Last month, we outlined the employer's fiduciary responsibility for group health and welfare plans. This month, I will devote some time to telling a true story from earlier this year about fiduciary liability for retirement plans.

My business had an account with retirement plans. Both plans were CODAs. We performed an audit of the plans back in April. Employee contributions were withheld from employees' checks but not invested immediately, as the plan document required. What we found were checks sitting on an HR person's desk for as long as 45 days after they were initially withheld from plan participants' checks. Thus, the employer was not depositing the employee and employer contributions according to their asset allocations on a timely basis. These lapses in making timely deposits of plan participant money and employer contributions went on for at least two years. Suffice to say, it was a mess.

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