Tool Helps Reduce Risk for 401(k) Plans

OTB Strategic Consulting, Inc., a business advisory firm, has launched The FIRE System, an online 401(k) self-assessment tool for plan fiduciaries.

The tool is designed to quickly find areas of noncompliance for plans and provide solutions to correct them. OTB developed the tool jointly with Akros Fiduciary Management.

The FIRE System provides boards of directors, as well as CEOs, internal auditors and human resource executives, an independent review of any size traditional or safe harbor 401(k) plan’s fiduciary risk and compliance. The tool analyzes responses to questions regarding possible areas of noncompliance with many ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] laws and regulations as overseen by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including regulatory interpretations/opinions, court decisions and industry best practices.

The tool also provides plan sponsors with a written report with a variety of reporting options, from a basic risk level, evaluation and education to a more in-depth analysis with specific violations/solutions and a more advanced education to help plan sponsors and their fiduciaries become and continue to stay compliant in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner. The free report, along with educational materials, can be printed, downloaded or saved to download at a later date.

“More and more we live in a regulatory world and many plan sponsors and employers may not be fully aware of the complexity and scope of their fiduciary responsibilities under the law,” says Deborah A. Castellani, principal and senior fiduciary specialist, OTB Strategic Consulting, Inc., based in Austin, Texas. “The FIRE System makes them stronger in their role as a fiduciary by better understanding the complicated DOL and IRS rules and regulations that govern 401(k) plans, helping to bring plans into compliance, and educating plan sponsors and their fiduciaries on how to avoid fiduciary liability and personal risk.”

A free 401(k) risk assessment is available at In addition, OTB has a free informational document about understanding the complexity and roles of the IRS and DOL regulators, and how to be prepared as a 401(k) plan sponsor, available to download at