Broadridge offers three new firm-level certifications for:

Pooled Plan Services

This certification type is for nonfiduciary recordkeepers and contract administrators (i.e., third party administrators or TPAs) to evaluate the readiness of their compliance infrastructure to support compliance with substantially all operational requirements under ERISA and the Code.

Pooled Plan Service Provider Certification Mark

Operational Plan Fiduciary Services

The scope of this certification type includes Pooled Plan Providers (PPPs), 3(16) Plan Administrators, ERISA Section 402(a) Named Fiduciaries, and other operational fiduciaries under ERISA Section 3(21)(a)(iii).

Pooled Plan

This is for the certification of the Pooled Plan itself. The scope includes the certification of the individual components of a Pooled Plan, including:

  • Recordkeeper;
  • TPA;
  • Investment Advisor or Manager;
  • Operational Plan Fiduciary, if applicable;

Certification Mark for Pooled Plans and Operational Plan Fiduciary Service Providers

Also, our existing Investment Advisor and Steward certifications have optional scope enhancements to address their roles in Pooled Plans.

Why is Certification Important for Service Providers?

Employers are not equipped to evaluate hundreds of compliance duties. The U.S. retirement system has historically placed broad, unspecified compliance burdens on employers. Vendor contracts tend to provide finite lists of services and assume employers have comprehensive knowledge of the unspecified duties that remain theirs, and how to fulfill those duties, yet this is rarely the case. Service provider certification provides an objective mechanism for employers to evaluate service arrangements.

Meeting the "substantially all" compliance standard. The certification program identifies service providers with systems and procedures that provide an effective mechanism for fiduciaries to comply with substantially all operational requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code ("Code"). The "substantially all" standard was created under the SECURE Act in 2019 to describe the responsibilities of pooled plan providers but serves as a proxy for evaluating comprehensive compliance in any service arrangement.

A Proving Ground for Pooled Plans and Their Fiduciaries. Broadridge Fi360 Solutions has developed a new CEFEX Standard for Operational Fiduciary Services in Pooled Plans ("CEFEX Operational Fiduciary Standard") in response to the Secure Act and the growth of Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs). The Standard applies to all group retirement programs, including:

  • PEPs and other MEPs (Multiple Employer Plans), association retirement plans (ARPs), PEO MEPs, and "corporate" MEPs
  • Non-MEP group structures such as "groups of plans" (GoPs, also known as Defined Contribution Groups or DCGs), "exchanges", group trusts, and other non-MEP service bundles.
  • Pooled plan fiduciaries. Because the Standard is closely tied to fiduciary requirements for plan administrators as defined by ERISA Section 3(16)(A) ("3(16) administrators"), it also serves to certify 3(16) administrators, ERISA Section 402(a) named fiduciaries, and pooled plan providers (PPPs).

Why Get Certified Now?

CEFEX certification helps employers manage the dual burdens of knowing what must be done and understanding how it gets done. The statutory language describing the PPP role (i.e., that PPPs are responsible for "substantially all" obligations under ERISA and the Code) provides a reference point for all ERISA fiduciaries. Our certification is especially useful in light of:

  • The U.S. retirement industry's historic practice of placing duties on employers
  • The confusing variety of available service arrangements, which accept widely varying levels of responsibility
  • The proliferation of retirement solutions that allow service providers to accept less responsibility than the PPP of a PEP.