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Getting Back to Basics: An Overview of Fiduciary Responsibility Under ERISA

Joshua P. Itzoe, CFP®, AIF®

by Matthew D. Hutcheson and Joshua P. Itzoe

Prudent fiduciary decision making is critical to the goal of achieving successful retirement outcomes and delivering meaningful benefits to plan participants. However, fiduciary responsibility under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is often an area of considerable misunderstanding and confusion. To compound this issue, few fiduciaries know who the term applies to, what duties are required or the liability associated with such a monumental responsibility. This article provides a general overview of  fiduciary responsibility under ERISA and outlines several best practices fiduciaries can take to prudently discharge their duties.

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*Reproduced with permission from Benefits & Compensation Digest, Volume 45, Number 8, August 2008, pages 16-21, published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (www.ifebp.org), Brookfield, Wis. Statements or opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of the International Foundation, its officers, directors, or staff. No further transmission or electronic distribution of this material is permitted. All rights reserved.