Expert’s Corner

Dealing with missing participants is a big issue for retirement plan sponsors. The federal agencies that regulate retirement plans have been increasing their audit of defined contribution plans.  This article discusses some of the major issues related to missing participants and details how plan sponsors can ensure they’re acting in accordance with agency guidance to protect against an audit and associated penalties. A missing (or separated) employee is one who cannot be located for any one of a variety of…

Trying to develop and maintain complex retirement plans in a constantly evolving legal and regulatory space is difficult. Working with an advisor or consultant provides plan sponsors with the services necessary to ensure their plans are performing legally and efficiently, and enables them to spend more time on their core business objectives. In this article, we highlight a few of the key areas in which plan advisors can provide services critical to a “well-oiled” retirement plan. Compliance and Limiting Liability…

The regulations and rules governing employer-sponsored retirement plans are typically complex and can be difficult to decipher. This is certainly the case when it comes to determining reasonable compensation for a plan advisor. The fees that may be charged by an advisor are governed by ERISA, and executed by the Department of Labor (DOL), ERISA’s enforcement arm.  With the recent revocation of the DOL’s conflict of interest final rule on fiduciary investment advice—AKA the Rule—this might seem confusing, as the…

Sometimes the number of entities with requirements for plan sponsors seems overwhelming.  In addition to keeping participants well served and satisfied, government regulatory agencies, such as the IRS, the DOL, ERISA—and now the SEC—have regulations and requirements that must be adhered to. For a long time, there were major differences between the requirements relating to 401(k) and 403(b) plans. In 2007, the IRS issued new regulations for 403(b) retirement plans. These regulations require more oversight and documentation from sponsors of…

The conflict of interest final rule on fiduciary investment advice—AKA the Rule—drew its last gasp on March 18th, when the 5th Circuit District Court vacated the regulations first introduced by the Department of Labor (DOL) in 2009. The 5th Circuit Court ruled that the DOL overreached its authority by placing rules on the investment industry, which includes insurance and annuity companies. The Court asserted that the states, not the DOL, were authorized by Congress to regulate insurance and annuity companies.…