ERISA requires a retirement plan committee

Great interview about retirement plan investment committee published ion Employee Benefit Advisor on 4/23/18.  For the full article click here.  For THE DOL “Meeting your fiduciary Responsibilities” PDF, click here.

Here are some excerpts:

EBA: What size employer or retirement plan requires a plan committee?

Clausen: Best practice is to have a committee regardless of plan size, because when the Department of Labor steps in for an audit, they want to know who is responsible for the plan’s administration and ensuring that it is in compliance with the plan document.”

EBA: You said minutes of a meeting are more important than taking notes. Why?

Clausen: It has to do with risk management. When you’re in a fiduciary capacity, notes are subject to court depositions. You can be deposed on those notes.

In minutes, you want to be succinct. You don’t want to be “gabby” or repeat what’s in the reports that are provided by your advisers or record keeper. You want to say, “Here’s the committee, who is in attendance and who is excused. We discussed these topics, made these decisions like a unanimous vote to replace the fund and why.” You want to be careful to make sure you’re not rambling.

During litigation, we find that statements can be made out of context and then be used by the litigators, which is why you don’t want to ramble.”