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Life Health > Running Your Business > Marketing and Lead Generation

The Compliance Test Opportunity

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What You Need to Know

  • At some employers, compliance testing will go well.
  • When it does not, that will sting.
  • You can be ready with the salve.

If you want to add retirement plan advisory clients, one way is to have something to say about employers’ compliance testing problems.

There are five key moments in the year when benefits advisors can demonstrate their expertise and attention to detail.

  1. The annual census.
  2. Compliance testing.
  3. Production and auditing of the Form 5500.
  4. Preparing and sending required notices.
  5. Measurement and planning.

The first key moment, the annual census period, runs from January through early February.

Retirement plan sponsors should then go through a compliance testing process every year in late March.

This is the time of the year when recordkeepers, third-party administrators and other service providers help employers ensure that their plans comply with 401(k) regulations.

Hidden Pain

Making sure a plan complies with 401(k) regulations can be a daunting task for a plan sponsor, and making corrections after compliance testing can take time and money.

Compliance testing may still be fresh in the minds of clients that ran into difficulties this year.

You can turn a pain point into an opportunity, by finding the pain point.

Did a plan sponsor get the help it needed from its recordkeeper or TPA during the recent testing period?

The Compliance Testing Test

Start a conversation by asking an employer whether the services provider…

  • Talked with you about the compliance process and the deadlines?
  • Completed the testing promptly?
  • Provided easy-to-understand results?
  • Took proactive steps to uncover discrepancies?
  • Helped you correct failures?
  • Discussed or implemented ways to improve future results?
  • Accepted fiduciary responsibility for the compliance testing process?

Employers whose answers add up to a negative experience may look to the advisor for solutions.

Advisors can connect those employers with providers that go above and beyond when helping employers complete compliance testing.

Take the time to evaluate a provider’s expertise and reliability.

Look into the company’s length of time in business, credentials and customer reviews. Ask what checks and balances it follows during the compliance process. And assess the experience and qualifications of the team that carries out testing.

Partner with providers that can give you positive answers to these questions:

  • Can you describe a success story when critical thinking made a difference?
  • Do you make a point of exhausting all alternative testing methods?
  • What’s your track record for meeting or beating testing deadlines?
  • Do you take fiduciary responsibility for the compliance results?
  • Do you take fiduciary responsibility for corrections?

Your clients will appreciate your efforts to match them with a reliable partner — at compliance testing time and throughout the year.

Katie SheligaEkaterina “Katie” Sheliga, MBA, AIF, CPFA, is the national accounts sales director at The Standard and a registered representative at StanCorp Equities.




(Image: lmillian/Adobe Stock)


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