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COVID-19 Update

Alliant Wealth Advisors is an "essential business" under Virginia state law and we remain fully operational during the COVID-19 crisis.

To keep our clients, staff and colleagues safe we are currently holding all meetings via video conferencing. And we are alternating a small number of staff in our office while the majority serve you from their home.

Speaking of our office. Our headquarters in Prince William will relocate to the Signal Hill Professional Center at 9161 Liberia Avenue, Suite 100, Manassas, VA 20110 effective Monday, April 20, 2020.

Whether we are virtual or in person, we are here for you. Please keep safe.

Best Regards,

John Frisch, CPA/PFS, CFP®, AIF®, PPC®

President

A Better
401(k) Solution

  401(k) and 403(b) Plans Made Simple  


Secure Retirement by Design

Alliant Qualified Plans provides a consultative process backed by an ultra-high level of service and state-of-the-art technology. Learn More

Better Plans

We offer better 401(k) and 403(b) plans to help retirement plan sponsors improve their employees’ ability to build toward retirement, reduce the potential personal liability of their plan fiduciaries, and simplify plan compliance and administration.

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Our Differentiators

Better Plan Investments

We access the low-fee funds offered by institutional money managers.

Better Participant Experience

Better funds along with our professional investment management, broad financial education and mobile account tools result in more engaged, better invested, better prepared employees.

Reduced Liability for Plan Sponsor Fiduciaries

We accept delegation – and liability – for investment selection and monitoring under ERISA 3(38).

 

TOP 9 COMMON MISTAKES OF PLAN SPONSORS

The most common mistakes made by well-meaning companies and business owners include a failure to:

  • 1. Establish and follow written investment policies and procedures

  • 2. Understand sponsor fiduciary duties and potential personal liability

  • 3. Apply innovative plan design strategies to achieve employer/employee goals

  • 4. Monitor and replace poor investment options

  • 5. Understand and evaluate plan fees

  • 6. Administer the plan correctly, monitor periodically

  • 7. Identify conflicts of interest

  • 8. Provide employees the retirement tools they need

  • 9. Take action

  • Let’s start the conversation.


Going the extra mile

avatar The retirement-plan business is a competitive one. We deliver an “above-and-beyond” level of service that we believe all businesses should demand.

Joe Walsh heads Alliant Qualified Plans. His passion is working with employers to design and manage innovative 401(k) and 403(b) plans that meet organizational goals and employee needs. Joe’s expertise as a professional retirement plan consultant is backed by 30 years’ experience with money center banks providing clients with 401(k), investment management, pension, custody, and trustee services. This combination makes him a uniquely qualified advocate and partner for Alliant’s clients.

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  • CONFLICT FREE | Your Fiduciary

    CONFLICT FREE | Your Fiduciary

    Objectivity is the hallmark of our services and advice – we’re conflict free today and we’ll continue to be so, just as we’ve always been. As a retirement plan sponsor, you need to have absolute confidence that your provider is impervious to the influences of third-party financial institutions.

  • PEOPLE | Commitment to You, Your Employees

    PEOPLE | Commitment to You, Your Employees

    The ability of many Americans to retire has been questioned by the news media and government leaders, as well as individuals. It is with those concerns in mind that Alliant has developed a slate of distinctive retirement plans, each with its own unique set of qualities.

  • OUR BEST | We Do Things Right

    OUR BEST | We Do Things Right

    Beginning with your goals, we help you strategically design both 401(k) and 403(b) plans to benefit your organization and your employees.

  • A LEGACY OF TRUST | Your Needs are Important to Us

    A LEGACY OF TRUST | Your Needs are Important to Us

    For more than a quarter of a century, Alliant Wealth Advisors has built a proud tradition of integrity, trust and financial excellence.

Latest News

3(38) in 2021

2021 – there’s never been a better time for retirement plan sponsors to consider hiring an advisor who will accept delegation to serve as their 401(k) plan’s Fiduciary Investment Manager.

Often known as a 3(38) advisor, these professionals bring a high level of investment expertise and fiduciary prudence to the selection and monitoring of 401(k) plan investments. They also remove that responsibility – and the potential liability that accompanies it – from the plan sponsor.

ERISA – the Employee Retirement Income Security Act – requires that plan sponsors offer participants investments that have been expertly selected and regularly monitored. Prudent practices suggest monitoring should occur quarterly. Having the expertise and the time for this fiduciary responsibility is a large task for most plan sponsors.

In 2021, the benefit of hiring a 3(38) advisor increases. Lawsuits against plan sponsors “exploded” in 2020, per a recent article in Investment NewsInvestment selection and monitoring were the focus of most lawsuits, with a recent suit alleging “breach of fiduciary duties related to underperforming investment options.” When fiduciaries are found guilty of such charges, the liability is personal, with plan repayments, fines and penalties that can be levied against the personal assets of plan sponsors.

While ERISA sets a high bar with its “expert” standard, it permits 401(k) sponsors to delegate the responsibility for investment selection and monitoring to a “qualified” professional. Brokers and insurance representatives do not qualify under ERISA’s rules. A “qualified” advisor can be a Registered Investment Advisor or, alternatively, a bank or insurance company that has no conflicts of interest.

Most 3(38)s who are willing to accept delegation from the sponsors of small and mid-size 401(k) plans are Registered Investment Advisors. Sponsors should beware of large recordkeeping companies advertising 3(38) “protection.” This “protection” often involves the sponsor receiving a list of investments that have been reviewed by a Registered Investment Advisor. This type of “protection” does not relieve the plan sponsor of any responsibility. The sponsor still must act “expertly” in reviewing the investment list on a frequent basis.

It’s helpful to understand the difference between a 3(38) advisor and a 3(21) advisor. A 3(38) advisor relieves the plan sponsor of the responsibilities with investment selection and monitoring, as well as the potential liability that accompanies this obligation. A 3(21) advisor is considered a co-fiduciary and assists plan sponsors with decision-making, but the advisor does not relieve the sponsor of the ultimate responsibility or the potential liability for those actions.

In 2021, there are additional reasons to consider hiring a 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager beyond reducing fiduciary risk in an atmosphere rife with 401(k) plan lawsuits.

2020 was a year of investment volatility due to the coronavirus and economic uncertainty. Regulation from the DOL on prudent investment selection for 401(k) plans in the face of growing interest in ESG (environmental, social or governance) funds emphasized the importance of exercising expertise and prudence in choosing plan investments. Unless a plan sponsor understands the history of the markets and prudent investment practices, and regularly and diligently reviews plan investments, hiring a 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager offers the expectation that the plan will provide better investments for participants in addition to reducing the sponsor’s potential liability.

Then there’s the quandary of time. Best practices dictate not only a quarterly review of plan investments but more frequent reviews when markets are volatile. A 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager can save company managers time that can be better devoted to determining how to operate profitably in a business world dramatically changed by COVID-19.

How should a plan sponsor get started? Registered Investment Advisory firms can be located by an online search of “fee only advisors” or by consulting a financial search site, such as the NAPFA Find an Advisor site or the Financial Planning Association Find a Financial Planner site.

Making 2021 the year to hire a 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager for your company 401(k) plan reduces potential personal liability for plan fiduciaries, offers the expectation of better investments, and frees up business managers to develop operations that will lead to success in a changing economy.

This blog is written to help make the lives of plan sponsors easier in the process of meeting legal requirements under ERISA for their defined contribution plans. Please understand that reading this blog should not alone take the place of a one-on-one consultation regarding the needs of your specific plan, and hence cannot be a guarantee against fiduciary breaches.

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