EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS

A Picture of the Changes to the IRS Determination Letter Program

The IRS’ determination letter program allowed sponsors of individually designed retirement plans to receive a routine determination letter, which is a periodic official regulatory compliance seal of approval that the IRS grants to benefit plans. While the recent decision to end this program has left many plan sponsors and their advocates uneasy, the IRS may [...]

March 16th, 2017|BENEFIT PLAN NEWS FLASH, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

U.S. Appeals Court Ruling Deals the Cards in the Fiduciary Blame Game

When a fiduciary breach occurs, some fiduciaries may be more culpable than others. In such cases, a court can order those parties to indemnify other fiduciaries who were, despite their technical status as fiduciaries, without blame. That ruling was the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a recent case. [...]

March 9th, 2017|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Solving the Hardship Withdrawal Program Administration Puzzle

Riddle Me This: Why Offer a Hardship Withdrawal Option? Plans that do not offer a hardship withdrawal option are still subject to “plan leakage.” In other words, employees’ retirement dollars prematurely leave the plan due to hardship withdrawals, plan loans going into default upon employment termination or other reasons. Whatever the cause of the leakage, [...]

February 21st, 2017|BENEFIT PLAN NEWS FLASH, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Remodeling Your Fiduciary House Under the DOL’s New Rules

The majority of the DOL’s complex regulations mandating fiduciary status for individuals dealing with retirement investment decision-making involve investment advisors. However, the regulations, effective April 10, 2017, also require plan sponsors (who are always the fiduciary) to take certain steps. The rules also expand the definition of fiduciary status. A Fresh Coat of Primer on [...]

February 20th, 2017|BENEFIT PLAN NEWS FLASH, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

What’s New For Benefit Plan Sponsors? Hardship Withdrawals and Plan Loans

The IRS recently announced that benefit plan sponsors are now required to keep documentation of any loans or hardship withdrawals that participants must take from their plans. Consequently, plan sponsors must now keep their own copies of records instead of relying on recordkeepers to do so. Watch as Christine Noll-Rhan discusses how plan [...]

January 26th, 2017|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS, VIDEO|

Devouring a Rich Opportunity for Roth IRA Rollovers

On any given evening, many people think about having dessert even before they have finished their dinner. Similarly, as highly compensated employee (HCE) 401(k) plan participants approach retirement, they may want to consider a potentially useful, tax-efficient IRA rollover technique. The IRS has specific rules about how participants can allocate accumulated 401(k) plan assets based [...]

January 19th, 2017|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

How to Be Flexible with Eligibility Rules to Control Plan Enrollment

Like yoga practitioners, plan sponsors have more flexibility than they may realize when it comes to setting eligibility rules for 401(k) plan participants. Even though the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) sets many plan eligibility rules, plan sponsors have leeway to meet the demands of the employment market. Here are some thoughts for plan [...]

January 4th, 2017|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Why a Tornado of Benefit Plan Options May Increase Litigation Risk

Giving plan participants a wide range of benefit plan options is positive — to a point. That idea underlies one of the multiple allegations in recent class action lawsuits filed against several prominent universities. The litigation offers a cautionary note for plan sponsors who offer a high number of investment options. While 401(k) plan sponsors [...]

December 21st, 2016|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Playing Hide-and-Seek with Missing Benefit Plan Participants

It is not uncommon for previously active employed plan participants to go into “hiding.” They include retirees and former employees that move away without informing the company. Before the plan sponsor or the administrator realizes it, the individuals become missing participants. The following is what employers should know about these participants. DOL Considerations for “Hidden” [...]

December 7th, 2016|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

How the IRS Planted the Seeds for Easier Retirement Plan Rollovers

The IRS has released taxpayer-friendly final regulations regarding certain retirement plan rollovers. Specifically, the new rules should make it easier — and less costly — to transfer after-tax funds from designated Roth accounts to Roth IRAs or other designated Roth accounts. The Fruitful Advantages of Roth IRAs and Designated Roth Accounts Roth IRAs can grow [...]

October 24th, 2016|BENEFIT PLAN NEWS FLASH, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

The Fuel Behind the IRS’ Focus on Retirement Plan Internal Controls

When IRS examiners check under the hood of many retirement plans, they often find a lack of sufficient internal controls. Even if an IRS audit finds no other problems, the consequences for inadequate retirement plan internal controls can be severe. At worst, hackers could steal the organization’s plan assets. Such a scenario could bring not [...]

September 6th, 2016|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Why Fiduciary Duty is Important for Employers of All Sizes

One recent lawsuit alleging fiduciary duty violations caught the attention of many in the employee benefits business. The filing received considerable attention not because of the nature of the charges, but because it involved a small business. Many large employers have ultimately compensated participants to address similar charges. Let’s take a closer look at why [...]

August 29th, 2016|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

The Flurries of FLSA Changes Coming This Winter

December 1, 2016, may or may not bring snow to many parts of the country. However, it will bring the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) final overtime rule. The dramatic changes included in the FLSA final overtime rule could have significant implications for retirement plans. Specifically, the changes affect what forms of compensation employers use to [...]

August 15th, 2016|BENEFIT PLAN NEWS FLASH, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Why Satisfying Numeric Benefit Plan Tests Doesn’t Equal Antidiscrimination Regulatory Compliance

The IRS issued a warning to plan sponsors whose plan designs satisfy numeric antidiscrimination tests, yet still have the effect of steering a disproportionate amount of benefits to highly compensated employees (HCEs). The message: Simply satisfying numeric tests doesn’t guarantee that you’re complying with antidiscrimination regulations. The IRS’ Calculations In a recent announcement, the IRS [...]

July 8th, 2016|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Providing a Clear View of Lump Sum Window Opportunities

There are sound reasons why defined benefit plan sponsors may offer participants lump sum payout windows. Principal among them: lowering the plan’s financial exposure, thereby providing greater long-term financial security to participants who elect to stay in the plan. However, the consequences of accepting a lump sum payout can be good or bad for participants. [...]

June 29th, 2016|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Hiking Through The New DOL Fiduciary Standards Rule Terrain

For almost a decade, the DOL was concerned that retirement investors – those who invest in employee benefit plans – were traveling on “unstable ground” with their investment advisors. In other words, the advisors’ recommendations may have been more lucrative for them than for their clients. This concern led to the DOL’s new fiduciary standards [...]

June 20th, 2016|BENEFIT PLAN NEWS FLASH, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Why Perception Isn’t Reality for Retirement Preparedness

The Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI’s) 2016 “Retirement Confidence Survey” provides helpful insights on employee behavior and benchmarking data for plan sponsors striving to help their employees attain retirement readiness. When it comes to retirement preparation, the study indicates that confidence often doesn’t correlate to the underlying facts. Closing the perception/reality gap remains a significant [...]

June 19th, 2016|BENEFIT PLAN NEWS FLASH, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

The SCP: A Magic Eraser for Benefit Plan Sponsors

Much like white-out, the Backspace button, and an eraser, the IRS’ Self-Correction Program (“SCP”) is one of three programs that allow plan sponsors to correct any mistakes they may have made in administering an employee benefit plan. Through this program, the IRS eases some of the required burden on plan sponsors for errors in withholding [...]

June 9th, 2016|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS|

Benefit Plan Fiduciary Responsibilities: Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s

Employee benefit plan sponsors have fiduciary responsibilities to protect both plan participants and investments. Additionally, sponsors are personally liable for any fines issued due to noncompliance. In this video, CRI’s Lorri Kidder discusses fiduciary responsibilities related to employee deferrals, fees, investments, and service providers.

April 19th, 2016|EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS, VIDEO|