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May 03

Give Employees More Bang for Their Buck: How to More Effectively Use Default Deferral Rates and Auto-Escalation Clauses

According to a Plan Sponsor Council of America survey, only 46% of defined contribution plans automatically enroll participants. The most common default deferral rate for those that do is 3%. Are plan sponsors telling employees that they can afford to retire by saving just 3% of their salary each year? Some participants may think so. This article discusses how to use default deferral rates and auto-escalation clauses to boost participants’ retirement savings.

Apr 05

Understanding Welfare Plan Form 5500 Filing Requirements

Welfare plans commonly provide employee benefits, such as medical, dental, life insurance and disability benefits. All welfare plans covered by ERISA are subject to the annual Form 5500 reporting and filing requirements. However, not all ERISA welfare plans must file Form 5500 if they meet one of the exceptions under the law. As a plan sponsor, this article will help you determine whether you need to file Form 5500.

Mar 02

Retirement Plan Loans: The Pros and Cons

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, more than one-fifth (or 21%) of all 401(k) plan participants eligible for loans have loans outstanding at any given time. Looking out for the best interests of plan participants might involve discouraging them from borrowing against their savings, at least in the absence of a personal financial crisis. This blog summarizes plan loan requirements that all plan fiduciaries should know.

Feb 02

Tibble Case Puts Focus on Fiduciaries’ Ongoing Duties

During 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the ongoing duty of retirement plan fiduciaries to monitor plan investments. Tibble v. Edison International has been percolating through the federal court system since 2007. The article reviews the case’s focus on the timing of lawsuits against plan fiduciaries for breaches of their fiduciary duty.

Jan 12

How Automatic Are Your 401(k) Plan Investments?

Automatic enrollment of participants in 401(k) plans was designed to overcome the drawbacks of voluntary enrollment by getting more employees to save in their workplace retirement plan. But what to do about plan investments? With automatic enrollment comes a fiduciary duty to direct plan investments for those automatically enrolled participants that do not choose a place to invest their contributions. This article will explore this topic in relation to a safe harbor established by the Department of labor to limit plan sponsor liability for investing contributions on behalf of employees into default investments when employees do not otherwise make an election.

Dec 08

Are You Counting Your Plan Participants Correctly?

As 2015 draws to a close, plan sponsors will begin compiling data for the year-end census and ultimately, the annual reporting filing. Although counting the number of plan participants seems like it would be simple, there are common mistakes that plan sponsors sometimes make when reporting the number of plan participants. This article highlights pitfalls plan sponsors should avoid when reporting these figures.

Nov 03

Year-End Notices: Staying on Top of the Requirements

As the calendar year comes to a close, plan sponsors should begin preparing annual notices. For plans using the calendar year, numerous notices are due to be given in the next few months. This article highlights some of the notices that must be sent to either participants, the IRS or the DOL in the next three months.

Oct 06

Department of Labor Report on Auditors

In May, the U.S. Department of Labor issued their report, Assessing the Quality of Employee Benefit Plan Audits, and it was embarrassing for our profession. Their report found that 39% of audits had one or more major deficiencies. As the auditors of more than 50 plans, Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams (ORBA) took this report very seriously.

Sep 29

Compliance Alert

This feature lists a few key tax reporting deadlines for October and November.

Sep 16

The Supreme Court Takes on 401(k) Fees

The Supreme Court may review your company’s 401(k) plan as it did in a recent case. This is what happened a few months ago when the Supreme Court ruled on the Tibble V. Edison case.

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