How to set up your defined benefit plan account with Vanguard

Since all we do is set up defined benefit plans and cash balance plans, we’re used to working with Vanguard. They don’t really have a small business defined benefit plan, so we help our clients set up plans on their platform all the time.

I will say that when it comes to getting an account opened, they are the easiest to deal with. There is no faxing of documents, manual signatures or physical forms. They usually will have the same account representative walk you through the entire sign up process, without handing you off to different people along the way.

Unfortunately, they don’t have any instructions published on their website or any forms we can link you to. However, the process is very simple and streamlined, and you don’t have to do much work before contacting them.

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Everything is done online with the help of a representative. All you will need is to have all your plan documents and questions ready.

Simple steps to opening up a Vanguard account

  1. Make sure you have access to your plan documents. You should have received a link to your Smartvault account where all your documents are stored. The most important documents will be the adoption agreement, IRS EIN confirmation, and the plan trust agreement.
  2. Next, you will need to contact Vanguard at Vanguard Small Business Retirement Solutions. Their phone # is 800-992-7188. When you call this number, there will be a direct retirement plan specialist to help you with everything.
  3. From there, the representative will walk you through the application process. It usually takes about 30 minutes. They have an online portal and will grant you full access. You will then need to electronically sign the online custodian forms.
  4. Once the application forms are submitted, it usually takes 2-3 days for them to approve your account. They will then give you instructions on how to fund the account via wire, ACH or written check.

It’s as simple as that! Just make sure that you get the plan funded before the deadline. Of course we are always here to help if you have additional questions.

Paul Sundin

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