Who is BFF®?

BFF® or Benefits Functional Fiduciaries, Inc. is a full-service ERISA 3(16) fiduciary administration provider that specializes in offering a low-cost, high-service 401(k) plan administration solution for businesses of all sizes. BFF® will manage your 401(k) plan for you, so you can focus on running your business. You can learn more about how it works here.

How is BFF® different?

The 401(k) retirement plan model is broken and we’re partnering with like-minded financial advisors to fix it. Nobody reduces 401(k) costs, fiduciary risks, and the work required of the plan sponsor like we do. Unlike having your employees doing the majority of the plan administration, BFF® appoints professional fiduciaries to sign and act in the primary fiduciary roles for you. This allows you to focus on running your business while we take on the fiduciary risk and administrative minutiae of running your 401(k) plan. Less cost, less risk, less work…period! Learn more here.

What are the Top 5 reasons to hire BFF®?

  1. BFF® Will Minimize Plan Sponsor Risk: BFF® will serve as a co-fiduciary on your plan and shoulder the majority of the regulatory obligations and administrative requirements for your plan. BFF® reduces personal liability for plan sponsors by making sure the plan is properly administered.
  2. BFF® Can Save You Time and Money: BFF® will relieve you of the responsibility of administering your plan so you can focus on managing and growing your business. We can also reduce and minimize employee time spent on unproductive and time-consuming plan administrative tasks so they can also focus on more important things.
  3. BFF® Reduces Paperwork: BFF® will handle the day-to-day administrative duties and manage the paperwork so you don’t have to. With our Fiduciary Statement of Plan Management® or FSPM® we also provide you with one simple annual report that will document that you have met your fiduciary obligations each and every year.
  4. BFF® Provides Flexibility: You select the level of BFF® service that meets your needs. Plus, you always maintain the option of determining how our fees are paid as they can be covered either through the plan or paid directly by the plan sponsor. It’s up to you.
  5. BFF® Provides Peace-of-Mind: BFF® will keep your plan compliant and give you the confidence of knowing that your plan administration responsibilities are covered by a professional fiduciary-level 401(k) plan administrator. If there ever is an administrative problem, you will have BFF® standing next to you and our fiduciary liability insurance protecting your plan.

What is a Fiduciary?

The law governing 401(k) plans (ERISA or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) defines a fiduciary as anyone who:

  • Exercises any discretionary authority or control over the management of the plan or its assets.
  • Has any discretionary authority or responsibility in the administration of the plan.
  • Renders investment advice for a fee or other compensation, with respect to any moneys or other property of the plan, or has any authority or responsibility to do so.

The primary fiduciary roles on a typical 401(k) plan includes the 3(16) Plan Administrator, 3(21) Named Fiduciary, 3(38) Investment Manager, Plan Sponsor, Trustee, and a Financial Advisor. To learn more about how BFF® helps takes on the administrative fiduciary risk and work for you, click here.

How much does BFF® services cost?

Our primary goal is to increase the quality of 401(k) plan administration while lowering total plan costs incurred by the plan sponsor. For the vast majority of 401(k) plans the plan sponsor is required to have their own employees administer the plan as the fiduciary administrator and these costs are rarely factored into the conversation on total 401(k) plan costs. Yet every business owner knows that these employee costs are real and can significantly increase the total “actual” plan costs if they were factored into the calculations. Many “old school” retirement plan advisors will show you a “total” cost, including significant fees for themselves, and yet fail to mention that most of the “fiduciary level” 401(k) plan administration is left on the plan sponsor’s shoulders. Our goal at BFF® is to reduce the total “actual” costs of running a 401(k) for plan sponsors, reduce the fiduciary risk for plan sponsors and to provide professional plan administration.

The fees for our 401(k) fiduciary administrative services are made up of an annual base fee, a per-participant fee, and other per-occurrence fees which depend on your plan size, number of participants and the services provided by BFF®. For more information on pricing or a custom quote, click here.

How much does the BFF® services cost the employer?

A BFF® administered 401(k) plan can be setup so the employer pays $0 in ongoing plan costs. Because our 401(k) plan administrative costs are comparatively low, we have a number of larger plan sponsors that are comfortable passing all BFF® plan administrative costs on to the participating employees. However, in some cases, the company has elected to pay the plan administrative fees as well as the annual FSPM® fee. Almost every fee in the BFF® service model is flexible in terms of who can pay it. Some companies elect to pay more fees for employees while others elect to pay less. You choose!

