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Third-Party Administration Services

One component often overlooked when companies provide a retirement plan for their employees is the need for a Third Party Administration (TPA).  TPA services include


  • Annual compliance testing
  • Preparing the annual plan valuation
  • The annual completion and filing of Form 5500
What is retirement planning?

Often times TPA services are provided in conjunction with the services provided by Plan’s recordkeeper in an approach known within the industry as “bundled”.  When an independent TPA is engaged, the plan is considered “unbundled”.  Typically in a bundled environment the recordkeeping fee is higher than with an unbundled approach. 

While Planmark offers full-service TPA capabilities, we are not always both the advisor and TPA for a Plan as we do work with bundled plans in the advisory capacity only.   Analyzing the pros and cons of “bundled versus unbundled” is an important service we provide.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does my Plan need both an advisor and a TPA?
    The role of the advisor and TPA are separate and distinct. • The advisor focuses on fiduciary management issues, investment selection and monitoring, the participant experience (including enrollment and education) and vendor management. • The TPA is the plan’s technician and assists the plan sponsor in operating the plan per the provisions of the plan document and handles regulatory issues for the plan. Making sure the plan complies with the ERISA guidelines is an important function of the TPA.
  • Can the TPA be a fiduciary to the Plan?
    • Under section 3(16), the Plan sponsor can engage a TPA who shares fiduciary responsibility with the plan trustees fo the administrative work of the Plan
  • What are the advantages of “unbundled” approach?

    • More than likely your TPA services will be provided at the local level which provides for a “personal” versus “transactional” service model. • Communication between the advisor and TPA is typically superior with this approach, especially if it is the same firm. • Transparency of pricing for TPA services is often better in this environment.

Talk to a Professional

Contact Planmark today to learn about our TPA 401(k) services. We are here to answer questions, talk about your goals and help you enhance your employee benefits package.

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