QDIA Workshop to be Developed for Advisers

Saying that plan sponsors looking to use Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIAs) will turn to investment advisers for help, DALBAR and the Foundation for Fiduciary Studies are banding together to create a workshop focused on educating advisers about the investments.

The firms say the workshop will be developed by early fall.

“There are investment advisers who view the introduction of QDIAs as a threat to their practice—that the QDIA represents a “set it and forget it’ investment option for the plan sponsor that diminishes the adviser’s importance,’ said Donald Trone, president of the Foundation for Fiduciary Studies and founder of Fiduciary360, in a press release. “I disagree because the fiduciary duty of evaluation, selection, and monitoring of a QDIA will increase the need for trained investment advisers to handle this very complex process.’

Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) officials released a proposed safe harbor rule covering retirement plan sponsors who have default investment options for employees entering plans via auto-enrollment or in situations in which individual account plan assets are invested on behalf of participants or beneficiaries who fail to give investment instructions (See DOL Unwraps New Default Investment Guidelines). The rules have reportedly been finalized and are currently at the Office of Management and Budget, and it is anticipated they will be released after Labor Day.

Even though the introduction of the QDIA offers some fiduciary relief to plan fiduciaries, they still are expected to fulfill their traditional due diligence of selecting and monitoring the investment selection prudently. Louis Harvey, president of DALBAR, Inc. and Trone predict this need for due diligence will lead sponsors will turn to advisers for help because selecting and monitoring QDIAs present unique and more complex challenges to the plan sponsor than traditional investment options.

“QDIAs will undoubtedly become the dominant investment when plan sponsors take advantage of the QDIA protection and employees recognize the advantages of ease and professional attention.’ reported Harvey, in the release.