Connections for Success


Employee Benefit Plans


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 […]


Audit Communications to Plan Sponsors More Robust Under SAS 136
Stephanie M. Zaleski-Braatz

The AICPA’s Statement on Accounting Standards No. 136 (SAS 136), “Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), will meaningfully change the audit process for defined contribution plan sponsors. The AICPA issued SAS 136 with the goal of giving readers of […]


IRS Compliance Checklist: Keep Your Plan Running Smoothly and Legally
James Pellino

Some IRS compliance requirements for plan sponsors may be more familiar than others. Because knowledge of even the most basic rules tends to vary, the IRS offers a 401(k) plan checklist of the top compliance tasks. It is a good idea to test your plan against this checklist. Before you start Both you and your […]


How To Prepare for a Plan Audit
Kenneth Kobiernicki

In most cases, the odds of receiving notice from the IRS or Department of Labor (DOL) stating that they plan to audit your retirement plan are slim. However, if that situation arises, it is important to be prepared for what lies ahead. Knowing what is involved can enable you to stay on top of your […]


Sign Your Plan Document, Warns the IRS
Stephanie M. Zaleski-Braatz

When the IRS audits a retirement plan, it expects the plan sponsor to produce a plan document and amendments that have been signed by the relevant fiduciaries. Except under extraordinary circumstances, an unsigned plan document will not suffice. The IRS recently reiterated this position in a memorandum issued by the Office of Chief Counsel. It […]


Watch Employee Turnover Rate to Avoid Partial Termination
Michael Kovacs

If you have laid off more than 20% of your plan participants over the course of your plan year — an unfortunate necessity for many employers during the COVID-19 pandemic — the IRS could deem that your retirement plan has undergone a “partial termination.” Such a partial termination would trigger the immediate vesting of all […]


SECURE Act: Changes to 401(k) Plan Eligibility and Vesting for Part-Time Employees
Kenneth Kobiernicki

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 contained the most significant legislative changes to the private-sector retirement system in decades. One of the SECURE Act’s provisions changes the 401(k) plan eligibility requirements for part-time employees. Related Read: What You Need to Know About the SECURE Act Understanding the rule Previously, part-time […]


Understanding Private Equity Investments in Defined Contribution Plans
James Pellino

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently released an “information letter” in response to inquiries from the private equity industry as to whether private equity investments can be offered to defined contribution plans. Per the DOL’s response, it will allow defined contribution plans to offer indirect investment in private equity funds. Is this a good fit […]


Should You Establish a Retirement Plan Governance Committee?
James Quaid

Retirement plan governance is the system through which key decisions are made about strategy and operations, including plan design, administration and investment choices. Typically, at the core of plan governance is an official plan governance committee. Although the Department of Labor (DOL) and IRS do not require a plan to have a plan governance committee, […]


How to Handle Laid-Off Employees’ 401(k) Accounts Still in Your Plan
Stephanie M. Zaleski-Braatz

As employee headcount grows, some turnover now and then usually does not create many concerns about “orphan” 401(k) accounts.  However, employers forced to downsize during the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic might have a larger proportion of accounts left behind by former employees. This could be a problem, but there are some […]

Older posts

Forward Thinking