Austin, TX (PRWEB) March 11, 2014
OTB Strategic Consulting, Inc., (OTB) a business advisory firm, announces the launch of The FIRE System(SM), a unique online 401(k) self-assessment tool for plan fiduciaries that quickly finds areas of non-compliance and provides solutions to correct them. OTB developed the tool in conjunction with Akros Fiduciary Management, a premier investment firm, to give fiduciaries a simple and cost-effective way to make sure that their 401(k) plans are being carried out in accordance with government regulations and guidelines.
As 401(k) plans continue to grow and be a popular and dominant retirement vehicle among employers to attract and retain employees, they have also drawn more attention and scrutiny from regulators, agencies and even lawyers. As one of the few industries that has multiple regulators who oversee it, the best defense for an employer or fiduciary of a 401(k) plan is a good offense to avoid any fiduciary risks. It is now becoming more important than ever for companies to understand and safeguard their fiduciary roles as plan sponsors before an examination.
The new FIRE System provides boards of directors, CEOs, internal auditors and human resource executives, an independent review of any size traditional or safe harbor 401(k) plan's fiduciary risk and compliance. The FIRE System analyzes responses to questions with regards to possible areas of non-compliance with many common but crucial ERISA laws and regulations as overseen by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) including regulatory interpretations/opinions, court decisions and industry best practices. This unique tool provides plan sponsors with a written report with a variety of reporting options from a basic risk level, evaluation and education to a more in-depth analysis with specific violations/solutions and a more advanced education to help plan sponsors and their fiduciaries become and continue to stay compliant in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner. For convenience, the free report, along with educational materials, can be printed, downloaded or saved to download at a later date.
"More and more we live in a regulatory world and many plan sponsors and employers may not be fully aware of the complexity and scope of their fiduciary responsibilities under the law," says Deborah A. Castellani, CFA, Principal & Senior Fiduciary Specialist, OTB Strategic Consulting, Inc. "The FIRE System makes them stronger in their role as a fiduciary by better understanding the complicated DOL and IRS rules and regulations that govern 401(k) plans, helping to bring plans into compliance, and educating plan sponsors and their fiduciaries on how to avoid fiduciary liability and personal risk."
In addition, to better understand the complexity and roles of the IRS and DOL regulators, and how to be prepared as a 401(k) plan sponsor, OTB offers an informational document available for free download at http://www.thefiresystem.com/article-irs-vs-dol
As experts in the area of 401(k) risk management and assessment, Deborah A. Castellani, CFA, and William C. Conrad, JD, CEO, Akros Fiduciary Management, take a deeper look at the similarities and differences between the regulators, the oversight and examination process, how to prepare as a plan sponsor and what to expect with an examination.
Over the years, employer sponsored 401(k) plans have become a prevailing savings vehicle for individuals in the workplace, with over 500,000 plans that have over $4 trillion in assets and over 88 million participants. The Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)--which oversees nearly 684,000 retirement plans, collected $1.69 billion in fiscal year 2013 through enforcement, voluntary fiduciary corrections, and informal complaint resolutions.
"Plan fiduciaries have a great responsibility and are ultimately personally accountable for their 401(k) plans," says William C. Conrad, JD. "They need to continually assess their operational compliance, internal controls and investments, and provide oversight of their service providers."
A free 401(k) Risk Assessment is available at http://www.thefiresystem.com.
About OTB Strategic Consulting, Inc.
Based in Austin, Texas, OTB Strategic Consulting, Inc. was formed to un-complicate the complicated, implement sound growth strategies, regulatory policies and procedures, and organizational transformation for Fortune 500 businesses, start-ups and everything in between. Founded in 2002, OTB works with corporate boards, plan sponsors, executives and individuals, and profitable and "not so profitable" companies that want independent advice to grow and streamline their operations. For more information, visit http://www.otbstrategic.com.
About Akros Fiduciary Management
Founded in 2002, Akros Investments, Inc. (dba as Akros Fiduciary Management) is a premier provider of fiduciary-based investment-related services. Akros has consistently offered companies or individuals quality advice and solutions that reduce their regulatory, fiduciary and financial risk by providing solutions that are important in resolving the problems and challenges they may face. Akros is a privately held company and is headquartered in Texas. For more information, visit http://www.akrosfm.com.
Colleen Gatlin, fisher VISTA (For OTB Strategic Consulting, Inc.)