Prudent Expert Act

DEFINITION of 'Prudent Expert Act'

A measure contained in section 404(a)(1)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that requires the fiduciary of a defined contribution retirement plan to use "care, skill, prudence and diligence", and to act in the same way that someone "familiar with such matters" would act. The "familiar with such matters" language has been interpreted to mean "expert". This language creates an important distinction from the earlier prudent person guideline, in that it holds fiduciaries to a stricter standard.

Also called the "prudent expert rule" or "prudent expert standard".

BREAKING DOWN 'Prudent Expert Act'

A fiduciary is someone who is legally responsible for someone else's money, and who is legally required to manage that money in the best interests of its owner. Fiduciary best practices include identifying the client's time horizon, desired return and risk tolerance, choosing asset classes consistent with these guidelines, periodically reviewing investment performance and periodically reevaluating whether fiduciary standards are being met.