401(k) Fiduciary Solutions: Expert Guidance for 401(k) Plan Sponsors on how to Effectively and Safely Manage Plan Compliance and Investments by ... Burden with Experienced Professionals

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9781938465000: 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions: Expert Guidance for 401(k) Plan Sponsors on how to Effectively and Safely Manage Plan Compliance and Investments by ... Burden with Experienced Professionals
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In an economy that demands focused attention, 401k plan sponsors must concentrate on their business, not its employee benefits. Ironically, this same economic environment provides an ideal opportunity to create a retirement plan that can best help employees retire in comfort. Companies achieving this ideal will find it easier to hire quality employees. How can 401k plan sponsors balance these two opposing forces? The answer most likely lies not within the walls of the company, but in its ability to outsource certain key fiduciary duties to recognized leaders in the fiduciary service industry.

With an exhaustive appendix filled with great resources and useful checklists, 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions covers all 401k compliance issues in a single reference source. It is written for plan managers, sponsors and others with 401k plan fiduciary responsibilities. Smart plan participants may also find the book a helpful source for advice on how to actively monitor plan performance and regulatory compliance.

401(k) Fiduciary Solutions helps readers:

  • Learn the 5 areas of fiduciary liability.
  • See a benchmarking template on how to best measure your plan.
  • Read what issues experts and industry thought leaders say matter most.
  • Discover how to avoid hiring vendors with hidden conflicts-of-interest.
  • Recognize what academic research suggests will help employees making good decisions.
  • Find out what industry pros are doing to create better 401k plans.
  • Follow an easy-to-implement approach to develop effective plan education.
Here's What Others Are Saying About Christopher Carosa's 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions:

"The collection of material Carosa has compiled in 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions is nothing short of extraordinary. He digs deeply into an expansive set of topics to extract the practical insights diligent fiduciaries can use on a daily basis as they work with their retirement plans."
- Mike Alfred, Co-Founder & CEO BrightScope, Inc.

"Chris provides a treasure trove of practical & invaluable information and insights for plan sponsors and financial advisors to 401K plans. If you wear either of these hats you MUST read this book."
- Harold Evensky, CFP, AIF, President, Evensky & Katz

"Carosa demonstrates a knack for cutting through the clutter of investment, administrative and regulatory issues plan sponsors face to uncover the essence of what the reader needs to know and points to great resources for more information."
- Blaine F. Aikin, CEO, fi360

"What sets this book apart from others I've seen in this space is the thoroughness of Chris's research, the variety of experts interviewed, and the breadth and depth of the topics covered. The book flows seamlessly from expert to expert and topic to topic. If you are a plan sponsor or in any way provide service and advice to plan sponsors this is a must-have book for your library."
- Roger Wohlner, Co-founder Retirement Fiduciary Advisors

"Provocative yet conversational, Carosa's book will terrify plan fiduciaries before guiding them on a simple path out of the darkness."
- Jan Sackley, Fraud Examiner, PI, Fiduciary Consultant Fiduciary Foresight, LLC

"Candid and forthright, Mr. Carosa proves he writes what he knows. The pithy and concise narrative translates the technicalities of the 401k fiduciary area into a relatable expertise."
- Jenny Ivy, Managing Editor BenefitsPro.com

"To craft, as Chris has on a regular basis, information on a complex subject that is readable, timely, and instructive -- as well as occasionally controversial -- is a rare gift."
- Nevin E. Adams, JD Director, Education and External Relations, Employee Benefit Research Institute

"Carosa's work is highly regarded in the retirement community. His new book should serve as an essential reference for any plan sponsor or advisor who aspires to a higher fiduciary standard."
- Kerry Pechter, Editor & publisher Retirement Income Journal

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Author:

From the Preface:

Some time ago I met an electrical engineer at a FIRST robotics competition. After sharing our experiences as mentors for the young innovators who built and ran the robots, we spoke of our enthusiasm for promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics. My fellow mentor was somewhat surprised to learn that I took my Physics and Astronomy degree and promptly entered the field of investments and portfolio management.

Well, it wasn't too prompt. It also started during the height (make that the nadir) of the 1982 recession. I was desperate to accept any job. The offer from the investment firm just happened to be the first (and only) one that came along. Now, although the company was a successful investment adviser, my job was a rung below that of mail clerk. A glorified data entry typist, each day I would enter the data for the previous day's trades from which I'd print authorization letters my company would then send to the banks holding the clients' assets, instructing them they were authorized to settled said trades.

I thought this was an incredible waste of time and energy, not to mention personally demeaning. It didn't take a rocket scientist (ironic given my degree suggests I could indeed have become a rocket scientist) to determine we could build a rather powerful computer database out of the data I entered. Indeed, within a few short years, I had created such a system, which allowed my employer to move from using paper ledgers to enjoying the wonderful world of computing. Not only did it put me in a higher pay grade, it also got me out of typing those darned author-ization letters. This turned out to be a good thing because with the implementation of the Depository Trust Company about the same time, authorization letters became obsolete. (Not in the mind of the SEC, though, and a year or so later I helped draft a no-action letter to that government agency explaining this new electronic approval system.)

