Access to Nationally Recognized ERISA Counsel
Given the dynamic aspects of our advisor partners' practices, having access to the very best nationally recognized ERISA counsel to provide legal tutelage and guid- ance instills real value. The need for such a resource starts with the fundamentals of the advisor service provider disclosure agreements. Beyond the legality of the disclosures, describing the services correctly is the lynchpin of fiduciary boundaries not only for the advisor but the Plan Sponsor as well.
This need morphs into the actual practice deliverables and service model as well. Having access to these exemplary ERISA firms will assist with analysis of our advisor partners' practices with regard to such specific issues as: understanding the fiduciary definitions and boundaries of the broker model; governance recommen- dations versus advice; prohibited transactions that may stem from compensation as a RIA; and participant education versus advice with the proper audit certifications of Section 408(b)(14) fee leveling requirement or utilization of a certified computer model. From the Plan Sponsor's perspective, gaining clarity with regard to com- plex fiduciary issues such as Functional Fiduciary definitions would be perceived by the Plan Sponsor as very valuable. This access can be utilized in a holistic fashion. We have developed a dynamic model that offers advisors and Plan Sponsors both immediate access when necessary, as well as an ongoing informational structure and capacity. Immediate services may include service agreement reviews, email access for random questions or concerns, and scheduled conference calls for more specific substantive issues. Ongoing informational access would be topical webinar subjects and blog access.
APG understands the importance of all these issues to our advisor partners. We are part of the resolution team with the Plan Sponsors and ERISA attorneys who help resolve these problems. This has enabled us to evaluate on a due diligence basis a proper vetting process to determine which firms resolve matters quickly and efficiently. This experience and process gives APG insight regarding an ERISA firm's resources, cost structure, practical and pragmatic application to complex issues and concentration of specific expertise. This is taken even to a granular qualitative profile of "chemistry and fit" between all parties. This exhaustive level of review produces truly a best in class match for our advisor partners and Plan Sponsors. As we know in the ERISA world, this expertise carries a significant cost. Due to our vast ARCC network, the access cost has been negotiated and substantially reduced, producing additional value for our advisor partners.