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Retirement Plan Services

Our goal is simple and clear.  To create a successful experience for both Plan Sponsors and Participants.

Retirement Plans

The Retirement Plan landscape has changed dramatically over the last century with outdated plan types & designs.  Increasing complexity in plan design, multiple layers of fees, countless investment options, and increasing compliance costs and regulatory oversight create confusion for plan sponsors.  Plan sponsors can easily overlook what they should be doing vs what they are required to be doing.


Plan Sponsor Duty | Responsibility


What is the significance of being a fiduciary?

Fiduciaries have important responsibilities and are subject to standards of conduct because they act on behalf of participants in a retirement plan and their beneficiaries.

  • Are you aware of your duties & responsibilities?
  • Do you have a documented process you follow?
  • When was the last time the plan was reviewed?

What are the consequences of not meeting your duties?

Lawsuits have been creeping down to smaller plans.  Regulators such as the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service, not just plaintiffs' attorneys, are also scrutinizing small 401(k) plans.  It should come as no surprise that the DOL, IRS, and regulatory bodies are also out there looking to get fees and find openings for sponsors that don't have their fiduciary governance processes buttoned up and documented.


Liability for Fiduciary Duties


Fiduciary Guidance & Support

CFOs, CEOs, Presidents and other fiduciaries have personal liability for assets in the company’s retirement plan. The following chart illustrates just a few of the fiduciary considerations required of plan sponsors under ERISA 408(b)(2) and 404(a)(5). To help you comply with these and other ERISA rules, we created The Fiduciary Shield™ guidance and tools as a means to help you reduce your exposure to fiduciary liability.

408(b)(2)

Fiduciary Duties

  • Investment Policy Statement (IPS)
  • Quantitative & Qualitative Fund Analysis
  • Prudently Select Investments
  • Consistently Implement Results
  • Independently Monitor Investments
  • Defray Reasonable Expenses
  • Follow Plan Document

404(a)(5)

Protection for Participant Investment Decision

  • Broad Range of Investment Options
  • Sufficient Investment Information and Education
  • Description of Fees and Expenses
  • 404(a)(5) Policy Statement and Employee Notice
  • Copy of Prospectus
  • Description of Investment Alternatives and Funds

Learn more ABOUT US 


At Sterling Financial Partners, we have over 30 years of experience in the qualified retirement plan arena. We employ the most recent innovations in retirement plan offerings to our clients.  We can serve as your company's guide and advocate too.  We can help you to meet your goals and objectives, and with the right tools you need to accomplish them in your fiduciary capacity.  We help you clearly define your role, responsibilities, and objectives so there is no confusion as to what your fiduciary duty is, and to reduce the risk & consequences of not meeting them.  Our goal is simple and clear.  To create a successful experience for both Plan Sponsors and Participants.

As a Plan Sponsor and Fiduciary, you want to be absolutely sure your plan's assets are safe and secure.  Your time is valuable. Let us team together to find the perfect solution that will meet your needs, expectations, and fiduciary responsibility.

Like where you are now?

No problem at all.  Stay where you are.  Just ask us how we can assist you in bringing your plan into compliance.  Both you and your employees won't have to change a thing.

Want some other options?

As an independent firm we are not bound to any specific investment platform.  This allows for complete objectivity when advising clients on their retirement plan solutions.  

Learn More About Our Process



Our Process

Everything we do is to make it simpler for you.  Our six-step process takes out the complexity between planning & implementation.  Whether you are seeking cost-effective ways to offer attractive retirement plans to your employees and executives, or wish to optimize your plan’s management and performance, we take a disciplined approach and implement unique analytical tools to help connect your goals to results.


Fiduciary Diagnostics

We help you to review your company's retirement plan and objectives, and review your existing plan offerings, education, design, and administrative compliance review.



Fiduciary Investment Review

We help you meet your fiduciary responsibilities by reviewing or developing your Plan's formal Investment Policy Statement (IPS).  The IPS outlines the underlying guidelines for the selection, periodic monitoring and evaluation of the investment options offered by the Plan.


RFP Due Diligence

We help identify and select potential bidding providers based upon matching your goals and objectives with their capabilities in four broad cornerstone categories.



Provider Analysis

Based on our review and analysis of providers, we recommend opportunities for costs savings, investment changes, and enhancements that may not have been offered previously or have been overlooked.


Participant Education

We help to provide employees the opportunity to learn more about the retirement plan through ongoing education & communications.


The Prudent Process

We help Plan fiduciaries implement a prudent process through the ongoing monitoring of plan providers, investment options & participant education.  Over the lifetime of the plan we will advise you of regulatory changes, program enhancements, and investment due diligence.



Our Deliverables







Our Strategic Partners


With over 25 years of experience and 1000 plus qualified plans administered, Benchmark Retirement Plan Services' mission is to set a new standard of Service, Expertise, and Cost-Effective Solutions.  

Benchmark Retirement Plan Services has invested heavily in technology to ensure the most secure and efficient systems available in the industry.  The proprietary systems they have developed reduce their costs, allowing them to provide their services to your company at rates below industry average.  Their expansive knowledge of the regulations governing retirement plans minimizes the time and resources your company must dedicate making them an ideal partner as a Third Party Administrator.

Sterling Financial Partners is a Member Firm of Valmark Financial Group, an exclusive, 55-year-old, invitation-only consortium of independent wealth advisory firms.  ValMark employs over 100 professionals who provide a concierge level of support to each Member Firm.  Among Valmark’s professionals are experts in life insurance and other protection products, medical underwriting, qualified and non-qualified plans, investment analysis and portfolio management, product due diligence and regulatory compliance.

As a Valmark Member Firm, we are able to leverage the specialized expertise of these professionals to help us deliver analysis and recommendations when helping our clients strategically plan their financial futures.

Securities offered through Valmark Securities, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC | Investment Advisory Services offered through Valmark Advisers, Inc., a SEC Registered Investment Advisor | 130 Springside Drive, Suite 300, Akron, OH 44333-2431 | 1-800-765-5201 | Sterling Financial Partners, Inc. and Benchmark Retirement Plan Services, Inc. are separate entities from Valmark Securities, Inc. and Valmark Advisers, Inc.