to participants on topics such as:

  • Investments
  • Benefits to starting early
  • Nearing retirement
  • Personal finance
  • Retirement tools available

Plan administration and operation:

Timely remittance of employee contributions and loan repayments

  • Follow the process for remitting contributions and loan repayments to the provider and investing them in a timely manner

Review of outside providers/experts

  • Carefully review credentials, fees and scope of services and perform periodic reviews
  • Document meeting minutes, including all discussions and decisions that are made

Review and update the plan document for required legislative provisions

  • Determine if changes are necessary to improve the plan

Review fees charged to the plan to make certain they are reasonable and may be properly paid by the plan

  • Gather all necessary materials needed for decision making and document all due diligence efforts in the review
  • What services do the fees cover?

    One-time fees





    Individual fees to participants

    Miscellaneous fees 

    Carry Fiduciary liability insurance on all fiduciaries

    Proof of fidelity bond

  • Amount of coverage: $ ___________________

Documentation/due diligence best practices:

Create a fiduciary due diligence file: Document all procedures and decisions and maintain all documents in this file, which should include the following:

  • IRS-approved plan document (including determination letter)
  • Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs), Summary of Material Modifications (SMMs), and Summary Annual Reports (SARs) should be disclosed to participants within specified time frames and filed
  • Adoption agreement
  • Plan amendments
  • Board resolutions
  • Investment Policy Statement (IPS)
  • Monitoring reports
  • Discrimination test results
  • Signed Form 5500s
  • Compliance documentation
  • Plan communications to employees
  • Third party service provider documents
  • Plan procedures and meeting minutes

Review employee compensation amounts for plan purposes

  • Review the plan document and confirm that the correct compensation amounts are being submitted to the service provider

Participant due diligence

  • Participant eligibility: Be sure the plan covers employees who are eligible to participate in the plan and confirm the plan’s definition of eligible employee is consistent with the way the plan is administered
  • Confirm all applicable notices are distributed to participants by the required deadlines, such as automatic contributions, safe harbor, QDIA, etc.

Participant communication and education

  • Create a calendar outlining the materials sent to participants and the date sent
  • Samples of materials sent
  • Meeting sign-in sheets 

This document is for informational use only. Nothing in this publication is intended to constitute legal, tax, or investment advice. There is no guarantee that any claims made will come to pass. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but Mariner Retirement Advisors does not warrant the accuracy of the information. Consult a financial, tax, or legal professional for specific information related to your own situation. Mariner Retirement Advisors (“MRA”) is an SEC registered investment adviser with its principal place of business in the State of Kansas. MRA and its representatives are in compliance with the current registration and notice filing requirements imposed upon registered investment advisers by those states in which MRA maintains clients. MRA may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from notice filing requirements. Any subsequent, direct communication by MRA with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. For additional information about MRA, including fees and services, please contact MRA or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website. Please read the disclosure statement carefully before you invest or send money.