The July 31 due date (unless extended) to file Form 5500 for 2017 calendar year ERISA plans is creeping up on us. And if history be our guide, there will be many plan sponsors who don’t have a fidelity bond or one that is insufficient. It’s one of those check the boxes that can easily become a red flag for the Department of Labor (“DOL”) to take a closer look at the plan.

It’s one of those line items that are highlighted in most 5500 databases that are in the public domain. In fact, some of the databases can indicate the number of years in which there has been no fidelity bond or one that is insufficient.

The fidelity bond requirement is high up on the DOL’s compliance priorities, and it’s not a great leap in logic to assume that the they monitor this on Form 5500. After all, it’s the DOL who publishes the database. It could be a red flag for the DOL to take a closer look at the plan.

One more caveat. A plan’s fiduciaries could be held personally liable for any loss that should have  been covered by the fidelity bond.

The takeaway here is very basic. Plan sponsors can use the Form 5500 filing process as an opportunity to determine whether they are meeting their fidelity bonding requirement. Here is a link to our our publication, NBSI Bonding FAQs, that provides the details.

Image Credit: CanStockPhoto.