(b)lines Ask the Experts – What or Who is a ‘Named Fiduciary’?

“Recently the recordkeeper who is taking over administration of our Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) 403(b) plan from a prior recordkeeper asked for the identity of the plan’s “named fiduciary.” Though I am well familiar with who the plan’s fiduciaries are, I am unfamiliar with the term “named fiduciary.” Can the Experts clarify?”

Stacey Bradford, David Levine and David Powell, with Groom Law Group, and Michael A. Webb, vice president, Retirement Plan Services, Cammack Retirement Group, answer:


Of course! Though, there can be a number of fiduciaries in a plan by function, there is a form requirement under ERISA Section 402(a)(2) for all plans that are subject to ERISA that at least one individual or entity be named in the plan document as a fiduciary; hence, the term “named fiduciary.” Most commonly, a named fiduciary is either the sponsoring employer, the company’s board of directors/trustees, or an appropriate administrative committee of the board, though other individuals/entities can serve as the “named fiduciary” as well.


Thus, in order to locate the identity of your “named fiduciary,” you should review your plan document, as that document will specifically identify the named fiduciary. You might also want to provide your recordkeeper with a copy of your plan document as well, since the fact that the recordkeeper posed this question indicates that they may not have a current plan document in their possession.



NOTE: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.


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