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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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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How to Prepare for Your 401(k) Audit

There are a few simple steps that can be taken during the planning phase of the audit in order to gain efficiencies during the fieldwork phase. You should be in communication with your auditor before the Plan’s year-end date. This is the best time to come to an agreement about the terms, timing and fees …

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DOL Fiduciary Rule

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has been working on revisions to the current “Fiduciary” Conflict of Interest Rule for multiple years but on April 8, 2016, the DOL’s final rule was posted to the Federal Register which is effective June 7, 2016 and applicable beginning April 10, 2017. The rule now defines who is a …

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Forming a 401(k) Plan Committee

As a Plan Sponsor, you have important fiduciary responsibilities which, according to the Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) within the Department of Labor (“DOL”), include: Acting solely in the interest of plan participants and their beneficiaries Carrying out duties prudently Following the plan documents (unless inconsistent with ERISA) Diversifying plan investments Paying only reasonable plan …

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Plan sponsor record retention guidelines

As plan auditors we are frequently asked how long documents relating to a plan should be retained by the plan sponsor. Like anything related to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there is no one simple answer. Before discussing some general guidelines on record retention, let’s discuss some general responsibilities of the plan sponsor to operate …

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Does Your EBP Have a True-Up Provision?

Plan sponsors have an option to incorporate a true-up provision into their employee benefit plan(s). True-up adjustments are done at the end of the plan year in order to ensure that the amount of employer matching contributions is grossed up to maximum allowable benefit per the plan document; they protect the less savvy participants from …

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The Importance of Knowing Your Plan’s Definition of Compensation

As I reflect on my last 401k audit season, I remember running into some operational issues that were a result of plan administrators not using the correct form of compensation, as defined by their plan document, while calculating employee and employer contributions. Using the correct form of compensation while making contributions is important because if …

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Dear Plan Sponsors: Reviewing a SSAE 16 Report

What is a SSAE 16 report anyway? SSAE 16 stands for Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization, and was finalized in January 2010 by the Auditing Standards Board of the AICPA. SSAE 16 replaced SAS 70 as the authoritative guidance for reporting on service organizations. The …

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