The Pros and Cons of TPAs Being a 3(16) Fiduciary Administrator

The Principal hosts ERISA 3(16) webcast for third party administrators

April 24, 2014- DES MOINES, Iowa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The question on the minds of many third party administrators (TPAs) these days is whether to take on full legal responsibility for administrating employer sponsored retirement plans, in other words, providing ERISA 3(16) plan administrator fiduciary services.

To help TPAs sort out the pros and cons, the Principal Financial Group® is hosting a free webcast, Legal Analysis and Considerations for 3(16) Administrators” on Tuesday, April 29. 11 a.m. CDT. Nationally known ERISA attorney, Fred Reish, will discuss nuances of the law, provide examples of plan administrator duties, and delve into the benefits and pitfalls of becoming a fiduciary plan administrator.

The burden of fiduciary

“We know from our TPA Council and annual TPA Sales Academy, that many are weighing whether to take on the significant responsibility as a fiduciary for administrating their clients’ retirement plans,” said Tom Smith, vice president of retirement and investor services at The Principal. “As part of our ongoing commitment to TPAs, we are making this webcast available at no charge to help them do a risk-benefit analysis of taking on this responsibility.”

The webcast will also be of help to TPAs who are currently offering ERISA 3(16) service. Reish, of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, will discuss:

  • How to interpret the law
  • Key examples of plan administrator duties
  • Potential fiduciary issues
  • Benefits and downfalls of becoming a 3(16) fiduciary plan administrator

TPAs can register online.

The webcast is the latest offering from The Principal TPA EdgeSM program of services and tools designed specifically to help TPAs develop and manage their businesses. The program that includes:

  • 3(16) administrative services support
  • State-of-the-art technology and services that help simplify processes and allow TPAs to operate efficiently so they can focus on growing their business
  • TPA relationship managers and directors of business development who provide training and help TPA firms develop their businesses
  • Dedicated administration team with an average of more than 11 years of experience who are committed specifically to TPAs1
  • Total retirement solutions available for TPA-administered plans for both profit and non-profit organizations including defined benefit, defined contribution – such as 401(k) and 403(b), nonqualified and employee stock ownership plans (ESOP)
  • A robust investment platform offering multiple investment managers with the security of a comprehensive fiduciary support program
  • Strong local presence in more than 44 cities across the United States with local personnel and services dedicated to TPAs, financial professionals and plan sponsors2
... many are weighing whether to take on the significant responsibility as a fiduciary for administrating their clients’ retirement plans




About the Principal Financial Group
The Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®)3 is a global investment management leader offering retirement services, insurance solutions and asset management. The Principal offers businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance through its diverse family of financial services companies. Founded in 1879 and a member of the FORTUNE 500®, the Principal Financial Group has $483.2 billion in assets under management4 and serves some 19.4 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more information, visit

1 As of June 30, 2011.
2 Retirement Resources, Inc. 401(k) Vendor Profile, June 2010.
3 “The Principal Financial Group” and “The Principal” are registered service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal Financial Group.
4 As of Dec. 31, 2013.