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Fortified Decision-Making: Structure Your Plan Committee Meetings for Success

Defined contribution (DC) plan committees face increasing scrutiny on the myriad of decisions they make for their respective plans. During committee meetings, it’s no longer enough to run through an agenda of basic responsibilities; now, more than ever, leading plan committees recognize that they need to address all of the issues that they are responsible for, including emerging issues. As such, committee decision-makers need to strategically plan meeting agendas that cover both the micro job of looking closely at…

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Did Someone Order a Large Cap?

Any committee member sitting through their share of plan investment review meetings has heard the term “large cap” come up quite frequently. In our experience, large cap funds are top of list when the review turns to the stand-alone funds in the lineup. Given this place of prominence, it is critical to ponder its definition, its importance and how they can be utilized best in an efficient, participant-friendly manner within plan investment lineups. Large cap is an abbreviation of…

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Are You Ready for an Audit?

Several events can trigger a DOL or IRS audit, such as employee complaints or self-reporting under the annual submission of the Form 5500. Often times an audit is a random event, which is why you should always be prepared. Listed below are several key items typically requested in an initial letter sent by the IRS or the DOL in connection with a retirement plan audit. These items should be readily accessible by the plan administrator at all times the…

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Improper Handling of Hardship Distributions May Result in Significant Problems

These days, many plans are experiencing an uptick in the number of participant requests for hardship distributions. Much of this increased activity may be attributed to our prolonged and tepid economic recovery. As these requests are considered, you want to be sure not to act to the detriment of your plan. Improper handling of hardship requests can ultimately result in plan disqualification. It is important to understand what the law, and your plan document, allows so your actions do…

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Recruiting, Retaining, and Rewarding

Recruiting, retaining and rewarding key employees are not just goals of the largest companies in America—they are important to all companies. That’s why, in today’s environment, no plan sponsor can have a truly meaningful conversation about its total rewards package and retirement plan’s design without discussing non-qualified deferred compensation plans (NQDCPs). What is an NQDCP? As people live longer and lead more active lives, retirement plans and Social Security payments may not provide enough income for the highly compensated…

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No Beneficiary Designation — Who Gets The Money?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, retirement plans and IRAs account for about 60 percent of the assets of U.S. households investing at least $100,000.1 Both state and federal laws govern the disposition of these assets, and the results can be complicated, especially when the owner of the account has been divorced and remarried. Therefore, it is important for plan fiduciaries of qualified retirement plans to understand their role regarding beneficiary designations and the regulations that dictate….

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Tax Tips for the Self-Employed

Being self-employed has many advantages — the opportunity to be your own boss and come and go as you please, for example. However, it also comes with unique challenges, especially when it comes to how to handle taxes. Whether you’re running your own business or thinking about starting one, you’ll want to be aware of the specific tax rules and opportunities that apply to you. Understand the self-employment tax When you worked for an employer, payroll taxes to fund…

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Key Retirement and Tax Numbers for 2017

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service announces cost-of-living adjustments that affect key tax numbers including contribution limits for retirement plans, thresholds for deductions and credits, and standard deduction and personal exemption amounts. Here are a few of the key adjustments for 2017. Retirement plans Employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans can defer up to $18,000 in compensation in 2017 (the same as in 2016); employees age 50 and older can defer up to an additional…

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Complying With ERISA 404(c)

Complying with 404(c)

According to ERISA, plans intending to comply with 404(c) must provide that participants: Have the opportunity to choose from a broad range of investment alternatives (which are adequately diversified); may direct the investment of their accounts with a frequency which is appropriate; and can obtain sufficient information to make informed investment decisions. The plan sponsor must provide annual written notification to participants with its intent to comply with 404(c), and be able to provide the following: Information about investment…

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To Bond or Not to Bond

Over the last few years, there has been a fair bit of concern in the market over the general impact of rising bond interest rates. “You shouldn’t be holding bonds because rates will rise soon” goes the logic. But what does this really mean for investors? If interest rates rise, what will ultimately be the impact on investors’ portfolios? To understand this, we first need to understand how all of the moving pieces fit together. At a high level,…

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