That same analytical thinking placed me in the perfect position for my superiors to tap me to help create their mutual funds, head up the firm's entire operations area (after being named a Managing Director at the ripe old age of 26), set up internal custodian operations, create and build their affiliated trust company (as Executive Vice President and Senior Trust Officer) and, ultimately, build and help oversee several common trust funds (as a member of the Trust and Investment Committee).

After all that hard work, and the desire to spend more time with my family, I decided to create my own firm. This firm would be a scaled down version of my former employer. As such, with a fully integrated information system from the get go, it would be more manageable with fewer people. The Internet certainly helped.

Truth be told, my original intention upon leaving my old firm was to write a book to help everyday investors make better decisions. After 150 pages of outline, I figured it was too long and would never sell. With a young family in need of daily feeding, I had to think of some way to provide for them. I looked to the only business model I knew I could turn profitable in the shortest amount of time.

I told the electrical engineer this whole story and a little bit more. Rather than dying from boredom, he seemed genuinely intrigued. A moment later his eyes fell to the floor and flitted back and forth as he shyly inquired, "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question -- about me, I mean, not you?"

"Sure," I said. He had my curiosity.

Still somewhat embarrassed, he asked, "Do I have enough to retire?"

This is what I knew about him: He worked for a large firm but wasn't top management. He had been working since graduate school and was in his mid-fifties. His oldest child was about to start college and he had a couple more. He lived in a modest house in a small rural community that's more Midwest than east or west coast. It's more rustbelt than sunbelt.

Here's what I know about that question: I hated it. I've read so many stories of people not having enough to retire. I've met so many people who never thought of saving for retirement. I really hate being the bearer of bad news.

Perhaps he saw this in my hesitation when he meekly offered, "My 401(k) plan is well north of a million dollars."

I smiled and explained that, although he wasn't alone in his savings level, he was much better off than many of his counterparts.

After the robotics tournament, I thought about his situation and how so many people really do share his good fortune. In fact, Thomas Stanley and William Danko's 1996 bestseller The Millionaire Next Door describes the phenomenon I'm talking about. It's about how everyday people, living a life of modest discipline, can accumulate retirement assets into seven figures. And I mean seven figures even after the 2007-2009 market debacle.

Unfortunately, while the 401(k) plan offers an excellent means for workers to meet their retirement needs, it remains a far too underutilized tool. Two reasons rise to explain this. First, the average worker does not take advantage of the clear economic opportunity afforded by the 401(k), specifically through the employer match. Academic research shows people regularly -- and inexplicably -- turn away from these no-strings-attached free money offers.

Academic research also suggests reliable solutions to prevent these poor decisions, which brings us to our second problem. Typical 401(k) plan sponsors find themselves consumed by the rigors of the particular rat race in which they've chosen to compete. They simply can't spend the time needed to fine-tune their retirement plan. Worse, to the extent they do devote that time to their 401(k) plan, they expend far too much of it trying to avoid fiduciary liability.

That got me to thinking. What if I interviewed folks from across the country who could reveal best-of-breed solutions and then share those solutions with 401(k) plan sponsors throughout the land? I got the chance to do precisely this thanks to Pandamensional Solutions, Inc., which publishes FiduciaryNews.com, a website providing essential information, blunt commentary and practical examples for ERISA/401(k) fiduciaries, individual trustees and professional fiduciaries. This led to other publishing venues and, with more than 300 articles published in paper, print and on the web, I soon found my readers asking for a book; hence the birth of this volume, 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions -- Expert Guidance for 401(k) Plan Sponsors on how to Effectively and Safely Manage Plan Compliance and Investments by Sharing the Fiduciary Burden with Experienced Professionals.

I hope you find this book as enjoyable to read as it was for me to write and as useful a tool as there can be in today's challenging and ever changing 401(k) environment.

  • Christopher Carosa, Mendon, New York, April 27, 2012

From the Inside Flap:

From the Foreword by Roger Wohlner:


I've been active on social media for about three years.  One of the first people to whom I gravitated was Chris Carosa. As a fee-only financial advisor who strongly believes in the Fiduciary Standard, I find Chris' writings to be a natural for me to read, follow, and share. Chris is the ultimate Renaissance man. Besides his acclaimed blog FiduciaryNews.com, Chris manages money and writes in the non-financial realm as well.

401(k) Fiduciary Solutions is a must-read for both organizations sponsoring a 401(k) plan and professionals who provide services to those plan sponsors.

