Record Retention: What To Keep and For How Long
What’s the Magic Number When it Comes to Record Retention?
You don’t need to be a magician to know what records to keep and for how long. While most providers can supply reports and plan documents, the plan administrator remains ultimately responsible for retaining adequate records that support the plan document reports and filings.
Refer to the chart below to know which documents you need to keep in case of a plan audit.
|Documentation||Retention Requirement for Audit Purposes1|
|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, and 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|
Organization of Your Fiduciary File
When organizing your fiduciary file, we recommend a format that includes the following sections:
- Documents – all plan documents, amendments, tax filings, etc.
- Administrative – all audit results contribution records, Fiduciary Plan Review meeting minutes, fee benchmarkings, participant complaints
- Participant Education – copies of enrollment materials, memos, meeting sign-in sheets
- Investments – fund menu list with expenses, Fiduciary Investment Review meeting minutes
1 For litigation purposes, we recommend that documents be retained indefinitely.
Source: RPAG – Retirement Plan Advisory Group
Investment advisory services offered through Global Retirement Partners, LLC, dba M3 Financial, an SEC registered investment advisor.