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Guest SG

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HELP! I am lost. Does anyone know of any requirements of ERISA, that requires the Plan Doc be signed by the Plan Sponsor. If so, if the signature is not obtained what are the ramifications (other than poor business practice) ? Does this make the TPA the fiduciary of the plan? I would also appreciate some direction as to what section of ERISA covers this subject.


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I am confused.

When you say the Plan Document is not signed, are you talking about everything including, for example, an adoption agreement? It is possible the two are separate "documents" (small "d") where the adoption agreement has the required signature and the two together comprise the "Document" (capital "D").

I am not an attorney and do not know whether a separate Board Resolution adopting the Plan Document is sufficient to make this a written plan and contract as required by law.

For qualified pension plans, the Internal Revenue Code requires a plan (and trust) to be in existence in a particular year in order for it to be qualified. Code Section 401(a) and its related regulations require the plan to be a written plan.

[This requirement predates ERISA.]

Consider asking a knowledgable ERISA attorney whether there are sufficient documents to enable the plan to meet the requirements for qualification.

For health plans, it is my lay opinion the rules are much looser. An "accident and health plan" does not have to be written (code section 105 and its regulations).

[This message has been edited by Larry M (edited 09-25-98).]

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Guest Pat Ibbs

I do not think that the signature is an ERISA requirement but a contract law requirement. An ERISA fiduciary is one who provides certain tasks for the plan (as defined in ERISA) and may or may not be identified as a fiduciary. The lack of a signature would not, in itself, make a TPA into a fiduciary of the plan.

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