Are you in need of a great TPA for your employer-sponsored retirement plan? Here’s what our team at Actuaries Unlimited, Inc. believes are the qualities to seek out.
Compliance – Maintaining your plan’s compliance with ERISA, the DOL and the IRS is arguably a TPA’s most important duty. If the Form 5500 is filed after its deadline, the IRS may assess the plan sponsor with penalties up to $15,000. A plan contribution that is missed may result in that contribution NOT being deductible. Seek out a TPA with consistently high success rates for timely plan filings and transaction procedures that help its clients avoid other penalties.
Relationships/Communication – Does the TPA value your client experience enough to assign a “dedicated” Plan Administrator and Enrolled Actuary (for Defined Benefit plans) to lead the service team for your plan(s), or will you simply become another name on a client list who will be directed to a different Call Center staffer whenever you have questions? A “dedicated” Plan Administrator becomes your primary contact, they get to know you and understand your objectives for the plan, they will proactively contact you when a need arises, and they will form working relationships with your plan’s record keeper, investment custodian, plan advisor and CPA to maintain a cohesive servicing group for your plan(s). Communication with the TPA is critically important. If you cannot communicate with the TPA, items may get missed which may lead to compliance issues for your plan. Communication is also vital to ensure your plan addresses your goals. The TPA needs to ask you the right questions up front so they can design a plan according to your needs.
Experience/Knowledge – It is important that the Plan Administrator who will be working with you on your plan has multiple years of experience in their role and is up to date on their industry education. The retirement plans industry changes frequently, with new laws enacted almost every year, so your Plan Administrator needs to be able to understand those changes and how they apply to your plan. They also should be able to explain to you, in simple terms, how such changes impact your plan. This ties in with our stated importance of the need for solid Communication with your TPA.
Fees/Value – Far too many people view TPA services as a commodity and believe that you should always choose the one that will do the work for the lowest price. There truly is Value to having a TPA that offers more than its competition. For example: a TPA with several Enrolled Actuaries with decades of combined experience will provide you with better service than a TPA who outsources actuarial work. A TPA with the experience to know what they are doing, one who responds to you in timely fashion, and strives to make sure your plan always meets your objectives brings Value. Nobody wants to overpay but Fees, alone, should not be what drives the decision when choosing a TPA.
Actuaries Unlimited, Inc. has provided a full service TPA team for over fifty years. Our pension professionals are the go-to retirement planning experts that our clients demand. Alongside 9 in-house Enrolled Actuaries, our staff includes 32 highly qualified Pension and Plan Administrators and a knowledgeable support team to serve you. With Actuaries Unlimited, Inc. you’re never far from the answers you need.
Loyalty, Resourcefulness and Consistent Quality