Message Boards Digest

April 25, 2023

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Peter Gulia created a topic in Retirement Plans in General

For an ASPPA Member Who Is a Recordkeeper's Employee, Who Is Her Principal?

"To help me sort out how to interpret and apply ASPPA's Code of Conduct, I ask for BenefitsLink neighbors' thoughts about who is an ASPPA Member's Principal when the Member is a nonowner employee of a service provider and does not control its relations with its customers.

"The Code of Conduct's definition for Principal is 'any present or prospective client of a Member or the employer of a Member where the Member provides retirement plan services for their employer's plan.'

"Imagine an ASPPA Member (under ASPPA's Code, '[a]n individual') who is an employee of a big recordkeeper. This employee never works on any employee-benefit plan the recordkeeper maintains for the recordkeeper's employees. Rather, the recordkeeper uses the employee's work to provide the recordkeeper's services to the recordkeeper's customers. Assume the work is, if provided to a Principal, 'Professional Services' as ASPPA's Code defines this.

  1. Is each of the recordkeeper's customers the employee works on a Principal? Why or why not?
    • Would whether the employee works on a dozen plans, a few hundred plans, or a few thousand plans affect your reasoning?
    • Does it matter whether the employee knows some identity or information of a particular customer? What if the employee works on a process the recordkeeper uses in performing its services for many, most, or almost all its customers, but the employer seldom sees information on a particular customer?
  2. Is the recordkeeper its employee's only Principal? Why or why not?
  3. Does this employee have no Principal, because she does no work on her employer's plan and the recordkeeper's customer is not the employee's client?
  4. Do you have some different way to interpret who is or isn't the employee's Principal?'
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