Improve Your 401(k) Offering For Employees for Little or No Cost

December 20, 2018

 401(k) OfferingIn general, 401(k)s are not living up to their promises. Yes, they do provide a tax-advantaged means to equity ownership for millions of American workers. But too many workers are not fully participating in market gains, and too much capital is being siphoned away from workers’ accounts by various inefficiencies and middlemen. Read more

DOL Pitches Auto-Portability Program to Preserve Retirement Savings

December 11, 2018

Auto-PortabilityThe U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is advancing a proposal that would enable 401(k) plan sponsors to automatically transfer account balances up to $5,000 of former participants who have left the company. The amounts would be transferred to the 401(k) plan of an employee’s new employer. Assets transferred using this “auto portability” approach would make an intermediate pit stop in an IRA before landing in the former employee’s new employer’s plan. Here’s what you need to know. Read more

Hardship Distributions Q&A

November 27, 2018

Can 401(k) plan participants certify electronically that they satisfy all requirements for a hardship distribution? In this post, we will review a Q&A that dives into the details of hardship distributions.  Read more

2019 Cost-of-Living Adjustment for Qualified Retirement Plans

November 21, 2018

The table below summarizes key 2019 cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for pension plans and selected other items announced by the Internal Revenue Service. In general, annual compensation amounts and limits for elective deferrals were increased, while catch-up contribution limits remain unchanged. The Social Security Administration separately announced the taxable wage base for 2019, which is also included below. Read more

Don’t Panic If You Receive a Benefit Audit Notice

November 15, 2018

The IRS has provided tips to help your next benefit plan audit go smoothly.

Receiving a notice that the IRS is auditing an employee benefit plan is news that no employer wants to receive. If your company does get such a notice, knowing what to expect and preparing for the audit itself are the best ways to help the process go as smoothly as possible. In one IRS newsletter, the agency’s Director of Employer Plan Examinations advised plan sponsors of the audit process and gave readers a list of tips on how to best handle the situation. Read more

Retirement Plan Sponsors: Is Cyber Security Part of Your Fiduciary Duty?

September 14, 2018
Fiduciary Duty

Everyone in this era needs to be cautious when it comes to cyber security, none more so than employee benefit plan sponsors.

We’ve all received suspicious-looking emails asking us to provide personal information to redeem a prize that we’ve won or alerting us that someone we know needs financial help. By now, most of us recognize these scams—and don’t open the email.

But what if the message looked like it was coming from an official, known source? Would you open an email you thought was coming from your 401(k) service provider or the sponsor of your retirement plan? Read more

Fees for 401(k) Services: What Plan Sponsors Need to Know

September 13, 2018
Fees 401(k)

Avoid having the gavel come down on you by being well aware of the fees associated with your employee benefit plans.

Political candidates who don’t know the cost of a gallon of gas or a movie ticket usually wind up paying that price with voters and losing on election day. Likewise, many plan sponsors are finding themselves on the losing side of lawsuits because they allowed their defined contribution plan to pay unreasonable service fees. Read more

Employees, Sponsors Sailing Toward Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans

September 12, 2018
Safe harbor 401(k)

For employers, a safe harbor 401(k) plan can be a beacon in what feels like a sea of red tape.

Just the name sounds tranquil… “safe harbor 401(k) Plans.” And that’s no accident. Understanding and meeting the nondiscrimination requirements of standard 401(k) plans can be daunting. Safe harbor plans are relatively new, which has caused some to watch from the sidelines to see how they work out.   Read more

Duties of an ERISA Plan Administrator

September 7, 2018

ERISA plan administrators perform many critical functions that require a lot of time, care, and integrity.

Plan administrators and sponsors are fiduciaries who are charged with the highest level of responsibility, fair dealing and good faith recognized under the law. As a fiduciary, you have a legal duty to provide the utmost care and servicing on behalf of the beneficiaries in your plan. Because of the critically important retirement assets you oversee as a fiduciary, the federal government demands the best out of its plan administrators.  Read more

Is an Association Health Plan Right for Your Company?

July 16, 2018
Association Health Plan

Last October, the Trump Administration set in motion the development of “association health plans” as an alternative for employers to provide health insurance to their workers.

Association health plans (AHPs) are health benefit policies made available to small employers through a group purchasing arrangement for the benefit of association members and their employees. Under the old rules, AHP availability was limited to tightly linked employers (such as parent-child companies). Under new regulations issued by the Department of Labor on June 19, “an AHP now could offer coverage to some or all employers in a state, city, county, or a multi-state metro area, or it could offer coverage to businesses in a trade or industry group nationwide.” Read more