Connections for Success


Employee Benefit Plans


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.


What Is Buried Inside Your 401(k) or 403(b) Plan Fees?
Larry A. Ruff

Do you know and understand what are your 401(k) or 403(b) plan’s fees, and especially, what are inside those buried fees? Broadly speaking, retirement plan fees consist of fees and expenses associated with plan administration services, such as record keeping fees, and plan investment activities, such as investment management fees. But what are the fees buried inside your plan’s investment funds?


Year-End Notices: Staying on Top of the Requirements
Stephanie M. Zaleski

As the calendar year comes to a close, plan sponsors should begin preparing annual notices. For plans using the calendar year, numerous notices are due to be given in the next few months. This article highlights some of the notices that must be sent to either participants, the IRS or the DOL in the next three months.


The Supreme Court Takes on 401(k) Fees
James Pellino

The Supreme Court may review your company’s 401(k) plan as it did in a recent case. This is what happened a few months ago when the Supreme Court ruled on the Tibble V. Edison case.

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