Does BFF® have any termination fees?

Nope. BFF® has no termination fees. We think you should be able to come and leave as you please because we’re confident that our 401(k) fiduciary administrative service model will keep you around for a very long time.

Does custom plan design cost extra?

It shouldn’t. We don’t believe in the “bait and switch” approach that many 401(k) service providers use. We will evaluate your current plan design and then typically leverage your existing service providers in order to complete a custom 401(k) plan design call for every one of our clients so we can help you tailor every plan feature to your specific goals and needs. This includes custom matching, Safe Harbor plans, profit sharing, vesting schedules, eligibility, Roth contributions, loan provisions, and more.

Do new comparability and cross-tested plans cost extra?

Of course not. These features and services are just variations of plan design and are included in your annual plan administrative costs and will never cost you extra.
Of course not. These features and services just variations of plan design and are included in your annual plan administrative costs and will never cost you extra.

How does BFF® help with my annual 5500 filing?

This depends on the BFF® service level you have chosen and your other service providers. As your 3(16) fiduciary administrator we will ensure your 401(k) plan’s 5500 is prepared on time, we also will review it, sign it, and make sure it is filed with the IRS. Yep. We will take care of this for you. No more signing your name on a tax document you didn’t prepare and you might not understand. This helps take work off your plate and more importantly, eliminates significant fiduciary risk in the case of a DOL, IRS, or EBSA audit.

Will I have a dedicated BFF® plan contact?

Yes. You will have a dedicated 401(k) plan contact at BFF® for any questions that arise. Your BFF® plan contact will work with all of the service providers on your 401(k) plan to find answers to your questions and solutions to any issues that may arise.

Is there a toll-free number for participant questions?

Yep. Here it is: 844-849-5BFF (5233).

Does BFF® run enrollment meetings?

Of course. We can do that too. If you’re 401(k) plan doesn’t have a financial advisor or a record keeper to come run your enrollment meeting, we’ll do it for you. We typically do a pre-recorded webinar or a live webinar, but we can also arrange for live enrollment meetings depending on plan size and company location if needed.

How long does it take BFF® to begin administering an existing plan?

We can setup and takeover the administration of an existing 401(k) plan in as quick as 7-15 days depending on how fast the client can get us the information we need. However, under certain circumstances, there may be a required 30-day notice that must go out to employees which might extend the time frame to about 45 days. But don’t worry, during that time you’ll likely only have to do about 60 minutes of work or less since we do most of the heavy lifting for you.

What size companies does BFF® work with?

BFF® works with employers of all sizes. We can administer 401(k) plans ranging from 1 employee to 5,000 employees, and from $0 to $500MM in plan assets. Our typical retirement plan client has 50+ employees and $5MM+ in plan assets but our solution works great and adds value for just about anyone. We have no minimum size requirements to administer a 401(k) plan.

Can BFF® work with my existing financial advisor?

Absolutely! Financial advisors love working with us to improve the administration of their 401(k) plans and lower fiduciary risk for their plan sponsors and we’re happy to keep them on the plan if that’s your preference. A BFF® administered 401(k) plan can run with your current advisor, without an advisor, or we can even help you find a new advisor who will provide value for your 401(k) plan and the participants. Learn more about how we work with advisors here.

Is BFF® insured?

Of course we are. As a professional 401(k) plan administrator we carry fiduciary liability insurance covering each and every 401(k) plan we service. Additionally, we can often provide our Plan Sponsor’s with either an ERISA Bond and/or their own Fiduciary Liability Insurance at a significant discount to the cost you would typically pay to obtain coverage on your own.

Can we use BFF® services for multiple company plans?

You sure can. We do this for a small number our clients that have multiple employee benefit plans like other retirement plans, health insurance, and other group insurance coverages in addition to their 401(k) plan. In our setup process, we’ll help you determine the most efficient structure for pricing and operating multiple plans for you depending on your specific circumstances.

Does BFF® accept revenue sharing or indirect compensation?

No way! Indirect asset-based compensation almost always creates a conflict of interest so we don’t believe any plan service provider should receive it. It is our belief that if you have an investment option in your 401(k) plan that has revenue sharing, that money should go straight back to the plan and/or its participants! As the plan sponsor, you should know and easily understand all fees that are paid to financial advisors and other service providers on your 401(k) plan without having to interpret a complicated fee disclosure. If you don’t know how much you are actually paying on your 401(k) plan and want to learn more about how we can help you lower the fees you are paying click here.