Key information

The 3(38) and 3(21) investment fiduciary service options are available through third-party partners IRON Fiduciary, LeafHouse Financial and Wilshire Associates, who will assume ERISA 3(38) and/or 3(21) investment fiduciary responsibility.

In general, this option/feature is available in Nationwide Retirement Flexible Advantage®, a retirement program for plan sponsors seeking a choice of services and features from which they can select those that best meet the needs of their business and their employees. The services are designed for:

  • Retirement plan clients who are concerned about their fiduciary responsibility and legal liability under ERISA
  • Financial professionals who are concerned about the heightened regulatory environment surrounding fiduciary services that they may be providing to clients

Evaluate the following factors when considering whether fiduciary services are right for you and your customers:

  • The time you spend monitoring investment fiduciary activities
  • The fees for the services you perform and the liability you accept
  • Clients who might prefer to hire a third-party service provider who would have co-fiduciary responsibility


3(38) and 3(21) investment fiduciary service can be selected from either IRON Fiduciary, LeafHouse Financial or Wilshire. With any of these services, clients will receive:

  • Investment policy statements
  • Investment monitoring and advice when 3(21) services are selected
  • Plan-specific investment selection, monitoring and replacement when 3(38) services are selected
  • A quarterly fiduciary investment analysis

About our partners

IRON Fiduciary

IRON Fiduciary is an investment management firm providing comprehensive solutions to the qualified retirement plan marketplace since 1996. IRON Fiduciary is:

  • Certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence LLC — among the first investment advisers globally to successfully complete the independent certification process1
  • A long-standing partner of Nationwide®

LeafHouse Financial – Institutional Investment Fiduciary Services

As an independent firm LeafHouse provides impartial investment advice with no conflicts-of-interest. All investment decisions are made in-house using a proprietary LeafHouse Grade Point Average® algorithm, which tracks a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative metrics.

LeafHouse Financial serves over 2,400 clients on 45 recordkeepers and their 94 platforms, and oversees more than $15.4 billion2 in ERISA 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary assets under management.

Compensation for plan services is assessed as a percentage of total plan assets. The firm receives no commissions or other compensation from third parties such as recordkeepers, administrators, or investment companies.

Wilshire Associates

An independent firm since 1972, Wilshire is a leading global financial firm, providing more than 43,000 plans with ERISA 3(21) and 3(38) fiduciary services.

Wilshire has more than:

  • $97 billion in assets under management
  • $1.3 trillion3 in assets under advisement
  • 70 professionals contributing to investment research

To learn more about our retirement plan products, contact the Retirement Plans Solutions Center at 1-800-626-3112 or request a meeting.


Request a demo, benchmarking report or proposal. Fill out our form to be contacted by your wholesaler to receive a demo, pricing benchmark or new proposal.

[1] Registered by CEFEX Centre, Centre for Fiduciary Excellence LLC, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (June 2011).

[2] As of 12/31/2021.

[3] As of 12/31/2020.

IRON Fiduciary, LeafHouse Financial and Wilshire Associates and their affiliates are not affiliated with Nationwide or any of its affiliates.

Nationwide Retirement Flexible Advantage is a service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company © 2023 Nationwide.