Conducting Effective Service Provider RFPs for ERISA Retirement Plans

Crafting Comprehensive Proposals to Meet Fiduciary Duties and to Avoid Litigation and DOL Audits

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Thursday, July 13, 2017
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

This CLE webinar will prepare employee benefits counsel and ERISA plan fiduciaries to conduct more optimal requests for proposals (RFPs) for retirement plan service providers. We will discuss when and how often plan fiduciaries should undertake the RFP process, outline the elements that make up a comprehensive and effective RFP, and offer practice pointers for using the RFP process to meet ERISA fiduciary duties and achieve plan goals.


Companies have important fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA to properly select and monitor the effectiveness of the service providers for their retirement plans and the reasonableness of their fees. Legal counsel and human resources/employee benefits professionals can assist companies in meeting their fiduciary duties on these considerations by conducting periodic RFPs.

Conducting RFPs can be expensive and time consuming, but best practices generally require that plan sponsors engage in an RFP process every few years to satisfy ongoing ERISA fiduciary and monitoring responsibilities. As a result, and because participant lawsuits filed under ERISA and IRS/DOL audits relating to plan service providers have increased significantly in recent years, in-house counsel should be prepared to guide their companies through robust RFP processes.

Listen as our experienced panel prepares employee benefits counsel and ERISA plan fiduciaries to plan for and conduct RFPs for retirement plan service providers. The panel will discuss when plan fiduciaries should undertake the RFP process to meet DOL requirements, outline the elements that make up a comprehensive and effective RFP, and offer practice pointers for using the RFP process to meet fiduciary duties and achieve plan goals.


  1. Overview of ERISA requirements and DOL guidance
  2. Elements of a thorough RFP questionnaire
  3. Interviewing service provider candidates
  4. Documenting the RFP process


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • When and how often should plan fiduciaries undertake the RFP process?
  • What essential questions should be included in the RFP questionnaire?
  • How can my company obtain enhanced contractual provisions in the agreements with our service providers?


W. Andrew Douglass, Shareholder, Employee Benefits Practice Group Chair
Polsinelli, Chicago

Mr. Douglass regularly counsels both public and private companies on their qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and other benefit arrangements. In particular, Mr. Douglass has extensive experience helping employers in matters relating to plan design and administration, fiduciary responsibilities and plan governance issues, and negotiating agreements with plan service providers. He is Chair of the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice.

Roberta Casper Watson, Partner
The Wagner Law Group, Boston

Ms. Watson is the leader of the firm’s Health and Welfare Practice. Her practice is in the areas of ERISA and employee benefits, with a focus on pension and profit sharing plans and health and welfare benefits. Ms. Watson advises clients with respect to qualified plans, ERISA fiduciary issues and decision-making, ESOPs, employee benefits aspects of family law, labor laws affecting employee benefits. She is actively involved in and a past Chair of the American Bar Association Tax Section’s Employee Benefits Committee, the ABA’s Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, the ABA Health Law Section’s Employee Benefits Interest Group.

Live Webinar

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This webinar is eligible for at least 1.5 general CLE credits.

CLE credits are not available for PR.

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Customer Reviews

Good materials plus well prepared presenters and a good level of detail.

John H. Merkle

Fredrikson & Byron

The program covered topics that are of significant concern to many of my clients and I enjoyed the good discussion of the case law supporting the various points made.

Larry Crabtree

King & Ballow

The PowerPoint presentation made things easy to understand.

Ian Weinberger

The Lambos Firm

Great overall summary of ERISA issues.

Shannon Awsumb

Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie

I appreciated the speakers' extensive knowledge on the subject.

Amanda Gerstnecker

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott

or call 1-800-926-7926

Employment & ERISA Advisory Board

Susan E. Bernstein

Special Counsel

Schulte Roth & Zabel

Judith (Jude) Biggs


Holland & Hart

Joshua Davis


Goulston & Storrs

Barbara E. Hoey


Kelley Drye

Jeffrey Hollingsworth


Perkins Coie

Diana L. Hoover


Hoover Kernell

Paul J. Kennedy


Littler Mendelson

Marcia Nelson Jackson


Wick Phillips

William C. Martucci


Shook Hardy & Bacon

Laura Foote Reiff


Greenberg Traurig

Eugene Scalia


Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Peter Steinmeyer


Epstein Becker & Green

Teresa R. Tracy


Freeman Freeman Smiley

Todd D. Wozniak


Greenberg Traurig

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