The largest record keeper is creating some confusion by forcing fiduciary status at a point in time, specifically the initial fund recommendation, but then leaving with plan sponsor with responsibility for ongoing monitoring.
"It kind of seems to muddy the water in terms of what's a conflict of interest, and that's what the whole regulation was trying to get to the bottom of," said Chad Larsen, president and CEO of MRP, a registered investment adviser with more than $3 billion in retirement plan assets. Some record keepers, such as Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust offer plan-level fiduciary services, too. But Wells doesn't offer proprietary funds, for example. "It is not surprising to me that varying levels of compliance efforts are materializing among providers in the market," said Andrew Oringer, co-chair of the employee benefits and executive compensation group at Dechert, a law firm.