This module focuses on the issues that companies need to address when designing their qualified plans-what they must do in order to adopt, administer, and operate their plans in an ERISA-compliant manner; and how plans can be amended and terminated. The role and fiduciary obligations of the Plan Administrator is covered in detail including record-keeping, expense monitoring, discrimination testing, and disclosure requirements. Common pitfalls that can occur with both defined contribution and defined benefit plans is addressed, along with how to correct operational failures through the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), which includes the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP).

6–1 Describe characteristics and major tasks of plan administration.
6–2 Analyze a plan’s operations to determine its compliance with IRC qualification requirements.
6–3 Identify common compliance errors and evaluate methods for resolving plan defects and the resulting penalties.
6–4 Analyze an employer’s situation and recommend an appropriate approach to plan termination.

About the Author

Kristen MacKenzie, MBA, CFP®, CRPC® is an associate professor at the College for Financial Planning. Kristen has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, both as an active financial planner and as a provider of financial education. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in economics and later received her MBA at the University of Colorado. You can contact Kristen at

Complexity Level: Intermediate