There’s no shortage of pitfalls for qualified plan fiduciaries when it comes to ERISA compliance, but some regulations are more precarious than others. 404(c) is one of those perilous areas of ERISA because it has been around for so long that some people take it for granted.
While it’s arguably pretty easy to comply with some of the requirements in 404(c), (offer at least three core investment options, provide control over investment direction to participants, etc.), today’s dynamic workplace demands a more careful reconsideration of other requirements.
For instance, according to this DOL bulletin “The §404(c) regulations require, among other things, that a participant or beneficiary shall be provided or have the opportunity to obtain sufficient information to make informed decisions with regard to investment alternatives available under the plan.” (emphasis mine)
Whether you’re discussing insurance premiums, bonus structure or trying to explain the long-term compounding of investments in a retirement savings account, there’s no shortage of opportunity for misstep.
It’s hard enough to accurately convey these concepts when you’re communicating with an audience which speaks the same language. It can get downright uncomfortable when you have the responsibility of helping people who cannot speak English.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in our workforce and the numbers are growing each year. When you’re looking to engage in a more meaningful conversation with a workforce that struggles with the English language, finding the right partner can seem like an insurmountable task.
Trouble is, you’ll likely need more than software to meet simple goals. Most need adequate human resources to accomplish simple bilingual communications – relying on technology alone will likely not get the job done.
Most benefits providers offer bilingual call centers and presenters but local advisors who have both technical expertise and the ability to communicate complex concepts effectively are hard to find. Do your research. Interview suitors. Better yet, have your employees interview potential advisors to make sure that there is a connection. Every step that plan fiduciaries can take to demonstrate a good-faith effort to help their participants make informed decisions is a step worth taking.