PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 14

COVER STORY
Annual operational reviews can
shield a plan from compliance errors
W
hile benchmarking investments and fees seems to dominate industry
best-practice lists, there is more to ensuring that a retirement plan avoids
fiduciary liability, experts stress. As Genelle Brakefield, a vice president at
third-party administrator Ekon Benefits in St. Louis, puts it, " We suggest that doing a
holistic review of plan operations is essential. "
If the human resources department is stretched thin dealing with other pressing
HR priorities, Brakefield says, it is worth taking the time to work with a third-party
expert that can do a deep dive, to make sure a plan operates in compliance with the
plan document and applicable laws and regulations. " If you don't look, you don't know
what's going on, " she says.
Completing an operational review-ideally annually, Brakefield says-helps to
limit the impact of operational errors already made and to identify operational improvements
that can prevent future errors. " The nice part about doing these assessments
frequently is that the faster you can identify a problem, the faster you can fix it, " she
says. " Speed is our friend, in this case. "
Some plan sponsors have a new motivation to perform an operational review,
whether by themselves or by hiring an expert. In June, the IRS started a pilot pre-audit
compliance program, which gives sponsors that receive notification of an IRS plan audit
90 days to find and, using the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, Revenue
Procedure 2021-30, fix any errors eligible for self-correction. Sponsors that do this face
reduced fines, or no fine, for operational mistakes, says Carol Buckmann, founder and a
partner in Cohen & Buckmann P.C. in New York City. By reporting errors ineligible for
self-correction, sponsors still face a lesser fine than they would otherwise.
" Sometimes it's hard to convince plan sponsors that they ought to do these
14 PLANSPONSOR.COM December 2022 - February 2023
Art by Dalbert Vilarino
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RISK
PROTECTION
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PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023

INSIGHTS
RULES & REGULATIONS
PARTICIPANT ANALYSIS
UPFRONT
Risk Protection
Benchmarking Beyond Fees
Exploring ESG Investing
In Case of Emergency
Employee-Owned
FIDUCIARY FORUM
INSIDE ANGLE
PLAN PROFILE
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - Cover1
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - Cover2
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 1
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - INSIGHTS
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 3
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - RULES & REGULATIONS
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 5
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 6
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - PARTICIPANT ANALYSIS
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - UPFRONT
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 9
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 10
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 11
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 12
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 13
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - Risk Protection
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 15
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 16
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 17
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - Benchmarking Beyond Fees
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 19
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 20
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 21
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 22
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 23
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 24
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 25
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 26
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 27
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - Exploring ESG Investing
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 29
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 30
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 31
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 32
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 33
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - In Case of Emergency
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 35
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - Employee-Owned
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - 37
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - FIDUCIARY FORUM
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - INSIDE ANGLE
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - PLAN PROFILE
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - Cover3
PLANSPONSOR - December 2022-February 2023 - Cover4
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