By Mike Murphy Jan 1st 2018

2018 is upon us. It’s the time for New Year’s resolutions, new gym memberships, and the desire to start the year with a clean slate. For 401(k) plan sponsors, this can mean cleaning up those small outstanding items that have lingered throughout 2017. Here’s a checklist of items to help you get started.

Bounced or Missing Emails. Many plans use electronic delivery for important notices and disclosures. If participants’ email addresses are missing or incorrect, your plan isn’t meeting its electronic delivery requirements. A quick review can help resolve this issue.

Outdated Materials. Enrollment paperwork and investment menus need to be updated regularly. The new contribution limits for 2018 have made most education and enrollment material incorrect.  To stay in compliance, throw out your old materials and order new ones.

Schedule Your Annual Education/Enrollment Meeting.   Most firms hold an annual education and enrollment meeting. This year, it’s even more important, as participants need to be made aware of the new $18,500 employee contribution limit. Setting a date for the meeting helps ensure that it doesn’t get overlooked. If you use another medium for delivering education and enrollment, now is still a great time to get it on your schedule.

New Eligibility. Check to see if any employees are newly eligible to participate in the plan, and confirm that nobody slipped through the cracks in 2017. Each plan can set its own eligibility requirements, so check your plan documents if you’re not sure of the details.

Beneficiary Designations. Beneficiary designation review is an often-overlooked part of 401k plan maintenance. Designating a beneficiary allows plan participants to pass their 401(k) assets on after death in a tax-deferred manner. Participants who have not designated a beneficiary should be contacted and encouraged to do so.

Benchmarking. Plans should be fully ‘benchmarked’ every two years. Benchmarking is a comparison of your plan to other comparable plans. Factors reviewed include cost, features, participation rates, contribution percentages, and numerous other items. If you haven’t done a benchmark in 2017, now is time to schedule one.

Use this checklist to start your plan year off on the right foot and keep your plan in compliance throughout the year. Best wishes for a wonderful 2018.



401k, FiduciaryShield, MikeMurphy


Mike Murphy is vice president of ERISA consulting at FiduciaryShield a retirement plan fiduciary administrator and compliance company.


Topics: #401(k) #Fiduciary #PlanSponsor #401(k)Fiduciary #HumanResources