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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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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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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Required Minimum Distributions

Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are minimum amounts certain participants (or retirement account owners if the participant has passed) must take as distributions from their account on an annual basis. Generally, RMDs begin the year in which the participant reaches the age of 70 ½ or the year in which the participant retires, provided they are …

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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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How to Handle a Blackout Period

What is a blackout? A blackout is a period of three or more consecutive business days during which participants’ are temporarily limited in or restricted from the ability to perform the following activities: Directing or diversifying investments Obtaining distributions Obtaining loans What actions must Plan Administrators take in order to remain in compliance during a …

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Do I need an audit?

As a sponsor of an employee benefit plan, along with annual reporting requirements, you may be required to undergo an audit of your plan’s financial statements. What are the reporting requirements and what triggers an audit? This varies depending on the type and size of the plan you sponsor. One participant plans (a business owner …

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Where Are You Saving Your Money?

As an auditor of employee benefit plans, I often talk with clients about their plan’s participation rates and suggest ideas on how to increase participation. As part of my daily routine, I read numerous articles from different financial sources. I came across a CNBC article published on July 29th, 2015 that I found to be …

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Full Scope vs. Limited Scope Audits

When a 401(k) or other retirement plan requires an annual audit, a plan administrator may have a choice to engage an audit firm to perform a full-scope audit or a limited scope audit of the financial statements. To be qualified for a limited scope audit, a bank or insurance carrier must act as a trustee …

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Language Barriers of 401(k) Disclosure

I would like to address disclosure versus communication. They are two very different things, but they shouldn’t be. Have you ever tried to read ERISA or DOL regulations? The average person doesn’t read this stuff. Lawyers read it because it is in their language. Lawyers are the ones who write this stuff. Imagine a Company …

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