In the retirement plan world 3/16 doesn’t just mean March 16.  In our world the term is written 3(16) and describes the person who is the named plan administrator of a retirement plan.  The term comes from ERISA Section 3(16).  The plan administrator may take responsibility for all of the daily plan operations, or they may limit their responsibility to only certain functions.

How can a plan administrator limit their responsibility?  They can designate some of their administrative work to a company that does the 3(16) fiduciary work, such as Atlantic Pension Services.

What are some of the Plan Administrator duties that can be outsourced?

      Selection, evaluation, and monitoring of

  • Trustee(s)
  • Service providers
  • Document provider
  • Unbundled or bundled services
  • Investments offered under the plan
  • Investment advisor to the plan
  • Evaluation of plan fees for reasonableness
  • Delegation of plan administration


Operation of the Plan

  • Interpretation of plan documents
  • Timely and accurate reporting and disclosures
  • Distribution of benefits
  • Administration of loans, hardships, and qualified domestic relation orders (QDRO)(develop procedures and process)
  • Monitoring of vendor’s required insurance and bonding


Why outsource?  A recent article* said that the biggest challenges their clients faced in administering retirement plans included:

  • Plan administrator doesn’t have enough time for retirement plan administration;
  • Plan administrator doesn’t understand the scope of their responsibilities;
  • Ensuring plan tasks are completed on a timely basis;
  • Staying on top of changing rules and regulations;
  • Keeping plans in compliance;
  • Following the plan document; and
  • Filing government forms and 5500s.

If you are having any of these challenges, we can help you.  Give us a call!



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