Employee enrollment – another fiduciary responsibility

I was at a client’s office at 7:00 am today for an employee enrollment meeting.  I’m not at my sparkling best at that hour, but I always enjoy the opportunity to present to a group of employees the benefits of saving for retirement.

I’m told that I’m one of the few TPAs that participate in employee enrollment meetings.  That surprises me, because enrolling eligible employees in the Plan is a fiduciary responsibility.  If a TPA is engaged to provide support to the named Plan Administrator (typically the Company or the Plan Committee), then I would think that more TPAs would provide the fiduciary with the support necessary in the employee enrollment process.employee enrollment - a fiduciary responsibility

A successful employee enrollment meeting isn’t hard to stage.  It requires a little preparation, and a little time.  The effort to hold a meeting is insignificant in comparison to the benefit gained – the employees understand the Plan so much better if they hear about it first-hand than if they’re just handed a stack of papers.




Saving for retirement – We discuss the critical need for individuals to be responsible for their own future.  The company retirement plan is often the best way for them to accumulate a nest egg.  The longer you wait to start, the more you have to save later… and saving never gets easier.

Plan features – Depending on the size of the audience a summary of the key Plan features are provided in outline form, or in a video (power point) presentation.  This outline typically includes the following topics depending on the Plan design:

  • Eligibility provisions – how long must an employee wait to get into the Plan, and when would he or she enter once the eligibility has been met.
  • Contributions to the Plan
    • 401(k)/403(b) contribution limits
      • Pre-Tax and/or Roth options
  • Safe Harbor contribution
  • Employer matching contribution formula
  • Employer contributions
  • Vesting provisions
  • Withdrawal options
    • Timing of distributions
    • Hardship withdrawals
    • In-Service withdrawals
    • Loan provisions


Investment options – The investment advisor and/or a representative from the investment custodian for the Plan will go through the investment choices available for the Plan participants. 

  • Overview of stocks/bonds/cash and other alternative investmetns
  • Mutual funds – what are they and how do they work
  • Mutual fund portfolios
    • Risk-based options
    • Age-based options
    • Guaranteed or fixed accounts


Information – We tell the employees about where to get information about the Plan and their account:

  • Summary Plan Description
  • Required Notices about Plan provisions and fees
  • Statement frequency and delivery methods
  • Website or on-line access


Sign up process – We go through the process of enrolling in the plan.  We encourage the company to collect forms back from every eligible employee – even if they are opting out of the deferral.

  • Payroll deduction
  • Investment elections
  • Beneficiary designations


Questions are answered at the group meeting, and in some cases, the investment advisor sits down with each participant one-to-one.

An employee enrollment meeting may take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.  The employees appreciate that investment in time by the company.  It also allows the company to clearly meet the fiduciary responsibility for communicating the Plan to the eligible employees.  Click here if you would like to learn more about the company’s fiduciary responsibilities. 

I am passionate about retirement.  I love helping employees understand the benefits and features of their Plan, and there is no better venue than an employee enrollment meeting.  I also take our responsibility for helping our clients meet their fiduciary responsibilities, so being part of the employee enrollment meeting is just part of what we do for our clients.  Click here to request a Free Consultation to learn more about what we can do to help you and your Plan.


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