In writing this book, Chris has interviewed a wide and exhaustive range of sources in the 401(k) world. Chris spoke with attorneys, providers of 401(k) plan rankings, 401(k) advisors, and many other sources. These interviews provide a broad perspective on the array of issues facing plan sponsors in today's increasingly complex 401(k) landscape.

Moreover, rather than a dry tome on what could be a very dry subject, Chris uses his literary skills to make this book an easy read. Besides being a recognized authority on Fiduciary matters, Chris has written a novel and two stage plays as well. 

As one who serves as an advisor to a number of 401(k) plan sponsors, I'll be turning to Chris' book as a vital reference tool for years to come. The variety of topics covered as well as the depth of research make this a "must have" manual. Add to this the relevance and preciseness of the solutions offered and you have a book that serves the needs of all major parties involved in the management of 401(k) plans.

This book showcases Chris' knowledge of the fiduciary issues facing plan sponsors. What sets this book apart from others that I've seen in this space is the thoroughness of Chris's research, the variety of experts interviewed, and the breadth and depth of the topics covered. Additionally the book flows seamlessly from expert to expert and topic to topic. If you are a plan sponsor or in any way provide service and advice to plan sponsors, this is a must-have book for your library.


Roger Wohlner is based in Arlington Heights, IL. He serves as a financial advisor to retirement plan sponsors, endowments and foundation, as well as to high net worth individual clients with Asset Strategy Consultants. Additionally Roger is the co-founder of Retirement Fiduciary Advisors as full-service advisory firm with a focus on providing investment and retirement advisor to the participants of 401(k) and other defined contribution retirement plans. Roger is an avid social media user and blogs at Chicago Financial Planner and for US News on their Smarter Investor blog.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description Pandamensional Solutions, Inc. Paperback. Condition: New. 320 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 5.8in. x 0.9in.In an economy that demands focused attention, 401k plan sponsors must concentrate on their business, not its employee benefits. Ironically, this same economic environment provides an ideal opportunity to create a retirement plan that can best help employees retire in comfort. Companies achieving this ideal will find it easier to hire quality employees. How can 401k plan sponsors balance these two opposing forces The answer most likely lies not within the walls of the company, but in its ability to outsource certain key fiduciary duties to recognized leaders in the fiduciary service industry. With an exhaustive appendix filled with great resources and useful checklists, 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions covers all 401k compliance issues in a single reference source. It is written for plan managers, sponsors and others with 401k plan fiduciary responsibilities. Smart plan participants may also find the book a helpful source for advice on how to actively monitor plan performance and regulatory compliance. 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions helps readers: Learn the 5 areas of fiduciary liability. See a benchmarking template on how to best measure your plan. Read what issues experts and industry thought leaders say matter most. Discover how to avoid hiring vendors with hidden conflicts-of-interest. Recognize what academic research suggests will help employees making good decisions. Find out what industry pros are doing to create better 401k plans. Follow an easy-to-implement approach to develop effective plan education. Heres What Others Are Saying About Christopher Carosas 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions: The collection of material Carosa has compiled in 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions is nothing short of extraordinary. He digs deeply into an expansive set of topics to extract the practical insights diligent fiduciaries can use on a daily basis as they work with their retirement plans. - Mike Alfred, Co-Founder and CEO BrightScope, Inc. Chris provides a treasure trove of practical and invaluable information and insights for plan sponsors and financial advisors to 401K plans. If you wear either of these hats you MUST read this book. - Harold Evensky, CFP, AIF, President, Evensky and Katz Carosa demonstrates a knack for cutting through the clutter of investment, administrative and regulatory issues plan sponsors face to uncover the essence of what the reader needs to know and points to great resources for more information. - Blaine F. Aikin, CEO, fi360 What sets this book apart from others Ive seen in this space is the thoroughness of Chriss research, the variety of experts interviewed, and the breadth and depth of the topics covered. The book flows seamlessly from expert to expert and topic to topic. If you are a plan sponsor or in any way provide service and advice to plan sponsors this is a must-have book for your library. - Roger Wohlner, Co-founder Retirement Fiduciary AdvisorsProvocative yet conversational, Carosas book will terrify plan fiduciaries before guiding them on a simple path out of the darkness. - Jan Sackley, Fraud Examiner, PI, Fiduciary Consultant Fiduciary Foresight, LLC Candid and forthright, Mr. Carosa proves he writes what he knows. The pithy and concise narrative translates the technicalities of the 401k fiduciary area into a relatable expertise. - Jenny Ivy, Managing Editor BenefitsPro. com To craft, as Chris has on a regular basis, information on a complex subject that is readable, timely, and instructive -- as well as occasionally controversial -- is a rare gift. - Nevin E. Adams, JD Director, Education and External Relations, Employee Benefit Research Institute Carosas work is highly regarded in the retirement community. His new book should serve as an essential reference for any plan sponsor or advisor who aspires to a higher fiduciary standard. - Kerry Pechter, Editor and pu This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781938465000

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