Multiple Employer Plan (MEP)


Passed by the U.S. Congress in December 2019, the SECURE Act encourages businesses to establish a qualified retirement plan for their employees. An open Multiple Employer Plan (MEP) provides a unique solution for small and mid-sized businesses, addressing 5 common concerns: 1) cost to start and operate a plan 2) employer fiduciary duty and liability 3) limited human resources capacity 4) payroll integration and 5) time commitment to maintain a plan.

Multiple Employer Plan DBR & CO

Plan Sponsor Benefits

MEP ONE offered by DBR & CO, empowers multiple, unrelated employers that join together to be classified as a single retirement plan under ERISA, reducing cost, liability, and operating obligations for plan sponsors and plan participants as compared to a standalone retirement plan.


Save Money Through Economies of Scale

Potential to significantly reduce administrative, auditing, regulatory, and reporting costs by pooling resources and allocating costs across multiple enterprises


Reduced Employer Fiduciary Liability

The 3(16) operational administrator fulfills all fiduciary administrative obligations on behalf of plan sponsor and plan participants. DBR Fiduciary Plan Solutions fulfills all 3(38) fiduciary investment manager responsibilities


Save Valuable Time

Less work on behalf of the employer and HR staff to service plan participant requests such as loans, withdrawals, QDROS, CARES Act, and CRDs

More time and money to focus on your business. Less time and money spent on operational and fiduciary responsibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

If we join MEP ONE, does that permanently lock our plan into the arrangement in perpetuity?

No. If you have an existing standalone plan in place and opt to join MEP ONE, you may switch back to a standalone plan at any time. If you do not have a prior standalone plan and opt to join MEP ONE, you may convert to a standalone plan at any time.

Can I change or add to the plan features for my company?

Yes. Plan sponsors may customize features of the plan for their employees and participants. MEP ONE’s plan design is flexible, features including, but not limited to, loan provisions, employer matching, vesting schedule, and Roth vs. Traditional options are able to be tailored to the company’s specific needs.

How will our plan reporting change as a result of joining MEP ONE as compared to our current standalone plan?

Plan reporting becomes easier under MEP ONE. Reporting frequency is also unchanged from standalone plan options. Because MEP ONE is treated as a single plan by ERISA, the 3(16) administrator handles all operating and administrative reporting for plan sponsors and participants. DBR Fiduciary Plan Solutions, as the 3(38) investment manager, handles all investment management due diligence and reporting. Reporting to plan sponsors and participants by the 3(16) administrator and DBR Fiduciary Plan Solutions will be quarterly and annually.

Can I change or add to the plan investments for my company?

No. The operational and cost efficiencies created by MEP ONE arise from the formation of a single investment line-up and the classification as a single qualified retirement plan by ERISA. The investment line-up will be the same for all DBR Fiduciary Plan Solutions and DBR & CO employees as it is for all plan sponsors and participants in MEP ONE. DBR Fiduciary Plan Solutions is fully aligned with all plan sponsors and plan participants in the management and selection of investments.

Will our plan be subject to the bad decisions of another employer in the MEP or could we be held liable in any way?

No. The MEP and the participating plan sponsors are not held responsible for the bad decisions of any one participating employer. The SECURE Act eliminated the “Bad Apple Rule.” Additionally, because of the 3(16) administrator’s fiduciary obligation, it continually monitors the actions of plan sponsors and participants to ensure their compliance with ERISA.

What is the timeframe for joining MEP ONE?

The timeframe to start or convert a plan is typically 60 days.  This is similar to a standard standalone plan conversion.

For more information, contact: 


Richard Applegate, CFP®, AIFA®, CPFA™, ChFC®, CLU®, MST