We continue down our path of covering the materials you should include in your fiduciary file with the third category, Fiduciary Committee Governance. You can read our first two posts in this series focused on Legal Plan Documents and the second post on Service Provider Contracts.
ERISA does not require a plan sponsor to establish a committee to run the plan, but it is considered a best practice to have the input, support, and decision-making of an entire committee. The make-up, authority, structure, and practices of a retirement plan committee will be unique to each plan. Still, your fiduciary file should be the place where committee documentation is retained.
That documentation may include:
Charter, Board Delegations, Policies or By-laws
Each retirement plan has to have a fiduciary. Under ERISA, a named fiduciary is anyone who is identified as such by the plan documents, and a functional fiduciary is anyone who has discretionary control over the plan's management and assets. Those named roles are usually the Board of the organization. The Board is responsible for all administration of the plan until a formal delegation of that responsibility is made. The Board may delegate that authority to a retirement plan committee through a delegation Charter or board resolution. Policies and by-laws for running the committee may be included in the Charter or board resolution or may be separate documents.
Investment Policy Statement (IPS)
ERISA does not require that committees utilize an IPS; however, a properly drafted one can be a valuable tool to help fiduciaries manage their investment-related risk.
Committee Meeting Materials
The materials reviewed during committee meetings should be retained. Including:
- Investment reports
- Fund recommendations
- Fee benchmarking analysis
- Fiduciary training
- Recordkeeper reports
- Actuarial reports
Meeting minutes should be kept for all committee meetings. In addition to formal Committee Minutes, you may consider keeping notes concerning specific participant situations, and records of ad hoc meetings.
For a short guide on all five categories, read our "Fiduciary File: What Is It and What Do You Keep In It?" resource.
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