1) Not monitoring providers on a regular basis. No matter what, you’re still to blame for oversight. Hiring a prudent expert or a vendor takes work away and shares responsibilities, but you will always maintain the responsibility to make sure they’re qualified and doing their job.
2) Not realizing who is a fiduciary – and what that means. It’s important to know WHO a plan fiduciary is and to understand that the test isn’t based on your title, but your function with the plan. This level of authority comes with strings attached: personal liability for fiduciary breaches under ERISA!
3) Not understanding that prudence is based on process. Fiduciaries have the duty to act prudently, so due diligence matters. Ask, “Can we prove this was done in the best interest of participants? Do we have enough information and education to make an informed decision?” Hire a prudent expert to help where you don’t have the expertise.
4) Assuming that the plan is a static entity. Your company, the regulations, and your plan will all grow and change over time. Your plan “design” (which includes the nuts and bolts of the plan document, investments, and features) should reflect and be unique to your company culture and values. Revisit your plan as part of the total benefits package and for maximum impact on getting YOUR employees to retirement.