Retirement Plan Consultants, Retirement Plan Committee

Establishing Your Retirement Plan Committee Charter

As retirement plan consultants we strongly encourage our clients to formally establish a Retirement Plan Committee.   The establishment of a Committee may be formalized by adopting a Retirement Plan Committee Charter. This Committee Charter helps to protectthe named fiduciary, typically the Board of Directors, by delegating certain identified fiduciary responsibilities to the Committee. It protects the Committee members by defining the specific duties for … Continue reading Establishing Your Retirement Plan Committee Charter

3(16), ERISA, Fiduciary

3(16) ERISA Fiduciary Definition

Recently there has been an emergence of entities offering to provide ERISA Section 3(16) services. Plan sponsors may be interested in divesting themselves of Section 3(16) plan administrator responsibilities and there are questions regarding this concept and its perceived desirability. The unfortunate reality is that the advertisements, marketing material and articles (often written by interested parties who sell these services) are often quite misleading and … Continue reading 3(16) ERISA Fiduciary Definition

Best Practices, Hardship Distributions

Best Practices in Hardship Distributions

These days,many plans are experiencing an uptick in the number of participant requests for hardship distributions. Much of this increased activity may be attributed to our prolonged and tepid economic recovery. As these requests are considered, you want to be sure not to act to the detriment of your plan. Improper handling of a hardship request can ultimately result in plan disqualification. It is important … Continue reading Best Practices in Hardship Distributions

Participants, Missing Participants, Education, Communication

Locating Missing Participants

At one time or another all plan sponsors will likely be in the position of having to locate missing participants. This may be related to delivery of regulatory required communications, distributing of assets, or communicating fund changes to active and/or terminated participants. If the delivery of necessary communications is encumbered because a participant cannot be located there exists a fiduciary requirement to perform a “reasonable … Continue reading Locating Missing Participants

Advisors, Investments, Collective Investment Trusts,

Why Advisors are Taking a New Look at Collective Investment Trusts

As many institutional investment advisors know, Collective Investment Trusts have been in existence since the 1970s. Yet today’s collective funds are becoming increasingly popular as plan sponsors and institutional investment advisors seek more efficient ways to provide plan participants with high quality/low cost investment options. What Has Changed There are two reasons for collective funds growing popularity. First, the industry has eliminated many operational impediments … Continue reading Why Advisors are Taking a New Look at Collective Investment Trusts

DOL, ERISA

Determining Fee Reasonableness of a Retirement Plan Recordkeeper

The determination of reasonableness of fees has always been a core fiduciary function for ERISA plan sponsors. ERISA Section 408(b)(2) regulations increased scrutiny on this responsibility. The Department of Labor (DOL) has taken this step to solidify specific requirements for plan sponsors and service providers, regarding communication of fee information. Timing The genesis of these regulations is found in proclamations by Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary … Continue reading Determining Fee Reasonableness of a Retirement Plan Recordkeeper

404(c), ERISA, Investments

Complying With ERISA 404(c)

According to ERISA, plans intending to comply with 404(c) must provide that participants: Have the opportunity to choose from a broad range of investment alternatives (which are adequately diversified); may direct the investment of their accounts with a frequency which is appropriate; and can obtain sufficient information to make informed investment decisions. The plan sponsor must provide annual written notification to participants with its intent … Continue reading Complying With ERISA 404(c)

Retirement Plans, The Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, Taft Hartley Act

Understanding Multiemployer Plans

The Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (also known as the Taft Hartley Act) allowed for the establishment of multiemployer benefit plans, often referred to as “Taft-Hartley plans.” A multiemployer plan, not to be confused with a Multiple Employer Plan (MEP), is a collectively bargained plan maintained by more than one employer, usually within the same or related industries, and a labor union. The plan … Continue reading Understanding Multiemployer Plans

Communication, DC Plan

One Size Does Not Fit All

The defined contribution industry spends millions of dollars each year on communication materials designed to educate plan participants about the importance of saving for retirement. Much of that money goes to technology enhancements that provide new ways for many plan sponsors to reach and educate their employees. But is escalating the use of technology the right path for all plan sponsors to follow? Industry experts … Continue reading One Size Does Not Fit All

Retirement savings, Exchange Traded Funds

Exchange Traded Funds in Retirement Plans

Over the last several years exchange traded funds (or ETFs) have become very popular among investors because of their lack of a minimum investment, their low cost of ownership and their ability to be intra-day traded. Most ETFs track an index such as the S&P 500, but unlike an index mutual fund, ETFs can be bought and sold just like a stock. That means that … Continue reading Exchange Traded Funds in Retirement Plans