Operational Review



The best designed plan can fail to meet the needs of your employees if it is not managed effectively. Cowden Associates, Inc. can perform a complete operational review of all aspects of a defined contribution plan to determine if plan designs are efficient and meet the objectives of the plan sponsor. Executing a rigorous assessment of the 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan’s administration, we answer questions like:

  • Do operations follow the plan provisions?
  • Are plan documents, enrollment forms, SPDs, and other communication materials current and clear?
  • Are the plans in compliance with all required testing and reporting?
  • Has the plan sponsor optimized all available pathways to accomplish their objectives?

Operational Review: Sample Tasks

  • Review of the current vendor’s administrative, recordkeeping and trust services.
  • Analysis of the current service and support structure of 401(k) vendor, including compliance testing.
  • Review of the plan document to determine if design changes are warranted in:
    • Safe Harbor Requirements
    • Automatic Enrollment
    • Alternative Matching
    • Hardship Provisions
    • Loan Features, etc.
  • Review of the quality and effectiveness of employee communications and investment education.
  • Analysis of the capability and usability of the vendor website and voice response unit from participants and plan sponsor perspective.
  • Review of the vendor technology platform and backup/disaster systems.