401(k) Plan Sponsor Guidance

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Learn how COVID-19 impacts the role of the Plan Sponsor through ABD’s Retirement Services reference guide.

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted communities, organization, and individuals throughout the world. Volatility continues to permeate the domestic and international markets as local, state, and the federal governments implement containment strategies and relief measures.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 established the role of the Fiduciary to the stewardship of employer sponsored retirement plans. As Fiduciaries, Plan Sponsors are required act solely in the interest of plan participants including, but not limited to, providing a diverse array of investment options, following a set process to review the plan investments, fees, and documenting their actions.

Plan Sponsors should consider the following as we navigate these unprecedented times:


Ensure participants have access to information on the following:

  • Where to access their 401(k) vendor website, mobile app, direct phone number
  • Where to find information on their plan’s investment offeringsperformance & fees
  • How to change their contribution rate
  • How to access their money in the event of financial hardshiploan or hardship withdrawal
  • Consult an additional professional (e.g. tax advisor, financial planner) to determine if adjustments to their 401(k) are the right course of action


  • Perform regularly scheduled 401(k) Committee Meetings
  • Follow the Investment Policy Statement
  • Concentrate on relative performance measures vs. absolute returns (e.g. peer performance, expense, etc.)
  • Review performance in relation to current market environment, emphasis on long-term performance


Consider administrative processes to ensure the highest level of flexibility for participants with respect to:

  • Changing contribution rates
  • Initiating a loan
  • Requesting a hardship withdrawal

Company Expense & Cash Flow

If there are cash flow or expense concerns, consider the following:

  • Fund your employer match at year end and/or change match to discretionary
  • Review plan fee structure for potential changes

The information provided is not “investment advice” as defined by ERISA. This material is not intended to be a recommendation or investment advice, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities, and is not provided in a fiduciary capacity. The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives or circumstances or any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made based on an investor’s objectives and circumstances and in consultation with his or her advisors.

ABD Retirement Services, Member FINRA/SIPC. ABD Retirement Services is a registered investment advisor. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any specific level of skill or training and does not constitute an endorsement of the Firm by the Commission. ABD Retirement Services does not provide legal, accounting or tax advice 

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