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"[T]he IRS has provided a list of questions that you, as a Plan Sponsor, must be able to answer to ensure compliance with IRS regulations. These questions are designed to help you document and evaluate your plan's policies, procedures and internal controls.... Plan service providers ... Employee eligibility ... Contributions ... Plan distributions ... Plan testing and administration." (Kushner & Company)
Proposal Would Extend the Federal Thrift Savings Plan to 78 Million Americans
Posted on Aug 27, 2014 (25 days ago)
"Recently, members of Congress reintroduced the idea of opening the government-employees-only Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) to all Americans not currently covered by an employer-sponsored plan.... With [Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)] membership this massive, government agencies would have a greatly increased, more powerful role in the retirement savings industry, and selection of investment fund options might take on a political element (at least the perception of such).... Potential compliance issues would be introduced as the TSP is exempt from ERISA and [IRS] regulations that govern the private sector." (Milliman Retirement Town Hall)
Investment Advisers Can Help Plan Sponsors Become Better Fiduciaries (PDF)
Posted on Aug 21, 2014 (31 days ago)
"Many plan sponsors rely on and often have been 'educated' by non-fiduciaries like securities brokers or record-keepers who don't know what it's like to be a fiduciary. Because they aren't fiduciaries, their advice about what a fiduciary must do is often flawed and incomplete....There are many ways that, as an investment fiduciary. you can support plan sponsors without accidentally creating compliance issues of your own.... You're a full-time fiduciary and understand the problems, issues, mindset, and, in some ways, how to make the process easier for them." (Deborah A. Castellani, CFA, via NAPFA Advisor)
6th Circ. Says Denial Letter Must Note Lawsuit Time Limits - Law360 (subscription)
Posted on Aug 7, 2014 (44 days ago)
6th Circ. Says Denial Letter Must Note Lawsuit Time LimitsLaw360 (subscription)In a 2-1 ruling, the appellate panel found that MetLife wasn't in substantial compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security act when it neglected to include that there was a contractual three-year time limit on filing a lawsuit over a claim ...
ESOPs and 401(k) Plans: Coordination Tips for Administrators
Posted on Aug 1, 2014 (51 days ago)
"[F]or ESOP providers, the [408(b)(2) regulations] require that there be a specific written agreement outlining the scope of work, direct and indirect compensation, termination compensation, and manner of receipt. Investment entities, brokers, and their fiduciaries that hold plan assets (such as the investments from an ESOP non-stock account) must provide information on fees and expenses related to the investments.... When you provide more than one qualified plan to your employees, plan administration should be done in harmony. The delivery of compliance services should be seamless." (Tom Roback, Blue Ridge ESOP Associates, via LinkedIn)
A New Summer Pastime: Get a Benchmark of Your 401(k)
Posted on Jun 30, 2014 (83 days ago)
"75% of the 401k plans audited by the DOL last year resulted in plan sponsors being fined, penalized, or forced to make reimbursements for plan compliance errors.... Similar to getting an annual physical to determine the current state of your health, your 401k plan will be served well by fully articulating the services being provided and determining whether there may be an opportunity to significantly reduce investment-related expenses." (Tom Zgainer, America's Best 401k)
How Tax Reform for Retirement Plans Can Affect Risk and Compliance (PDF)
Posted on May 27, 2014 (117 days ago)
"Current legislative proposals relating to retirement benefits can be grouped into three categories:  those whose goals are purely fiscal,  those seeking to expand the current system by adding programs or features that will increase access to it or enhance its fairness and  those that would make the system more efficient by updating rules effectuating obsolete or conflicting policies.... Any such proposals must balance the goals of increasing revenue and limiting expenditures with maintaining a retirement benefits system that provides effective incentives to save for retirement without undue administrative complexity." (The Wagner Law Group)
[Guidance Overview] Death, Taxes and ... ERISA Disclosure Regulations?
Posted on May 22, 2014 (122 days ago)
"[U]nless revised or clarified, the proposed amendment would presumably prohibit a covered service provider from including the guide as an exhibit or attachment to another document (e.g., as an exhibit or attachment to a subscription agreement or an investment management agreement).... [It] is not clear whether the guide requirement will only apply on a prospective basis (i.e., to contracts or arrangements entered into, renewed or extended after the effective date of the finalized amendment) or to existing arrangements as well. Accordingly, it is possible that a covered service provider would need to deliver a guide even in situations where it had already sent out 408(b)(2) disclosures in compliance with the final regulations." (Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center)
Keynote Address At Compliance Week 2014, SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein ... - Exchange News Direct
Posted on May 19, 2014 (125 days ago)
Keynote Address At Compliance Week 2014, SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein ...Exchange News DirectThey help our citizens buy homes, save for retirement, and pay for their children's educations. When compliance is lacking, confidence in .... Stock Market Participation (January 2014). [ii] In the Matter of Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc., SEC ...
Well, according to an article in the most recent issue of Financial Advisor Magazine, it isn't. The article indicates that sustainable investing (when one considers environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term financial returns and positive societal impact) isn't something which clients prioritize. It's more something the advisor will ask about and sometimes learn that it's on a client's spectrum of importance but not a front burner issue. I've got to say, in my office we have many clients who have indicated at the very first meeting how important sustainable and socially responsible investing issues are to them. More below: Perhaps one reason why many advisors don't have clients giving high priority to this issue is that sustainable investing is a louder theme with younger generations. As an advisor with many clients under 40, I can attest to the fact that the younger demographic cares more about these issues than people ages 60+. Because much of the wealth in our country is held by people in that older demographic, we don't see just how many people truly care about the culture of the companies they are investing in. I would think over the next 20 years that focus will continue to shift towards sustainable investing. In the 90's, there was this prevalent attitude that avoiding tobacco, oil, casino stocks meant accepting a lower total return on your portfolio as those were some of the most profitable industries in America. The exact opposite may be true today. Many people believe sustainable investing is not just a feel-good notion, but that it leads directly to good financial management since companies that practice these strategies may be better run. According to Lynne Ford of Calvert Investment Distributors: "If management teams are controlling their usage of resources and demonstrating efficiency over time, then it's an indicator of a well-run global company, outperformance and uncorrelated alpha due ...