Connections for Success


Employee Benefit Plans


Reduce Plan Leakage by Upgrading Your 401(k) Loan Rules and Practices
Stephanie M. Zaleski

If your retirement plan allows loans and/or hardship withdrawals, it may be leaking money. Plan leakage refers to participants allowing their account balances to shrink, because of either loans or hardship withdrawals. Plan loans do not always result in permanent leakage when they are repaid, but they still can have adverse long-term consequences for participants.


Identity Theft Puts Plan Participants and Sponsors at Risk
James Quaid

News of commercial database hackings involving personal information seems all too common. While many of these stories focus on bank and credit card accounts, many plan sponsors and participants do not realize that 401(k) plan assets may also be at risk.


Plan Documents: Be Proactive to Avoid Violations
James Pellino

Anyone administering a retirement plan quickly realizes that it can be a daunting task. A key requirement that many administrators inadvertently miss is operating the plan in accordance to the plan documents.


The Rise in Cash Balance Plans
Kenneth Kobiernicki

Cash balance plans, a defined benefit plan that defines the benefit in terms that are more characteristic of a defined contribution plan, has grown in popularity in recent years.  According to the statistics per the most recent IRS Form 5500 filings, these hybrid plans have increased by approximately 17%, whereas traditional 401(k) plans increased by a more modest 3% over the same time period. 


DOL Increases Scrutiny of Defined Benefit Plans
Michael Kovacs

Defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors might be facing tighter scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Last year the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) ramped up pension audit operations in its Philadelphia office, and later decided to do so elsewhere, the agency announced at an ERISA Advisory Council meeting.


How to Handle Orphaned 401(k) Plan Accounts
Stephanie M. Zaleski

It’s become common for 401(k) plans to include a significant number of orphan accounts due to employees changing jobs more frequently and much of the workforce hitting the retirement age. If your plan has a lot of them, it might be time to think about whether it’s time to actively pursue these accounts. The answer depends in part on how your plan charges administrative fees and the value of these orphaned 401(k) accounts.


Trivial Retirement Plan Changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Right?
Larry A. Ruff

At first glance, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) did not change much regarding retirement plans. None of the rumored changes were included in the TCJA, such as the so-called “Rothification.”  Moreover, there were no changes to retirement plan limits or rules regarding contributions. Well admittedly, the TCJA did change a few things.


Target Date Funds – Confusion?
James Quaid

The proliferation of target date fund (TDF) varieties can confuse many plan sponsors. One survey found that while nearly two-thirds of plan sponsors consider investment performance the most important selection criterion when choosing a TDF for their participants, more than half are not confident that they have a solid basis for benchmarking the TDFs against […]


Consider Your Options With Nonvested Participant Forfeitures
Michael Kovacs

Employee benefit plans provide a combination of vested and nonvested assets. When employees leave a company before their matching 401(k) contributions have vested, they forfeit those amounts. This brief article reviews the options available to plan sponsors when dealing with these assets.


IRS Simplifies Process for Avoiding Rollover Penalties

In the past, retirement plan participants have found the process to rollover their retirement plan a tedious and sometimes costly process if proper procedures are not followed. However, recently the IRS has made it a lot easier for retirement plan participants and IRA owners to avoid penalties when they botch a rollover. This article discusses new IRS Revenue Procedure 2016-47, which allows participants to “self-certify” valid reasons to the receiving financial institution.

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