Archive for June, 2012

How to Find a Lost Pension

Perhaps you have a former employer that went out of business or was acquired by another employer and you did not receive a distribution from the pension plan after you left.  You may find yourself in this situation or possibly helping a parent or someone else.   The PBGC has created a resource for such situations at http://www.pbgc.gov/docs/finding_a_lost_pension.pdf.   The site has guidance regarding how to research the process and which documents to locate such as a benefit statement that shows you are entitled to the pension.   The guide also has contact information for those individuals who need additional help.

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June 29, 2012 at 6:29 am Leave a comment

Protecting the Plan Just in Case

A Plan Fiduciary has many different responsibilities.   The most important duty a Plan Fiduciary has is maintaining the plan in the best interests of plan participants.   Recently, I posted an example of plan embezzlement.  One way of protecting the plan against fraud or dishonesty including theft is through the purchase of an ERISA fidelity bond.  There are exceptions regarding what plans must have the bond, but most retirement plans are required to be bonded.  In addition, there is no penalty for a plan to have a bond if not required or to exceed minimum bond requirements.

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June 28, 2012 at 7:20 am Leave a comment

When Plan Fiduciaries Ignore Their Duties

A Plan Fiduciary has many different responsibilities.   The most important duty a Plan Fiduciary has is maintaining the plan in the best interests of plan participants.   Part of that responsibility includes having employee deposits made on a timely basis.  One significant warning sign for employees of problems with their retirement plans is not seeing the deposits made when the funds were withheld from their pay.

The EBSA has a link on their web site updating the public on their enforcement actions.   An example of a plan fiduciary, specifically the trustee, pleading guilty for not making the employee deposits to the plan and other related plan embezzlement is located on their site at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/cepr040612a.pdf. This case reminds us how important ethics and accountability is for everyone involved in the pension industry.

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June 27, 2012 at 6:31 am Leave a comment

Fee Disclosure Poll

If you have a chance, please let me know if you plan to closely review the upcoming retirement plan fee disclosures below:

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June 26, 2012 at 6:37 am Leave a comment

Is It Time for Plan Fiduciaries to Review Fees?

On Friday, I noted that Plan Fiduciaries had a responsibility to monitor service provider fees and ensure they are reasonable in order to ensure they are protecting the interests of plan participants.  One of the interesting implications of the new fee disclosure legislation is that some service providers have reduced their fees.   If a plan has not seen its fees reduced, it may be a great time to break with any pre-determined monitoring schedules and check early.

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June 25, 2012 at 6:52 am Leave a comment

Plan Fiduciary Responsibilities

A Plan Fiduciary has many different responsibilities.   Those responsibilities include being prudent, maintaining investment diversification and having reasonable fees.   Smart plan fiduciaries maintain records regarding all of their duties.  Although I hope no fiduciary ends up in the situation, a plan fiduciary may need to demonstrate that they performed due diligence in their duties.  For instance, the fiduciary may need to prove that the fees that were charged to the plan were competitive and reasonable. With the upcoming fee disclosures, there is always a chance that this could come up. One way to demonstrate due diligence might be checking fee schedules against competitors for the plan’s service providers every few years. Then, documenting that the fees are competitive for corporate records would be one way to illustrate that the plan fiduciary is complying with this requirement.

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June 22, 2012 at 5:52 am 1 comment

The IRS’s Information Efforts

The IRS has great retirement plan related newsletters.  For practitioners, Employee Plan News is informative and frequently has updates regarding the Phone Forums. Another great newsletter to make your clients aware of is the Retirement News for Employers newsletter.  Sign up at http://www.irs.gov/retirement/article/0,,id=154835,00.html.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!   Please be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow me on twitter.

June 21, 2012 at 7:12 am Leave a comment

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Christine Gurney

A pension professional who shares her thoughts and ideas about the pension world for industry members and anyone else interested.

@ChristineGurney

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