Oversight and monitoring are key plan governance activities. ERISA provides that a person is a fiduciary to the extent he exercises any discretionary control respecting the management of the plan or exercises an authority or control respecting management or dispositions of its assets or he has any discretionary responsibility in the administration of the plan. Furthermore, fiduciary status is defined not only by reference to particular titles, but also by the authority which a person has or exercises over an employee benefit plan. The first step to effective governance is defining the key roles and responsibilities.
By conducting a governance review, you will obtain answers to the following questions:
- Who is responsible for the oversight of your benefit plans?
- What are the various committees responsible for oversight?
- Who makes decisions, decides claims disputes, interprets the plan, and selects investment options?
- Do you have any functional fiduciaries?
- Are there any administrative policies and procedures that while not part of the plan document are critical in the administration of the plan?
Perhaps you have more fiduciaries than you thought. It is critical that you know who does what with respect to your plans. It is just as critical that you are sure that you clearly understand the role of your plan providers. Our governance review will provide an independent examination of the oversight structure that you have in place for your plans as well as examining the roles and responsibilities of the plan’s providers. When the review is completed you will have the foundation for a compliance strategy for your plans.