DOL Throws Stumbling Block In Way of Lifetime Income Options Serving as Default Investment Option

Because of a recent information letter issued by the DOL, it is unlikely many plan sponsors will adopt a lifetime income option as the default investment in their 401(k) plans. This letter, issued to TIAA, makes it clear lifetime income options cannot serve as a QDIA in 401(k) plans. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in offering 401(k) plan participants a lifetime income … Continue reading DOL Throws Stumbling Block In Way of Lifetime Income Options Serving as Default Investment Option

House of Representatives Enters the Fiduciary Fray

The ongoing saga of the DOL’s fiduciary rule is now in its eighth year. The rule was first proposed in 2010 and promptly withdrawn amidst much controversy. The rule was re-proposed in 2015 and became final last year. Despite expectations that the Trump administration might scrap the Rule entirely, it has survived thus far. The essence of the Fiduciary Rule is that any person making … Continue reading House of Representatives Enters the Fiduciary Fray

IRS/DOL Plan Error Self-Correction Programs

In the event that a plan discovers a practice breach based on IRS or DOL regulations, they may be well advised to attempt to apply for one of the self-correction programs identified below. It is typically advantageous to self-correct prior to the error being discovered by the IRS or DOL, as penalties and consequences may be significantly more severe. IRS Self-Correction Programs Plan errors can … Continue reading IRS/DOL Plan Error Self-Correction Programs

Are You Ready for an Audit?

Several events can trigger a DOL or IRS audit, such as employee complaints or self-reporting under the annual submission of the Form 5500. Often times an audit is a random event, which is why you should always be prepared. Listed below are several key items typically requested in an initial letter sent by the IRS or the DOL in connection with a retirement plan audit. … Continue reading Are You Ready for an Audit?

Giving Thanks to Plan Participants, Plan Sponsors and the DOL

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Lots of food, football, good cheer and you don’t have to buy presents. It is also a time to reflect and be thankful for the good fortune in our lives, and for those who love us or have helped us in some way. I am thankful to many in the retirement plan industry who I have partnered with and learned … Continue reading Giving Thanks to Plan Participants, Plan Sponsors and the DOL

Summary Plan Description Reminder

A summary plan description (SPD) describes the key provisions of an employer’s retirement plan and participant rights. SPDs must be disseminated to newly eligible participants within 120 days after a new plan is established or within 90 days after a participant becomes eligible to participate in an existing plan. In addition, SPDs must be disseminated to all participants once every five years unless there have … Continue reading Summary Plan Description Reminder

ERISA Update

At a recent Western Pension Benefit Council/ASPPA Conference the new Fiduciary Rule was reviewed. The new Fiduciary Rule (definition) has come under significant criticism by many industry groups and Congress, some of whom brought litigation to redefine and suspend the effect of this regulation. To date, the DOL shows no intent to revise their position substantially. They indicate that the new rule is structured solely … Continue reading ERISA Update

“Conflict of Interest” or “Fiduciary” Rule: A Plan Sponsor’s Q&A – Part II

Last month we featured the first part of our Q&A series. Now enjoy the final five questions and wrap-up. After years of proposed regulation issuance, comment periods, drafting and anticipation, the Department of Labor (DOL) finally published final guidance regarding the definition of “fiduciary” on April 8, 2016. It is important for plan sponsors to understand the reasoning behind, and the scope of, the final … Continue reading “Conflict of Interest” or “Fiduciary” Rule: A Plan Sponsor’s Q&A – Part II

Allowable Plan Expenses: Can the Plan Pay?

The payment of expenses by an ERISA plan (401(k), defined benefit plan, money purchase plan, etc.) out of plan assets is subject to ERISA’s fiduciary rules. The “exclusive benefit rule” requires a plan’s assets be used exclusively for providing benefits. ERISA also imposes upon fiduciaries the duty to defray reasonable expenses of plan administration. General principles of allowable expenses include the following: The expenses must … Continue reading Allowable Plan Expenses: Can the Plan Pay?

“Conflict of Interest” or “Fiduciary” Rule: A Plan Sponsor’s Q&A – Part I

After years of proposed regulation issuance, comment periods, drafting and anticipation, the Department of Labor (DOL) finally published final guidance regarding the definition of “fiduciary” on April 8, 2016. It is important for plan sponsors to understand the reasoning behind, and the scope, of the final rules. The following Q&A is meant to assist you in understanding the regulations and how they pertain to you, your plan … Continue reading “Conflict of Interest” or “Fiduciary” Rule: A Plan Sponsor’s Q&A – Part I