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ERISA Compliance and Monitoring 401(k) Investments: Safe Harbor Rules and Appointing Advisers


Feb. 20, 2018

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EST


This CLE webinar will guide ERISA attorneys and general counsel on issues regarding compliance and 401(k) investment managers, including appointment and monitoring by plan sponsors. Our experienced panel will provide an overview of critical aspects of regulations under ERISA and provide insight into the proper methods of developing and implementing monitoring procedures for retirement plan sponsors to avoid potential liability.

As qualified plan fiduciaries, 401(k) plan sponsors are required to provide the care and prudence required under ERISA. Company officers, directors and key personnel are responsible for appointing and monitoring an investment manager that provides services to the company’s plan. The lack of proper procedures and oversight of the actions of an investment manager can result in significant liability and potential litigation.

Section 405(d)(1) of ERISA provides safe-harbor relief to a named fiduciary granted control of plan assets who has properly appointed an investment manager to manage the plan assets. The inclusion of the safe-harbor creates an inherent and substantial duty to monitor an investment manager.

Counsel must be knowledgeable and able to properly advise plan sponsors on the fiduciary requirements of ERISA, the duty of care and prudence in appointing investment managers, and effective methods for developing and implementing monitoring procedures to provide oversight over the investment manager’s activities.

Listen as our panel highlights the implications of a plan sponsor’s failure to monitor investment managers, key features of an effective monitoring plan, issues relating to the use of digital advice platforms / robo-advisers and the impact of the new DOL fiduciary rules.


  • Overview of safe-harbors granted to retirement plan sponsors
  • Developing routine procedures to monitor investment activities
  • Auditing monitoring procedures for effectiveness, compliance, proper documentation and corrective actions
  • Special provisions and duties regarding the use of robo-advisers / digital advice platforms
  • The impact of new DOL fiduciary rules

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • The ERISA fiduciary rules and compliance
  • Key components of an effective monitoring plan, identifying deficiencies and implementing corrective measures
  • Monitoring issues with the use of digital advice platforms
  • Risk mitigation methods in light of new DOL fiduciary rules


  • Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Counsel, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
  • Roberta Casper Watson, Partner, The Wagner Law Group

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