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Mar 07

Fiduciary Duties: Reviewing & Benchmarking Plan Fees

Are the services a plan receives reasonably priced? Knowing the answer is a vital fiduciary duty. ERISA expects more from plan fiduciaries than simply shopping around for plan providers offering rock bottom rates. This article summarizes some key areas all fiduciaries must consider when benchmarking costs of their qualified retirement plan. A sidebar discusses a report that suggests ways employers can help current plan participants ease into retirement.

Feb 07

Understand Your Target-Date Fund Series

Target-date or lifecycle funds first came to market in 1994. Since then, they have experienced much growth with nearly every large financial institution today offering their own version of these funds. Along with target-date funds becoming a fundamental option of 401(k) plans, comes a fiduciary responsibility to monitor and evaluate them, much like other plan investments. This article examines key characteristics plan sponsors and investment committees should know about target-date funds.

Jan 03

Do You Know Where All of Your Plan Participants Are?

It is not uncommon for previously active employed plan participants to fall off the radar screen. They include retirees and former employees that move away without informing the plan administrator. Before anyone realizes it, they become “lost” participants. This article details the steps to take when dealing with these participants.

Dec 06

Auto-Escalation Should be Offered in Conjunction with Auto-Enrollment

Auto-enrolling 401(k) plan participants without also incorporating an auto-escalation feature might be a counterproductive exercise. Survey data suggests that average 401(k) plan deferral rates have been trending downward even though more employers are adopting auto-enrollment. The apparent culprit: low auto-deferral rates. This brief article highlights how to use both auto-enrollment and auto-escalation clauses to help benefit employees.

Nov 07

Let’s Play Ball! It’s Time to Step Up to the Plate to Review Fiduciary Status and Fiduciary Duties

Are you a fiduciary for your company or organization’s retirement plan? If yes, you may find it challenging to “cover all the bases” in understanding your fiduciary duties. Some common duties that get overlooked include failing to identify the plan’s fiduciaries and insufficiently training fiduciaries on their responsibilities.

Oct 05

IRS Eases Pain for Correcting Certain Plan Administration Errors

We all know that nobody is perfect. The good news is, so does the IRS. The IRS acknowledges that retirement plan administrators are not infallible, and provides correction for certain administrative errors. While corrective actions can still be arduous and time consuming, the IRS has relaxed some of its rules. This article provides an in-depth look at the recent updates as to how the IRS will handle certain plan administration errors.

Sep 06

Is a Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plan Right for Your Company?

Nonqualified deferred compensation plans enable key employees to defer a higher proportion of their current income to later years when they retire. While nonqualified plans often are perceived as only for top executives, they may also be right for upper-level staff. This article discusses what plan sponsors need to know about nonqualified deferred compensation plans.

Aug 02

How to Ask the Right Questions Regarding Your Service Provider’s Data Security System

Maintaining data security is a significant part of running any business. Breaches are inevitable — although not at every organization. This article reviews questions to ask when reviewing data security with service providers.

Jul 12

ESOPs Facing Tougher Scrutiny

Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) fiduciaries are facing closer scrutiny by the Department of Labor (DOL), while federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, are weighing in on ESOP cases. This article reminds ESOP sponsors to take a fresh look at how their ESOPs are structured and overseen by fiduciaries.

May 31

Be Careful What You Toss: Plan Record Retention Requirements

As far as the IRS is concerned, you cannot be overly cautious with saving too many retirement plan documents. Plan sponsors, on the other hand, might reasonably feel the need to free up file storage space every now and again by purging documents that are no longer needed. This article examines where to draw the line and also looks at IRS rules for documentation of hardship withdrawals and participant loans.

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