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The SCOTUS’s Church Plan Ruling in Stapleton Affirms Both the QCCO’s and Non-QCCO’s Ability to Maintain ERISA Exempt 403(b) Plans

Posted in Uncategorized
There are three kinds of 403(b) church plans: the plans of “steeple church”; those of the “Qualified Church Controlled Organizations” (or ”QCCO”, of which the K-12 parochial schools of a church are the best example); and of the “Non-Qualified Church Controlled Organization” (or “Non-QCCO”, of which church hospitals and universities are among the most common… Continue Reading

403(b) Policy Loan’s Continued Form 5500 Reporting Problem

Posted in Uncategorized
One of the more intractable issues with which ERISA 403(b) plans sponsors must deal with every year arises from the “policy loans” issued by insurance carriers under the 403(b) annuity contracts held under the plans. There is simply no good way to report these loans on the Form 5500, and the newly proposed Form 5500 changes do not address this ongoing issue.… Continue Reading

MEPS Aren’t What They Are Seem; Alternative More Efficient at Achieving Scale

Posted in Multiple Employer Plans, Uncategorized
A more effective alternative at providing scale than the MEP platform, and one which really is made possible by technology, is what the DOL describes in its MEP IB as the "Prototype Approach," versions of which are apparently being considered by several states. It provides those small plans the buying power and access to expertise which are at the heart of MEPs, doing so without that platform's inherent difficulties. … Continue Reading

The 403(b) QLAC

Posted in Lifetime Income, Uncategorized
The QLAC seems to be in the 403(b) “sweet spot”, considering that 403(b) annuities were originally designed to provide lifetime income in the first place. However, as with all things 403(b), however, there are a few unusual twists when trying to put a QLAC in a 403(b) arrangement. Here are a few of the things to consider… Continue Reading

State Auto-IRAs and Federal Law: “We’ve already stepped on that rake…..”

Posted in 403(b), Auto-IRA, Automatic Workplace Pension, B/D-IA Issues, Lifetime Income, Retirement Plan Securities Issues, Uncategorized
Chuck Thulin, a fine ERISA attorney from Seattle, WA, chaired the DOL practitioner panel at the latest (and very successful) annual meeting of the 5 regional TE/GE Councils, in Baltimore.  When I commented that we’d  “been there, done that” when discussing some obscure rule,  he told me of reading of the Russian language version of that… Continue Reading

DOL’s Fiduciary Proxy Voting Rules Makes Upcoming Proxy Season “Dicey” for Plan Fiduciaries

Posted in Uncategorized
 Its going to be a demanding year for fiduciaries of retirement plans, particularly of those in the small and mid-market which are not particularly accustomed to paying close attention to them. I have blogged earlier on the increased fiduciary demands related to the new data provided to fiduciaries under the 2008 Form 5500 Schedule C… Continue Reading

2009 Form 5500 Schedules A and C Will Create New Fiduciary Burdens For Plan Sponsors

Posted in Uncategorized
Retirement plan vendors throughout the industry are engaging in efforts to prepare for the new disclosure requirements for the 2009 Form 5500 schedules, particularly the disclosures related to direct and indirect compensation under Schedule C and the substantial requirements for Schedule A. I had the pleasure of a couple of informative conversations this week which… Continue Reading

403(b) Fiduciary Challenges Demand Applying ERISA in Unique Way

Posted in 403(b), Uncategorized
So what are we finding as we get down to this nitty gritty of things? Most striking is the unique ways in which ERISA's fiduciary rules will need to be used in their application to ERISA 403(b) plans. It is not that the rules were never there in the past, it is just that the new rules have forced the industry and employers to more closely define their relationships and the duties for which vendors and employers will each be responsible. This process of defining roles have caused us all to look more closely at how the rules apply, in ways we have never done in the past....Let me give you an example...What are the ERISA implications of a fund substitution under individual annuities for the 403(b) plan fiduciary?… Continue Reading
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