There are several important tasks for each employer who sponsors a 401(k) plan to consider during the fall season including:

  • Review Plan Documents: Carefully review your plan documents, including the plan’s summary plan description (SPD), to ensure they accurately reflect the current plan provisions.
  • Annual Compliance Testing Preparation: Start preparing to provide your plan administrator with data they need to perform annual compliance testing at plan year-end.
  • Review Employee Contributions: Confirm that participant contributions are being accurately withheld and deposited into their 401(k) accounts to ensure that annual limits are not exceeded.
  • Match Contributions: If your plan includes an employer match, review and reconcile match contributions to ensure they are being calculated and deposited correctly.
  • Review Investment Policy Statement (IPS): If your plan has an IPS, review it to ensure it is still aligned with the plan’s objectives and goals.
  • Review Investment Options: Evaluate the plan’s investment choices and consider changes to the lineup to ensure that participants have a diversified range of high-quality investment choices.
  • Fee Benchmarking: Review plan fees and benchmark them against industry standards. Ensure that fees are reasonable and that participants have access to fee disclosure information.
  • Participant Notices: Distribute required participant notices, such as the annual fee disclosure notice and the automatic enrollment notice.  If your plan uses a Safe Harbor design, distribute required Safe Harbor notices to all employees at least 30 days before the start of the new plan year.
  • Review Plan Governance: Evaluate the plan’s governance structure, including the roles and responsibilities of all fiduciaries and advisors. Ensure that all fiduciaries are meeting their obligations.
  • Plan Amendments: Consider whether any plan amendments are necessary due to changes in regulations or plan design. Properly communicate any amendments to participants.
  • Employee Communication & Education: Plan for education sessions to help participants make informed decisions about their elective deferrals and investments.  Prepare future communication and education initiatives to help participants understand and maximize their benefits through the 401(k) plan.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Remind participants to review and update beneficiary designations if needed.
  • Cybersecurity: Assess the plan’s cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive participant data.
  • Consult with Professionals: Consider consulting with legal, financial, and HR professionals to ensure that your plan complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

401(k) plan administration is subject to various legal and regulatory requirements, and it’s crucial to stay informed about any changes in these rules. Consulting with a qualified retirement plan advisor or legal counsel is often a prudent step to ensure compliance and the efficient operation of your 401(k) plan.