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ERISA Creates Benchmarking Challenges for Plan Sponsors
Date:2/28/2013

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Two West Advisors and Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP have teamed up to offer The 401(k) Benchmark Solution™ to employers who sponsor defined contribution retirement plans. The 401(k) Benchmark SolutionTM helps employers satisfy new fiduciary duties under Section 408(b)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that went into effect last summer.

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The firms are offering a series of complimentary webinars and workshops to help plan sponsors understand their responsibilities under the ERISA guidelines. The next Lunch and Learn workshop will be held March 27 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Two West offices in Overland Park. Participants may learn more about the session and register at www.401kbenchmarksolution.eventbrite.com.

"It's been more than nine months since the new guidelines went into effect, and yet there are still a significant number of employers unsure about their fiduciary duties under 408(b)(2)," said Marko Ungashick , CEO of Two West Advisors.

"In a nut-shell, the new regulations require plan vendors to disclose their compensation and services, providing more information to permit employers/fiduciaries to evaluate the reasonableness of arrangements and fees," explained Greg Ash , a partner at Spencer Fane working in the firm's Employee Benefits Group and Chair of its ERISA Litigation Group. "In turn, plan sponsors must undertake the necessary benchmarking process which entails a comprehensive review of fees, service levels and investments of all covered service providers. This can be a challenge for plan sponsors. We are here to help."

Benefits of The 401(k) Benchmark Solution™

The benchmarking process offered by Two West and Spencer Fane ensures employers have thoroughly compared their retirement plan against others in the industry and determined the true value they are receiving from their 401(k) vendors.

Employers can choose to execute the benchmarking process themselves or hand over the responsibilities to a plan consultant, such as Two West Advisors. "Once the entire benchmarking process is outlined, we are frequently asked to just do it for them," Ungashick said. "That's how The 401(k) Benchmark SolutionTM was developed."

"The beauty of The 401(k) Benchmark SolutionTM is the collaboration between Two West, an independent financial advisory firm specializing in retirement plans, and Spencer Fane, with experienced attorneys focused exclusively on ERISA and other laws governing employee benefits," explained Ryan Rink , principal at Two West Advisors. "Employers get advice from two professional firms, for the price of one."

The 401(k) Benchmark SolutionTM helps employers achieve improved transparency, better plan services, lower participant/employer cost and reduced fiduciary risk.

Results from recent case studies performed in 2012 involving multiple Two West clients revealed significant savings and fee reductions following a thorough benchmarking process.

"We believe employers will embrace the efficiency and ease that come with having outside advisors take on this essential benchmarking process for their retirement plans," said Rink. "But whether they chose to do it themselves or get help, plan sponsors must undertake a benchmarking process or risk being in violation of ERISA fiduciary duty rules."

About Two West Advisors

Two West Advisors is an independent fee-based advisory firm specializing in retirement plan and investment advisory services for plan fiduciaries and individuals. They provide comprehensive value in both the company's BoardRoom and the BreakRoom. Learn more at www.TwoWestAdvisors.com.

About Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP

Established well before the enactment of ERISA (the federal law governing retirement plans), Spencer Fane's employee benefits practice group is one of the largest and most respected in the region. Spencer Fane's cutting edge solutions help employers stay ahead of problems and out of court. Visit www.spencerfane.com to learn more.

Media Contact: Karen Embry Impact Communications, 913-649-5009, karenembry@impactcommunications.org

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