retirementThe traditional model for providing consulting and advisory services to retirement plans is an investment only mandate.  Most advisors provide a standard reporting package and meet with committee members periodically to only review the investments available to the plan or plan participants. MRA Associates raises the bar. We take a holistic approach that incorporates all aspects of a plan and customize it for each plan’s specific needs. We meet with the plan’s Administrative Committee quarterly to review the investment menu structure, plan governance, investment performance, current legislative and regulatory topics, participant behavior (if participant-directed), plan statistics, education strategy, economic updates, plan costs, and other relevant information.

We step beyond the traditional investment advisory role by helping our clients understand and meet their fiduciary obligations under ERISA and the Department of Labor. Through our approach we simplify fiduciary compliance and shoulder the burden of the labor to help plan sponsors meet their fiduciary obligations.

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For trustee-directed retirement plans, MRA Associates provides the following investment services to the plan as an ERISA 3(38) investment manager.

  • Construct, implement, and manage the portfolio
  • Draft and maintain the Investment Policy Statement (IPS) to ensure adherence with applicable fiduciary standards and regulatory changes
  • Select and monitor the investment options utilized within the portfolio, including ongoing investment manager research, recommendation, and replacement

For participant-directed retirement plans, MRA Associates provides the following investment services to the plan as an ERISA 3(21) limited scope investment fiduciary. 

  • Design and implement a prudent investment structure
  • Review and recommend the plan’s Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA)
  • Draft and maintain the Investment Policy Statement (IPS) to ensure adherence with applicable fiduciary standards and regulatory changes
  • Select and monitor the investment options offered within the plan, including ongoing investment manager research, recommendation, and replacement

We also provide the following services to assist the plan sponsor with meetings its fiduciary obligations (depending on the type of plan):

Plan Sponsor Services

  • Lead investment review meetings, including investment reporting package, economic overview, regulatory update, and other relevant plan matters
  • Produce and retain investment committee meeting minutes
  • Coordinate plan document and other issues with ERISA counsel
  • Review participant investment behavior

Vendor Management

  • Monitor service provider(s) and help resolve problems
  • Ensure full fee transparency
  • Benchmark service provider fees and services
  • Initiate periodic Requests for Proposal (RFP) for recordkeeping, compliance, and custodial services
  • Coordinate service provider transition

Fiduciary Compliance

  • Provide annual fiduciary education
  • Review plan governance structure
  • Support ongoing fiduciary compliance support
  • Assist with applicable annual compliance notices (Safe Harbor, QDIA, 404(c), automatic enrollment, etc.)
  • Review of 404(c) procedures

Expense Monitoring

  • Review total plan costs annually
  • Evaluate competitiveness of recordkeeping, compliance, and custodial vendor fees and services
  • Benchmark and evaluate investment manager fees

Plan Goals and Objectives Exercise

  • Assist plan sponsor in establishing annual and long-term plan objectives (participant, sponsor, investment, and total plan)
  • Monitor short-term and long-term progress toward achievement of objectives
  • Review and revise annually as appropriate

Plan Design

  • Prepare Current State Analysis (CSA) for comparison to the marketplace
  • Coordinate plan design enhancements to improve participant retirement preparedness metrics

Participant Education and Communication Services

  • Develop a participant education and communication strategy
  • Negotiate vendor implementation and delivery
  • Monitor results