Connections for Success


Employee Benefit Plans


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 […]


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 […]

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