|“What records should I keep? How long should I keep them? How should I organize my files?” |
Advisors have been asked these questions time and time again by plan sponsors looking for a general guideline for record expiration dates.
Record retention doesn’t need to be a mystery, and
|Documentation||Retention Requirement for Audit Purposes|
|Plan Documents (including Basic Plan Document, Adoption Agreement, Amendments, Summary Plan Descriptions, and Summary of Material Modifications)||At least six years following plan termination|
|Annual Filings (including 5500, Summary Annual Reports, plan audits, distribution records and supporting materials for contributions and testing)||At least six years|
|Participant Records (including enrollment, beneficiary, and distribution forms; QDROs)||At least six years after the participant’s termination|
|Loan Records||At least six years after the loan is paid off|
|Retirement / Investment Committee meeting materials and notes||At least six years following plan termination|
*For litigation purposes, we recommend that documents be retained indefinitely.
|As for organizing your fiduciary file, we suggest a format that includes the following sections: |
3. Participant Communication containing copies of enrollment materials,
4. Investments with a listing of fund menu with expenses, Fiduciary Investment Review meeting minutes.
If a participant, auditor, or DOL agent requested plan information, could you find it quickly? The key is twofold: keep the things you need and store them so you can find them easily.
Of course, these are only general guidelines. For questionsabout your specific case, contact your plan advisor to discuss best practices for keeping records.