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®


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).



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.


  • 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.

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Best Practice #9: Adopting Available "Trust" Safe Harbors

January 26, 2017—Welcome to the Alliant Best Practices Series for 401(k) Plan Sponsors, in which we offer 10 best-practice essentials for helping plan participants achieve retirement plan success. Here’s the ninth best practice in our series.

Our last post focused on the importance of adopting a fiduciary government program. In this post we’ll talk about ERISA “Trust” safe harbors. Trust safe harbors, unlike the commonly referred to “safe harbor plan” which helps the plan pass administrative testing requirements, are an effective method to mitigate or reduce the potential liability plan sponsors face as Trustees of their plan as they manage plan investments.

As an employer or high-ranking company manager, it is in your interests to understand safe harbor options as your corporate retirement plan grows. Why? Because as your plan grows, so too does the liability for ensuring that the plan is managed in a reasonable and accountable fashion.

The 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager Option

Under this option, responsibility for investment decisions shifts to a delegated “prudent expert,” most commonly a Registered Investment Advisor®, who agrees to become a plan fiduciary with total responsibility for selection and monitoring of plan investment options. A 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager is the only type of investment manager who can remove all investment liability from the plan sponsor. Since it requires a high degree of sophistication and accountability, many financial firms are unable or unwilling to act in this capacity. For example, under ERISA a broker-dealer cannot act as a 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager, and only rarely will insurance companies or banks do so.

It is important to remember that a 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager does not absolve the plan sponsor of all liability. The plan sponsor still bears the responsibility of monitoring the activities of the 3(38) Fiduciary Investment Manager to ensure that they are performing their duties properly. Plan sponsors must also be able to demonstrate that the “prudent expert” was selected via a reasonable “due diligence process.”. Lastly, be sure that any advisor claiming to offer 3(38) services accepts their responsibility in writing and clearly states they will provide “discretionary” investment management.

The 404(c) Participant-Directed Safe Harbor

Most 401(k) plans are self-directed. In such a plan, participants themselves make their own investment decisions. Absent compliance with ERISA Code Section 404(c) plan sponsors can be held responsible for poor investment decisions made by their plan participants. 404(c) absolves the plan sponsor of all participant investment decisions. Compliance with 404(c) requires disclosure to participants that the sponsor is not responsible for participant investment decisions and intends to afford itself of the fiduciary relief found in 404(c). The sponsor must provide a broad range of investments options for the participant to choose from, allow, at a minimum, quarterly investment election changes, and provide sufficient information to participants to help them make informed investment decisions.

The 404(c)5 Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) Safe Harbor

The QDIA protects employers from liability if contributions are made to the plan absent investment direction from an employee. All plans have a “default” investment option. If the investment option meets the qualifications laid out by 404(c)(5) it becomes qualified and participants have no recourse should they leave their funds in the QDIA and later do not appreciate the investment outcome. Like 404(c), 404(c)(5) requires participant disclosure, in this case annually.

In Conclusion

There are numerous options for plan sponsors who wish to mitigate their risk by adopting an ERISA “Trust” safe harbor option. There is more to each of these options than can be covered in a blog post, however, and which would require speaking to a 401(k) specialist.

Next up: Utilize Available Technology. Is your plan making the best use of technology? We will discuss this in our next post – stay tuned!

Do you like what you’ve read so far in our Best Practice Series for 401(k) Plan Sponsors? We also offer a complimentary presentation to further explore these best practices with you and other key retirement-plan decision-makers at your company. Please contact us to learn more.

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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