The Simple Guide to Setting Up a Fidelity Cash Balance Plan


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We set up a lot of tax-structured cash balance plans and defined benefit plans. But once we set up the plan, you will need to open up the custodian account with Fidelity (or another provider of your choice). In theory, this part is pretty easy.

While Fidelity’s custodian application is straightforward, we do field a lot of questions on it from clients. As such, we decided to address in this post how to complete the trust account application.

Fidelity is especially great when it comes to opening up sub-accounts or multiple accounts with the same plan. This works very well when you have both you and your spouse on payroll, or if you want to have separate accounts for pre-tax and Roth contributions.

We are always here to help, but make sure to contact Fidelity first with any questions you have. They should be able to assist and expedite the process. They also continually update their policies and procedures, so it’s wise to check with them upfront. The direct line to the team that specializes in Small Business Retirement accounts is 1800-544-5373.

Fidelity Retirement Account Application

To open the account with Fidelity, you will need to fill out the following application:  

You must fill out one application for your cash balance plan or defined benefit plan and a separate one if you are establishing a 401(k) plan. Do not open up one account for both plans. Please contact us if you are unsure.

Before you pull up the application, it would be beneficial to open up your Smart Vault and open up the Application Attachment and Adoption Agreement.

The following is an overview of each section:

Section 1 Account Setup: Pages 1 – 4 of the Application PDF are the required pages need to open an account at Fidelity. You will print out those pages and the PDF with the additional pages requested to mail to Fidelity.

Plan information:

  • Plan Name and EIN that we provided to you (this can be found in your SmartVault account).
  • Date Plan Established found on 1st page of adoption agreement

Here is what it would look like for a 401(k) plan:

Plan Trustee Information: This is where you as the owner enter your information. If you added your spouse as a Co-trustee of the plan, meaning they signed the plan document as well, then you can enter their information in the Co-Trustee section.

Associations: Only applicable if you are employed by or associated with the specified employment criteria.

Section 2 Financial Profile: Page 5 of the application, allows you to select your investment objective. Your contact at Fidelity will be able to provide any insight on this. Emparion is not your financial advisor and will not be able to weigh in with investment advice.

Section 3 Funding Your Account: Page 6 – Make sure to fund your account before the deadline.

Section 4 Account Features: Page 6 of the application – your personal preferences. Emparion does not need to receive duplicate statements.

Section 5 Signature: Page 7 – 8 of the application, please read through their agreement and sign before submitting.

Trusted Contact Authorization Form: This is an additional form that authorizes a designated primary and alternate trusted contact (this form can be filled out as applicable to your preferences).

Account Authority: This is a second additional form that will authorize an additional agent limited or full authority to access, update and transfer funds. ** THIS IS NOT FOR EMPARION. Since we do not provide investment advice or have access to your funds, we will not need levels of authority. We will request any statements or information as needed during annual administration**

If you are adding a second participate or spouse to your Cash Balance Plan then you will just need to fill out one application with both of the Plan Trustee 1 and 2.

For two or more participants for your 401K Plan then you will need to open two separate accounts, therefor you will need two applications.

Final Thoughts

As you know, we are not investment advisors. We are simply plan administrators.

Make sure that you reach out to Fidelity ASAP if you are considering setting up a custodial account with them. We cannot provide any investment advice, but we can guide you toward those who can. The number for the team that specializes in Small Business Retirement accounts: 800-544-5373.

It may take a couple weeks for Fidelity to process your application, so contact them as soon as possible to make sure you don’t have any funding issues. Of course if you are a client of ours, feel free to reach out for additional help.

Paul Sundin

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2 thoughts on “The Simple Guide to Setting Up a Fidelity Cash Balance Plan”

    • Hi Satish – Since we don’t have a power of attorney we can’t actually set up the accounts for you. But during our onboarding call, we will give you tips and insights into the most efficient way to get the accounts set up. We feel we have a good relationship with Fidelity so that always help.

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