3(16) Fiduciary vs. TPA

A third party administrator (‘TPA’) may be retained by the plan or the plan administrator, but a TPA is typically neither the 3(16) administrator nor a fiduciary. Some TPAs will accept appointment as a 3(16) fiduciary, but a plan sponsor should assume that a TPA is not intending to act as a 3(16) administrator unless the TPA’s contract says that the TPA is serving in that capacity. Similarly, actuaries, accountants and auditors are typically not serving as fiduciaries.