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What is an ERISA fiduciary? | Business

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What is an ERISA fiduciary?
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The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was enacted in 1974 to protect employees who participate in retirement plans and certain other employee benefit plans. At the time, there were concerns that pension plan funds were being mismanaged, causing participants to lose benefits they had worked so hard to earn. ERISA protects the interests of plan participants and their beneficiaries by:

·         Requiring the disclosure of financial and other plan information

·         Establishing standards of conduct for plan fiduciaries

·         Providing for appropriate remedies, sanctions, and access to the federal courts

It's the fiduciary provisions of ERISA that help protect participants from the mismanagement and abuse of plan assets. The law requires that fiduciaries act prudently, solely in the interests of plan participants and beneficiaries, and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits and paying reasonable expenses of administering the plan.

Fiduciaries must diversify plan investments to minimize the risk of large losses, unless it's clearly prudent not to do so. Fiduciaries must also avoid conflicts of interest. They cannot allow the plan to engage in certain transactions with the employer, service providers, or other fiduciaries ("parties in interest"). There are also specific rules against self-dealing.

Who is a plan fiduciary? Anyone who:

·         Exercises any discretionary control over the plan or its assets

·         Has any discretionary responsibility for administration of the plan

·         Provides investment advice for a fee or other compensation (direct or indirect)

Plan fiduciaries may include, for example, discretionary plan trustees, plan administrators, investment managers and advisors, and members of a plan's investment committee.

Fiduciaries must take their responsibilities seriously. If they fail to comply with ERISA's requirements, they may be personally liable for any losses incurred by the plan. Criminal liability may also be possible.

Representatives offer Securities and Advisory Services through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment advisor.

Insurance services offered by Georgetown Capital Group which is independent of Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., with separate ownership, and is not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor.

Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Securities and investment advisory services may not be available in all states.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.

Joseph V. Curatolo, President of Georgetown Capital Group

5350 Main Street, Williamsville, NY 14221

Phone #(716) 633-9800  Toll Free 1 (800) 648-8091  Fax #(716) 633-9789

www.georgetowncapital.com   

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