Fiduciary Service Options

Administrative Tasks


3(16) 401(k) Admin AdvantageSM

As a co-fiduciary, we take responsibility for distributing required participant notices and transaction processing based on your choice of package.

Investment Oversight


ERISA 3(21) Services

Mesirow Financial recommends investment options but you work with your advisor to make the final investment decision.


ERISA 3(38) Services

Mesirow Financial selects and monitors investments and assumes legal responsibility, which indemnifies you from litigation.

Minimizing Your Fiduciary Risk

Our due-diligence process, backed by the experience of third-party consultants, can help provide a platform to make informed decisions regarding your plan.

Why do you need these services?

Helping your employees save for retirement comes with both risks and rewards. As a fiduciary of your 401(k) retirement savings plan, you are faced with some complex responsibilities for administering the plan and selecting and monitoring both investments and service providers that are critical to your plan’s success. Unless you’re a retirement plan expert, this can be a challenging task that could cause unnecessary exposure to fiduciary risk and personal liability.

Fiduciaries who breach their responsibilities may be personally liable to the plan for any losses resulting from the breach, as well as any profits made through use of plan assets. A breach could mean private legal action or an audit by the DOL that could result in fines and penalties. Serious violations can also result in criminal penalties.

What is ERISA?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)* is a federal law that sets standards of protection for individuals in retirement plans. The law places special responsibilities on those people/entities that handle assets of, make decisions for and administer qualified retirement plans – known as fiduciaries.

ERISA is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL describes the ERISA fiduciary obligations as those “highest known to law.” So those who deal with qualified plans should know which kind of decisions involve ERISA’s fiduciary responsibilities, and the nature of those responsibilities.

*ERISA does not apply to government or church plans.

Who is an ERISA fiduciary?

ERISA fiduciaries can be broken down into two categories – named fiduciaries and discretionary fiduciaries. Fiduciaries can be either people or entities. The named fiduciary has ultimate responsibility for decisions impacting plan administration. A person is a discretionary fiduciary based on the person’s authority or control over the plan.

What is fiduciary responsibility?

ERISA identifies four core fiduciary responsibilities:

  1. Act solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries and for their exclusive benefit
  2. Act prudently
  3. Diversify plan investments
  4. Follow the plan documents and the law

401(k) Admin Advantage Overview

Under ERISA section 3(16), you have certain fiduciary obligations for administering your plan. A Department of Labor review of your plan could lead to fines or penalties if these responsibilities are not completed or done correctly.

Our 401(k) Admin Advantage services can simplify your plan’s day-to-day demands. We’ll serve as a co-fiduciary for administrative requirements to help you mitigate plan risks and personal liability. You choose the level of services that are right for you and your plan:

Participant Notice Distribution

We directly deliver to your employees regulatory notices mandated by the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service.

  • Participant Statements
  • Participant Fee Disclosures
  • Blackout Notice
  • Safe Harbor Notice
  • Automatic Contribution Arrangement (ACA)
  • Qualified Automatic Contribution Arrangement (QACA)
  • Eligible Automatic Contribution Arrangement (EACA)
  • Summary Plan Description (SPD)
  • Summary Annual Report (SAR)
  • Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA)
  • Eligibility Notices
  • Missing Participant Management

Transaction Processing*

We’ll accept responsibility for day-to-day administrative duties related to reviewing participant requests, while also approving and processing transactions. Services included are:

  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMD)
  • Death Benefit Distributions
  • Termination Packets Sent to Participant Homes
  • Involuntary Force-out Distributions
  • Hardship Withdrawals
  • Separation from Service Distributions
  • Loan Processing
  • In-Service Withdrawals
  • Management of Unclaimed Checks
  • Hardship Suspension Monitoring
  • Loan Default Monitoring

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) review and enrollment book delivery services are also available. Additional fees apply.

*Transaction processing services are available for Mutual of Omaha Retirement Services full-service clients. If you work with a TPA, discuss your transaction processing needs with your TPA representative.

Why choose 401(k) Admin AdvantageSM?

Help mitigate your risk

We'll serve as a co-fiduciary for administrative requirements to help you mitigate plan risks and personal liability.

Reduce paperwork

Your day-to-day administrative duties are simplified, including participant notice distribution and transaction processing.

Save time

You can focus on managing your business while we handle your plan’s administration.

Provide flexibility

You select the level of service that meets your needs. Plus, we offer electronic or print delivery of notices based on what works best for your plan.

Gain peace of mind

You’ll receive help to avoid putting your plan at risk and will have confidence knowing your plan administration responsibilities are covered.

How is 401(k) Admin Advantage better?

Unlike many other traditional retirement plan providers, our 401(k) Admin Advantage offers:

  • Delivery of required notices in a timely manner (participant fee disclosures, QDIA notices and safe harbor notices, etc.)
  • Management of unclaimed checks for terminated employees
  • Historical records maintenance
  • Transaction processing and approval (i.e., loans, hardships and withdrawals)

Mesirow Financial Fiduciary Partnership Program

As fiduciaries, employers are faced with certain complex responsibilities including investment selection and monitoring.

Through the Mesirow Financial “Fiduciary Partnership Program,” advisors and plan sponsors may select from two fiduciary service options. In both service options, Mesirow Financial combines a quantitative review with qualitative analysis to produce a thorough and documented due diligence process.

3(21) Co-Fiduciary Service

For its 3(21) co-fiduciary service, Mesirow Financial constructs lists of selected funds designed to help employers match their plan’s investment options to their employee characteristics. These lists vary in complexity and number of investment options and offer a choice of five QDIA options. Advisors and plan sponsors also may select from the Master Elite List, a list which includes all the funds in the 3(21) co-fiduciary service, to construct a plan's custom line-up.

3(38) Investment Manager Service

Under the 3(38) investment manager service, Mesirow Financial is delegated all investment authority on behalf of the plan. Instead of selecting from lists of funds, Mesirow Financial refers to investment guidelines based on the level of asset class sophistication and employee demographics.

Although they can be included as an investment option, brokerage windows, individually managed accounts and company stock are not covered under the 3(38) service since Mesirow Financial is acting as the discretionary investment manager. An additional fee applies for the 3(38) service option.

Mesirow Financial accepts responsibility through an Investment Manager Agreement signed by the plan sponsor and Mesirow Financial. Coverage extends to both the plan sponsor and advisor.