What is 'Pension Plan Administrator'

A pension plan administrator manages the day-to-day affairs and the strategic decisions involved with a group's pension fund/plan. More specifically, the plan administrator ensures that money is being contributed into the fund, the proper asset allocation decisions are made and that payouts are promptly distributed among all qualified plan participants or beneficiaries.

BREAKING DOWN 'Pension Plan Administrator'

For smaller companies, and for simplicity and cost savings purposes, the employer may elect to be the company's pension plan administrator. However, as the number of employees grows, the task will often become more time consuming and complex and it is often more worthwhile for the employer to hire a professional to be the pension plan administrator.

In terms of fiduciary duty, the pension plan administrator has a duty to act in the interest of the plan's participants, not the underlying company.

Pension Plan Administrator Responsibilities

A pension plan administrator must ensure that the pension plan and pension fund are administered in accordance with the Pension Benefits Act (PBA) and regulations and the terms of the pension plan. They are ultimately accountable to all participants of the pension plan, including plan beneficiaries, sponsors and regulatory authorities.

A pension plan administrator may delegate some or all of its responsibilities for administering the pension plan and administering and investing the pension fund to various service providers. The service providers may be insurance or trust companies, employees of the administrator or pension specialists who are hired to assume certain aspects of plan management and administration (e.g., actuaries, accountants, pension consultants, investment managers, fund custodians, brokers, etc.). These service providers, regardless if they are employees of the administrator or third parties, are subject to the same duty of care as the administrator. The pension plan administrator’s responsibilities to beneficiaries include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring that certain plan information is available to those who are entitled to receive it and that the information is accurate and complete and provided within the timeframe specified in the PBA and regulations
  • Enrolling employees in the pension plan
  • Providing plan beneficiaries information about their rights and responsibilities in respect to the pension plan
  • Providing plan beneficiaries information and documents that are required to be disclosed
  • Determining plan beneficiaries’ entitlements
  • Making payments to plan beneficiaries when they are due.
  • Making payments to former spouses of plan beneficiaries with respect to their share of the plan beneficiaries’ pension benefits (in accordance with the PBA and regulations, and court documents that are filed with the administrator).
  • Responding to inquiries or complaints from plan beneficiaries. 
  1. Statement Of Changes In Net Assets ...

    A Statement Of Changes In Net Assets Available For Pension Benefits ...
  2. Unfunded Pension Plan

    An unfunded pension plan is an employer-managed retirement plan ...
  3. Guaranteed Minimum Pension - GMP

    A guaranteed minimum pension could be earned in the U.K.'s public ...
  4. Pension Protection Act of 2006 ...

    The Pension Protection Act of 2006 made several provisions from ...
  5. Cash Balance Pension Plan

    A cash balance pension plan is when an employer credits a participant's ...
  6. Pension Plan

    A pension plan is a retirement plan that requires an employer ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    7 Signs Your Pension Fund Is In Trouble

    Even if you're lucky enough to have a pension plan, you can't assume it'll pay out.
  2. Retirement

    How Safe Is Your Pension?

    A 2014 law permits some private pension plans to reduce benefits. How to figure out if your retirement income is endangered.
  3. Retirement

    America's Frozen Pension Dilemma

    Unfortunately, there are several factors that have eroded the presence of pension plans in America, and workers need to be prepared to replace that expected income for their retirement years. ...
  4. Retirement

    Here’s How to Find a Lost Pension

    To find a lost pension, you have to figure out who is now responsible for paying it and how to claim your benefits.
  5. Retirement

    What to Do If Your Pension Is Frozen or Terminated

    Here's what needs to be considered if your employer freezes or terminates your pension.
  6. Retirement

    A Primer On Defined-Benefit Pension Plans

    Most of us will rely on a pension plan in the future, so it's best to know the details of the various plans before signing up.
  7. Retirement

    Florida's Surprisingly Flexible State Retirement System

    Retired Florida employees can choose a 401(k)-style investment plan or a traditional pension.
  8. Retirement

    Can You Count On Your Pension?

    We look at how to determine the health of your company's pension plan, and what to do if things are looking grim.
  9. Retirement

    Top Pension Systems in the World

    The U.S. and Canada aren't even close to the top in retiree pensions. Canada ranks 7th of 20 countries; the U.S.,14th.
Trading Center