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401(k) Plan Service -- What Do I Need?

04/29/2010:

When you buy a 401(k) plan for your company, it’s often hard to know what good service looks like and what you need, whether you’re a first time buyer or have only worked with one or two plan providers. Here are five questions to ask providers that can help you get an understanding of the support you will receive:

  1. What sort of employee education will be provided at launch and on-going (and how will you manage this automatically for my company)?
  2. How are my employees supported and when they have questions who do they call (and what sort of service level is considered acceptable – demand at least 70% of calls answered in 30 seconds)?
  3. How will you assist me launch the plan and help me manage contributions, payroll, employee changes , etc… on-going?
  4. How will you assist me in managing the various IRS requirements from any necessary tests to the annual form 5500 preparation (and do you charge extra for this)?
  5. What additional tools and resources will help my employees and I (plan sponsor) simplify our use of our 401(k) plan and accounts?

These questions are important for many reasons. First, it’s essential to ensure you are running your plan as intended which reduces your fiduciary risks. You definitely want to ensure everyone gets the most out of your plan. And lastly, you do not want to waste your or your employees’ valuable time and money managing service questions that could easily be covered with a good program. To help get an idea of what you might like to see, our Complete Suite of Services Overview can help you get a sense of what a solid program should look like.

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