Fiduciary Responsibility


When an individual is a fiduciary, they take on certain legal responsibilities. In 401(k) terms, a fiduciary is someone who is responsible for making decisions about, or manages, an employer-sponsored retirement plan and its assets. Being a fiduciary means that you have to make decisions that are in the best interests of your employees. And you may be personally liable if the decisions you make are not clearly in their best interests.


If you’re one of the people responsible for managing your company’s 401(k) plan, then you understand that 401(k) decisions need to be fair for your employees—both in terms of the plan’s benefits and the fees that you’re paying.

Knowing all the ins and outs of selecting, monitoring and updating the fund lineup can be time consuming, confusing or perhaps overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. One of the best ways to get help and protect yourself is to hire an experienced investment manager who can take on some or all of the responsibility and liability for making critical decisions about the funds available in the plan.

Download Our Fiduciary Responsibility Checklist



Fisher Investments is a 3(38) Investment Manager and this quick chart is intended to contrast the primary responsibilities of a 3(21) Investment Adviser vs. a 3(38) Investment Manager and other financial advisers and is not a comprehensive listing. This chart represents how an adviser or investment manager will provide fiduciary services to the plan, not to individual participants.

Know who offers fiduciary support and who doesn’t

You have a lot of options to consider when choosing 401(k) partners. Here is a break down of the different types of 401(k) advisers you can work with. If your adviser is a 3(38) Investment Manager, you’ll see that in writing in your contract as required under ERISA.

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FISHER INVESTMENTS, A 3(38) Investment Manager

As ERISA laws permit, you can authorize a designated 3(38) Investment Manager to assume your primary responsibility and liability for selecting, monitoring, and updating the investment options available to you and your employees. Your duty as the decision maker for your 401(k) plan is to select the right Investment Manager for your business.

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A 3(21) Investment Adviser shares some of your legal liability by acting as a co-fiduciary, meaning they’ll recommend investment options and share your risk.

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Other financial advisers may choose to only provide education but not 401(k) plan recommendations or advice.

How to Limit Your Risk as a 401(k) Plan Manager

We will reduce your legal liability and regulatory risk. Fisher Investments serves as an Investment Manager under Section 3(38) of ERISA, which allows you to delegate your responsibility of designating a menu of investments for participants. You monitor us and the reasonableness of our fees, and we select, monitor and update the plan’s investments. With Fisher as your partner, you can be confident that you have the support needed to manage your plan in your employees’ best interest, and help them achieve the retirement they deserve.

Fisher 401(k) is a small business fiduciary

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About Fisher Investments 401k
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Fisher Investments 401(k) Solutions is committed to bringing unparalleled support to small and mid-size businesses and their employees through 401(k) retirement plan services.

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5525 NW Fisher Creek Drive Camas, WA 98607


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© 2019 Fisher Investments. Fisher Investments 401(k) Solutions offers fiduciary and consulting services, including participant education, to company-sponsored 401(k) plans. Investing in securities involves the risk of loss. Glossary | Privacy | Sitemap