Research & Insights

Upgrading Non-Profit Retirement Plans: Strengthening Your Plan with Advisory Services (Part 2 of 3)

May 22, 2018

By Joseph Potosky & Christopher Schaefer

In our last post on modern retirement plan solutions, we noted that many academic and non-profit institutions over the years have retirement plan platforms that exclusively use individual annuity contracts (IACs). These outdated IAC platforms no longer meet the needs of today’s employers, employees, and the rapidly changing talent marketplace.

Among the deficiencies of legacy IAC plans: lack of compliance with recent fiduciary requirements, excessive costs, bulky and duplicative administrative processes, narrow investment choices, limited support and services, and a lack of education and investment advice for participants.

This post, the second in the series, examines how comprehensive advisory services provided by qualified investment professionals can help remedy the flaws of IAC plans. Your institution may have to keep its IAC plan, but you should consider working with an advisor who can help bring the plan into alignment with current best practices, regulations and employer/employee needs. 

A majority of IAC Plans have not been updated or modified in the past 7 to 8 years to reflect advances or options that have become available, or changes in ERISA regulations. For example, these unmodified plans often have not revisited plan eligibility, compensation definitions, vesting schedules or added new features such as auto-enrollment, auto-contribution increases or Roth deferrals.

Proper plan design would allow employers to move to a single plan document and Form 5500 submission that streamlines workflow. At the same time, the plan document should be updated for compliance with current legal and tax requirements.

Qualified investment professionals, such as registered investment advisors (RIAs) can work with employers to bring these IAC plans up-to-date. In choosing an advisor, it is wise to make sure that they offer these additional services:

• Advisor support to help address proper plan compliance.  This includes both guidance on dealing with operational issues and investment requirements.

• Assistance with plan design to keep plans current with today’s marketplace.

• Additional fiduciary protection for investment selections through an ERISA 3(21) co-fiduciary advisor or preferably an ERISA 3(38) full fiduciary which I will explain in a later post.

• Employee education, including individual retirement plan investment support for participants, to help guide smarter investment decisions.

Speaking with a qualified RIA is a good way to learn about these and other advisory services that can provide both employers and employees with a more robust, compliant retirement plan solution.

In our next post, we will discuss how an open architecture platform may fit the needs of today’s employment marketplace.

To discuss how MV Financial can help your organization with its TIAA retirement plan, please contact Andrea Kessler at (301) 656-6545 or

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