Valuable Information on 401ks, Pensions, ESOPs, Form 5500 Preparation + More

Preparing for your 401(K) audit

Proper preparation for your year-end 401(K) audit can lead to a much smoother and effective audit experience for both your company and your auditor. A constant line of communication leading into the audit will allow both parties to be as efficient as possible, especially when it comes to performing fieldwork. In addition to what your …

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Alternative investments help diversify employee benefit plans

Alternative investments are generally defined as investments that do not have a readily determinable fair value. This means this type of investment is not listed on a national exchange, and quoted market prices are not published in financial publications. These investments also do not face the restrictions or regulations that a typical investment, such as …

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Effective audit committee member habits

An audit committee is a crucial component of a company, whether it has to do with the company’s balance sheet, or their 401(k). They have the responsibility of keeping an objective point of view when it comes to the legal and compliance aspects of the financial statements. Recently, in an Accounting Today article, Dr. Lola …

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A guide to ERISA fidelity bonds for employee benefit plans

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has rules and regulations in place to protect private sector employee benefit plans from risk of loss. ERISA section 412 and related regulations (29 C.F.R. § 2550.412-1 and 29 C.F.R. Part 2580) require that fiduciaries and any person who “handles funds or other property” of an employee benefit …

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Voluntary fiduciary correction program

Throughout the administration of 401k plans, employers may at times run into fiduciary violations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). If this happens, you may be eligible to apply for voluntary relief from enforcement actions, including assessments of civil monetary penalties through the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (“VFCP”). The VFCP was designed to …

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IRS releases 2017 retirement plan limits

On October 27, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced the cost-of-living adjustments (“COLA”) for the 2017 tax year. These COLA rates are used to adjust over 40 tax provisions from the standard deduction and personal exemption to retirement plan limits. Based on changes in the consumer price index, used by the IRS to determine …

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Importance of Minutes as Evidence of Corporate Governance

Corporate governance is how a company polices itself and employees. It is intended to increase the accountability of the company, serve as a preventative measure, and help build transparency and trust. Corporate governance as it relates to plan administrators involves meeting your fiduciary responsibilities. Under the Employee Retirement Income Savings Act (ERISA), meeting your fiduciary …

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Plan Terminations and Partial Terminations

Employers are allowed to terminate 401K benefit plans offered to employees for a variety of reasons. Employers are not required by law to provide retirement savings plans, and can terminate them as a part of a bankruptcy or merger, in order to switch to another type of plan, or voluntarily terminate the plan. According to …

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Retirement Plan Loan Alternative

Many retirement plan participants may already know about the option to take out a loan against their retirement account. What you may not know about is the option to take out a hardship (though, all plans may not offer the option). A hardship, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), “must be made on …

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Target Date Funds

Does your plan have target date funds (TDFs)? Are you doing enough in managing those investments as the plan fiduciary? Let’s see what the Department of Labor (“DOL”) says about these funds. The DOL has general guidance on the selection and monitoring of TDFs. With many plan sponsors making these TDFs available to participants, it …

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