PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 35

says Paul Swanson, vice president, retirement,
at CUNA Mutual Group in Madison,
Wisconsin. " It's rarely the provider. Plan
sponsors have to be focused on how they
manage their fiduciary responsibility. "
That has elevated the role of fiduciary
advisers and the need to properly document
every decision that a plan might make.
What this means for plan sponsors:
It is vital that plan sponsors understand
exactly what type of fiduciary adviser
they are hiring. Sponsors concerned with
minimizing their fiduciary liability must
make sure they hire a 3(38), Dulko says.
" Sometimes bundled service
providers will talk about their investment
adviser services, but when you look at the
contract, the plan sponsor has actually
engaged them as a 3(21) adviser rather than
a 3(38), " Dulko says. " So, it hasn't mitigated
as much risk as it thinks it has. "
To minimize miscommunication,
Dulko advises plan sponsors to request
their adviser disclose his fiduciary status
in writing.
" Many sponsors are surprised at
what they get back when they make that
request, " she says. " A lot of it is just a
misunderstanding of what they think they
have engaged someone to do and what the
contract actually says [the provider] will
do and where the handoff of fiduciary
responsibility is. "
Cybersecurity is another key potential
litigation area that plan sponsors and
their providers must pay attention to. The
recent shift to remote work has increased
the risk of cyberhacks to those companies,
which could lead to an increase in
cybersecurity-related lawsuits.
Due diligence now requires that plan
sponsors ascertain that providers use
best practices when it comes to cybersecurity
and that they are properly insured
against such risks.
" Cybersecurity is certainly front and
center for plan sponsors these days, and
should be for their providers as well, "
Swanson says. " Plan sponsors need to
be concerned about not only the security
of the dollars invested in participant
accounts, but also the participants'
personal data. There are risks there that
tie back to fiduciary responsibilities. "
Fee Compression
One upside of increased competition
among recordkeepers and other advisers
has been a " race to the bottom " in terms
of fees. While that can be good news for a
plan sponsor's bottom line, it is important
to confirm that the lower fees do not come
with a reduced level of service.
What this means for plan sponsors:
Simply choosing a plan with the lowest
possible fees does not negate the rest of the
fiduciary responsibilities of determining
that a plan is a good fit for the participants.
As fees come down, plan sponsors must
work with their adviser to ensure their
providers are offering the best value-
rather than simply the lowest fees.
" Plan sponsors might look at the ROI
[return on investment] on the services
that a recordkeeper or another provider is
delivering, " Swanson says. " What are you
getting for what you're [spending]? And
are there coverage gaps? "
While bundled providers typically
have the lowest costs, they also may have
less flexibility in terms of what they can
offer, Swanson says. By the same token,
independent advisers might cost more
but deliver a more customized approach
tailored to the needs of a specific plan.
" It's possible to hire a recordkeeper
that can do everything, and you don't need
anyone else, " Swanson says. " But the more
complex the situation is, the more likely it
makes sense to bring in specialists. There
are many great options out there. "
Digital Transformation
Delivering the best service to plan participants
in today's digital-first world means
offering a seamless, omni-channel experience
that allows them to efficiently
check and manage their benefits. From
online statements to mobile financial
wellness tools and apps, digital offerings
are an increasingly important component
of benefits programs.
But many providers now take that
digital transformation even further, incorporating
machine learning and artificial
intelligence (AI) into their offerings.
" AI and data are taking a larger role
in the management of plan sponsor relationships
and with managing plan health
and effectiveness, " Swanson says.
What this means for plan sponsors:
Plan sponsors that prefer to work
with multiple providers might consider
looking for those that are capable of digitally
integrating their offerings. Making
the experience as frictionless as possible
for participants can improve engagement
and participation, says Collins.
" Vendors all have different integration
capabilities, " he says. " You've got to partner
with someone who is aligned with your
goals. Having just one provider is one solution,
or you can look for a recordkeeper that
can help integrate best-in-class solutions
from multiple providers. "
The Rise of Big Data
Plan sponsors, and their providers, now
have access to more data than ever about
their plans' demographics and participation,
as well as enrollees' engagement
with various tools. Using that data to
influence plan design and benefit offerings
can help plan sponsors create an even
more tailored plan design.
What this means for plan sponsors:
Best-in-class providers make data easily
available to both the plan sponsor and
its participants, in a format that makes it
easy to spot trends and receive insights.
Plan sponsors that might lack experience
analyzing such data might turn to
partners, including recordkeepers and
advisers, to help them review the data to
get the most from it.
" Recordkeepers have access to a
significant amount of data, " McKay says.
" And if you collaborate, you can come
up with solutions that solve a lot. Top
DC-focused advisers are looking at more
data and working much more closely with
providers and recordkeepers today than
they have in the past. " -Beth Braverman
PLANSPONSOR.COM June - July 2021 35

PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021

2021 Plan Sponsor of the Year Winners
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
The Right Provider Team
For the Best Collaboration
2021 PLANSPONSOR Service Stars
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - Cover1
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - Cover2
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 1
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 2
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 3
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 4
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 5
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 6
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 7
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 8
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 9
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 2021 Plan Sponsor of the Year Winners
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 11
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 12
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 13
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 14
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 15
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 16
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 17
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 18
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 19
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 20
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 21
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 2021 Recordkeeping Survey
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 23
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 24
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 25
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 26
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 27
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 28
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 29
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 30
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 31
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - The Right Provider Team
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 33
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 34
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 35
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - For the Best Collaboration
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 37
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 38
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 2021 PLANSPONSOR Service Stars
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - 40
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - Cover3
PLANSPONSOR - June/July 2021 - Cover4