Posted on Feb 4, 2020

Administering a retirement plan requires a high level of expertise, which is one reason employers choose a TPA for this function. A competent TPA relieves an employer of the day-to-day processes involved with a retirement plan, and ensures the plan is in compliance with state and federal law. But are you confident that you’re getting good customer service from your TPA? Evaluate your TPA’s performance with these six questions:

  • How easy is it to reach your point of contact? Does your TPA make it easy or difficult and frustrating for you to reach them? Is there an 800 number with an extensive menu that gets your re-routed to different people, each one requesting the same information before you can even explain why you’re calling?
  • Do you have a dedicated account administrator who understands your company and your plan?  Beware if you reach a new person, who is unfamiliar with you or your organization, every time you call your TPA with a question. You want someone with the best possible qualifications who understands the nuances of your company and your plan.
  • How responsive is your TPA if your organizational needs change? If you require changes to your plan or services, is your TPA willing to help you evaluate your options and set up an innovative plan specific to your needs, or do they only offer cookie-cutter solutions?
  • Does your TPA ask you questions for which they should already know the answers? For example, if your TPA asks you to identify HCEs (highly compensated employees) and Key employees, why don’t they already have this information? You hired them to identify the different categories of employees for testing purposes. The last thing you need is to incorrectly identify even one employee, resulting in the compliance test and potentially all annual administration work needing to be re-done, likely at your expense since it was ‘your mistake.’
  • Is your TPA up-to-date with technology advancements? It’s a lot easier to do business with a TPA that is current with the latest technology than with one with limited technological capabilities.
  • Is your TPA as concerned with cybersecurity issues as you are? How is your TPA addressing cybersecurity? Fraudulent activity with regard to 401(k) accounts and pension plans is on the rise nationally. Safeguarding accounts is critical, not only to protect employees, but also to avoid exposing plan sponsors, administrators, and service providers to state and federal fines, lawsuits, and damage to the company’s reputation.

This material is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as authoritative guidance, legal advice, or assurance of compliance with state and federal regulations. 

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