Six Easy Steps to Keep Your Plan Assets Safe
Joel Shapiro, JD, LLM, Senior Vice President, ERISA Compliance
Cyber fraud is a growing concern globally. Individuals are typically very careful to keep their bank account and email authentication information safe, but they aren’t always smart with the rest of their personal information.
Participants need to be vigilant with their retirement savings accounts as well. In the past year we’ve seen a slew of cases of attempted fraud – some successful – against retirement savings plan participants across a multitude of record-keepers. The good news is that virtually all record-keepers view security as a prominent priority and diligently update their technology. However, their security can only go so far if the participant isn’t being equally vigilant.
Educate your plan participants on the following tips to ensure the security of their retirement savings accounts.
- Use all available levels of authentication. If your plan’s record-keeper comes out with a new type of authentication, your participants should implement it immediately.
- If participants frequent a website or have an account with a company whose website and information has been compromised, they should change all of their passwords for all online accounts.
- Remind participants to use strong passwords. Utilize letters, capitalization, numbers and symbols. Don’t use recognizable words. Don’t use the same password for multiple purposes. Have the password be at least 14 characters in length. Consider changing passwords frequently. Using a password manager can make this task less unwieldy.
- Don’t send authentication information to any third parties, and remind participants to limit authentication access to use on sites which are navigated to independently – not through a link or other prompt.
- Check your participants’ accounts frequently and address any irregularities, and remind participants to keep an eye out, too.
- Ask participants to immediately contact you if they receive any “updates” that look suspicious so you can notify your record-keeper.
Records and Their Expiration Dates
“What records should I keep? How long should I keep them? How should I organize my files?”
Advisors have been asked these questions time and time again by plan sponsors looking for a general guideline for record expiration dates.
Record retention doesn’t need to be a mystery, and the filing system doesn’t need to become a tomb.
For audits, remember the following requirements.*
As for organizing your fiduciary file, we suggest a format that includes the following sections:
- Documents with all plan documents, amendments, tax filings and so on.
- Administrative for all audit results, contribution records, Fiduciary Plan Review meeting minutes, fee benchmarkings, participant complaints.
- Participant Communication containing copies of enrollment materials, communications and memos, and meeting sign-in sheets.
- Investments with a listing of fund menu with expenses, Fiduciary Investment Review meeting minutes.
This material was created to provide accurate and reliable information on the subjects covered but should not be regarded as a complete analysis of
these subjects. It is not intended to provide specific legal, tax or other professional advice. The services of an appropriate professional should be sought regarding your individual situation. This material was created to provide accurate and reliable information on the subjects covered but should not be regarded as a complete analysis of these subjects. It is not intended to provide specific legal, tax or other professional advice. The services of an appropriate professional should be sought regarding your individual situation.
The “Retirement Times” is published monthly by Retirement Plan Advisory Group’s marketing team. This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax adviser, investment professional or insurance agent. (c) 2019. Retirement Plan Advisory Group.
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If a participant, auditor, or DOL agent requested plan information, could you find it quickly? The key is twofold: keep the things you need and store them so you can find them easily.
For more information on any of the topics addressed in this month’s newsletter, please contact Patrick Zumbusch or Deirdre Kochanski at Wellspring Financial Partners.