PITTSBURGH, April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX), an assessment and certification organization for fiduciaries and fiduciary support organizations, today announced it will be expanding its assessment guidelines for plan sponsors and service providers. This expansion is in response to the Department of Labor regulations 2550.404a-5 and 2550.408.b-2(c), which address the fiduciary requirements for fee disclosure in participant-directed individual account plans.
Regulation 2550.408.b-2(c), which goes into effect July 1, requires retirement plan service providers to disclose the costs of services to plan sponsors, direct and indirect compensation, and fiduciary status. Regulation 2550.404a-5, which first goes into effect August 30, requires retirement plan sponsors to disclose expenses and investment results to plan participants.
"As the ERISA regulatory landscape evolves, CEFEX is working to ensure that both plan service providers and plan sponsors fully understand this regulation and are prepared to comply," said Carlos Panksep, CEFEX's Managing Director.
The enhanced certification criteria will ensure service providers are properly disclosing plan-related general information, administrative expenses, and investment information to plan sponsors, and in turn plan sponsors are disclosing these fees to participants. It is a complement to the existing Global Standard of Fiduciary Excellence (GSFE) and ASPPA Standard of Practice for Retirement Plan Service Providers.
The up-to-date comprehensive checklists are now part of CEFEX's detailed assessment methodology for plan sponsors and their service providers, which include record-keepers and investment advisors. They will serve both groups by providing practical guides to specifically itemize how to disclose plan information.
"CEFEX-certified ASPPA record-keepers who prepare administrative disclosures can assure their plan sponsor clients that they are compliant with the regulation, and that they are assisting plan sponsors in best serving the needs of participants and beneficiaries," said Brian Graff, the executive director and CEO of the American Society for Pension Professionals & Actuaries.
"Investment committee members require increased knowledge of complex retirement plan features. This addition to the CEFEX assessment program is a useful tool for them," said Blaine Aikin, CEO of fi360, which publishes the prominent "Prudent Practice" standards.
Kevin A. Wiggins of Thorp Reed & Armstrong, a Pittsburgh law firm, wrote CEFEX's new assessment schedule for 2550.404a-5 and serves as a legal resource to the CEFEX certification program. He recently served on the ERISA Advisory Council for the United States Department of Labor and was appointed as Chair for the DOL's 2010 study of Employee Benefit Plan Auditing and Financial Reporting Models. Mr. Wiggins has written and lectured extensively on retirement and health plan issues.
C. Frederick Reish of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP wrote the schedule for 2550.408b-2(c) in 2008 when the regulation was originally proposed, and revised it according to the final issue. Mr. Reish serves as a consultant and expert witness on ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) litigation and has received numerous awards for his contributions to benefits education, communication and service. He is a columnist, and has written four books and over 350 articles on fiduciary responsibility. He also serves on CEFEX's Advisory Council.
CEFEX, Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, LLC is an independent certification organization. CEFEX works closely with industry experts to provide comprehensive assessment programs to improve the fiduciary practices of investment stewards, advisors, record-keepers, administrators and managers. CEFEX has offices in Toronto, Canada, and Pittsburgh, PA. Please visit www.cefex.org.
The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) is a national organization of more than 7,700 retirement plan and benefits professionals that serves as the educator, voice, and advocate for the employer-based retirement system. ASPPA members are administrators, actuaries, advisors, attorneys, accountants, and other financial services professionals who provide consulting and administrative services for qualified retirement plans. Please visit www.asppa.org.
Fi360 offers a comprehensive approach to investment fiduciary education, practice management and support that has established them as the go-to source for investment fiduciary insights. With substantiated Practices as the foundation, fi360 offers world-class fiduciary Training/Education, Tools and Resources that are essential for fiduciaries and those who provide services to fiduciaries to effectively and successfully manage their roles and responsibilities. Fi360 assists those who rely on their fiduciary education programs, professional AIF® and AIFA® designations, Web-based analytical and reporting software and resources to achieve success. For more information about fi360, please visit www.fi360.com or Twitter: @fi360.