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What’s on your Retirement Plan Wishlist?

Now is the time to roll up your sleeves and think about next year’s priorities.    After all, your 2024 “wish list” should inform your 2024 “to-do” list.

When it comes to corporate retirement benefits, the future is bright. Thanks to industry consolidation, technological advancements and fee compression, the offering to employers and employees is better than ever.

As Steven Covey says, begin with the end in mind.   

Here are some actionable ideas to make the following goals a reality:

Protect yourself and fellow plan fiduciaries from liability

  • Schedule Fiduciary Training for your Retirement Committee – a critical step to document a prudent process.
  • Hire 3(21) or 3(38) investment advisor, to either share or take ownership of investment decisions.
  • Consider adding a 3(16) administrative fiduciary to outsource functions ranging from loan and distribution approvals to signing the Form 5500.

Protect your company and its employees from cybersecurity threats

  • Review what percentage of your participants have yet to authenticate their accounts. Employees need to own their online presence to help protect against theft.
  • Ask your service providers about cybersecurity practices, guarantees and insurance. The Department of Labor has published tip sheets for plan sponsors and investors that you can access

Acquire new talent to grow your business.

  • Consider offering a non-qualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan. Qualified plans may not be enough for key employees to make meaningful progress towards their savings needs. Non-qualified deferred compensation plans offer tremendous flexibility, the ability for employees to defer more income and the ability for employers to reward key talent.

Improve plan operations and update plan design

  • Conduct vendor due diligence – the industry has evolved, make sure you are offering the latest and greatest to your employees!
  • Schedule a meeting with your recordkeeper and advisor to review plan document for compliance and upgrade opportunities. Secure 2.0 and beyond….
  • Integrate payroll and HRIS feeds with your retirement plan provider.

Help employees make progress on their personal financial journeys

  • Incentivize employees to complete a financial planning check-up, similar to health screenings during open enrollment.
  • Consider a plan re- enrollment to improve the quality of participant elections and take advantage of a fiduciary safe harbor from liability for imprudent participant investing.
  • Retire the word “retirement.” Speak in terms that resonate with your employee base which may include help with debt management, budgeting, education savings in addition to investing and retirement planning.

In the words of Albert Einstein, may we “learn from yesterday, live for today & hope for tomorrow.”  Best wishes for health and happiness in the new year!

Don is a Senior Vice President at Raymond James and serves as Head of Institutional Fiduciary Solutions (IFS) at the firm.  His leadership drives strategy, product solutions, sales and service for the Firm’s advisors in the retirement plan, endowment & foundation and institutional business lines.  Don’s experience and industry insights make him an invaluable member of the Secure Retirement Institute Board of Directors, the NAPA Leadership Council and the SPARK Advisory Board. Don earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Vermont and his M.B.A. from The College of William & Mary.

 In 2021, Don was an integral part of the team responsible for the launch of SHRM 401(k) Solutions by Raymond James (  Both SHRM and Raymond share a mission that all employers, no matter the size, should have the ability to offer their employees access to a quality retirement plan.