Connections for Success


Employee Benefit Plans


Understanding Your 401(K) Plan Compliance Testing
Larry A. Ruff

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires plan sponsors of qualified retirement plans, such as a defined contribution plan or 401(k) plan, to act solely in the interests of participants and their beneficiaries. This means that the plan sponsor, as a fiduciary, must ensure that the plan itself does not discriminate in […]


M&A Could Be the Next Challenge for Plan Sponsors… Are You Ready?
Kenneth Kobiernicki

Despite fears over the COVID-19 pandemic, companies took advantage of low-interest rates to create an unprecedented increase in mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity in 2021.  Company retirement plans and their participants are typically an afterthought when M&A activity is happening at such a rapid pace. It is important to focus on a few areas that […]


DOL Alert: Proposed Regulation on Environmental, Social and Governance Investing and Shareholder Rights
Michael Kovacs

The Department of Labor (DOL) is preparing to finalize a proposed rule that changes the way environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are viewed in a plan sponsor’s investment process and proxy voting methods. The proposal, which was issued in October 2021, aims to help plan sponsors understand their responsibilities when investing in ESG strategies […]


Plan Sponsor Alert: Revisiting De-Risking Options
James Quaid

Thanks to better returns and an uptick in discount rates used to value plan liabilities, defined benefit plans’ funding statuses have improved to some of their highest levels since the Great Recession. Many plan sponsors are eager to preserve these gains and want to take risk off their balance sheet by implementing “de-risking strategies.” Because […]


Pooled Employer Plans — What Is New in 2022
Michael Kovacs

Beginning January 1, 2021, pooled plan providers could start Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs), which Congress created to expand access to retirement benefits by allowing companies in unrelated industries to participate in a multiple employer plan (MEP).  Related Read: Pooled Employer Plans: A Look at How Small Employers Can Benefit The Story of Pooled Employer Plans, from […]


What the Great Resignation Means for 401(k) Accounts
Stephanie M. Zaleski-Braatz

United States workers are continuing to leave their jobs and employers are struggling with high levels of employee turnover. Another 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in February alone, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, the number of job openings in the U.S remains elevated at 11.3 million, as […]


Is Suspending Employer Matching or Nondiscretionary Contributions the Right Move?
Kenneth Kobiernicki

The current economic uncertainty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and high levels of inflation across the board has led plan sponsors to consider cost-cutting options. Historically, employer contributions to 401(k) plan accounts are high on the list of options when times are tough. In fact, during the global financial crisis of 2008 employer matching […]


Is It Time for a Collective Investment Trust?
James Pellino

Collective investment trusts (CITs) are winning the hearts, minds and dollars of growing numbers of defined contribution (DC) plans. If you are not aware of the trend, it might be time to learn what CITs are and how they have evolved since the days when they were standard fixtures of DC plans. Collective investment trust […]


Is Your Plan’s Matching Contribution Formula Delivering Results?
James Quaid

Offering matching contributions under a 401(k) plan can serve two purposes: 1) Provide a valuable benefit to your employees; and 2) Encourage plan participants to play a meaningful role in preparing for their own retirements. The trick is to do both in a way that is affordable for both you and your employees. How can […]


Which Plan Documents Must You Surrender if You Are Sued?
Michael Kovacs

When participants believe they have been mistreated by your company’s retirement plan and take their complaints to court, be prepared for requests for plan documents. Although under ERISA you are obligated to produce relevant materials, you are not required to indulge in a document fishing expedition. A recent court case, Theriot v. Building Trades United […]

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