The IRS’s 2007 403(b) regulations fundamentally altered the 403(b) marketplace. The imposition by of those regulations of greater responsibility on 403(b) plan sponsors for maintaining the continued tax favored status of their plans triggered, among other things, efforts by a number of employers, employer related groups and advisers to attempt to consolidate both the compliance
Common PEP problems are barely addressed by the SECURE Act’s fix to the “one bad apple” rule (called the “unified plan rule” by the IRS, under which a participating employer’s disqualification error will disqualify the entire plan), though there seems to be a common misunderstanding in the industry to the contrary. That new “bad apple” fix actually has very little operational impact on a MEP /PEP whose operations has been affected by that bad actor. It provides only a narrow remedy to a narrow issue by which a P3 or lead sponsor can get rid of an employer who causes an operational/qualification error in the plan-though it may take up to a year to do so if one is to follow the IRS’s pre-SECURE Act proposed regs.
Continue Reading The Limited Utility of the “One Bad Apple” Rule Fix
None of the MEPS, PEPS, GoPs or CITs are silver bullets in and of themselves; but instead they are all tools to an end with substantially different features. But they all do commonly use the aggregated power of a collection of plans of unrelated employers to provide (each in different measure) advantageous investment pricing and selection; professional fiduciary services; and reduced compliance costs to a sorely underserved market. Benefit professionals have been educating themselves to familiarizing themselves with each of these arrangements, but this is not particularly a simple task. This is reflective of the fact that successful operation of MEPS, PEPs and GoPs (in particular) are heavily dependent on technology which is not easy to either build or maintain. They actually require a high level of sophistication and a substantial investment in technology to pull effectively accomplish. This “meptech” is at the heart of it all, used for the unique sort of data collection, manipulation, consolidation and control which is fundamental to success with these platforms. There a couple of “meptech” developments worth noting. I am hopeful to occasionally post developments here from time to time as they arise.
Continue Reading “Plan Aggregation” Update: Find Pooled Plan Providers In E-Fast2; SECURE Act Section 202’s “Group of Plans” Comes to the Forefront
PEPs become a real thing as of the first of the year, though there is still one heckuva paucity of guidance related to them. Many of you may now be pressed as to the question of whether or not you or your clients should choose this road. I had published a version of the following back in January, but it seems timely to provide it again (in slightly different form), as a hopefully useful tool when you try to weed through your own assessment of these arrangements. It is a Glossary we had put together, which is more topical now as ever. Keep this as a (hopefully) handy guide when you find yourself caught in the middle of a conversation about “PooledEmployer Plans” and need to quickly summarize the different MEP types:…
Continue Reading Pooled Employer Plans Are Nearly Upon Us: A Review of the Glossary May Help With Your Assessment
The new PEP rules do not add any new services to the marketplace. Rather, PEPs merely reorganize existing services to be provided in a different format, with the one exception is that it now permits unrelated employers to be able to file a consolidated Form 5500. The Department’s issuance of guidance as to the allocation of these different authorities (consistent with in ERISA Section 3(44)(C) which requires the Department to ‘‘(i) to identify the administrative duties and other actions required to be performed by a pooled plan provider…”) is a required condition precedent to the determination of whether any prohibited transaction exemptive relief is necessary in the operation of a PEP.
Continue Reading PEP Comment to DOL Outlines the Structure of PEPs
Normally, all of the players in any ERISA plan’s life cycle operates under any number of these well-established PTEs. However, in that the PEP is a new sort of arrangement, it is not entirely clear that these existing PTEs will be sufficient to pay all of the PEP players. To address this crucial issue, the DOL has issued a Request for Information on June 18 to gather information on what further, if any, PTE relief will be needed to make the PEP work.There are two noteworthy developments related to these efforts, s the ARA/ASPPA letter to EBSA requesting PTE relief for PEP operatives and, is the letter Congressman Neal wrote to the EBSA.
Continue Reading Rep. Neal and ARA/ASPPA Differently Address Fundamental Issues Underlying the DOL’s Pooled Employer Plan “Request For Information”
There is in the SECURE Act a volume of small, odd, technical details which need to which attention needs to be paid. This statute is a technocrat’s dream. So much in there actually raises fundamental infrastructure issues of the sort we rarely see. We are all familiar with the 80/20 rule, with the caution of not letting perfection become the enemy of good. Well, these “oddities” raise the exact inverse of the 80/20 rule: through my long years in retirement product development, the highest risk of failure arise from the lack of understanding of how the smallest of details can tank a multi-million dollar project. The “80” may sound good conceptually and structurally, but it is in the implementation of the detail in the 20 which will determine the success of the project.
Continue Reading Tontines and PEP Late Deferrals Are Among the SECURE Act’s Impactful, Infrastructure Oddities
The one topic which seems to be on the forefront of a significant number of professionals, however, is the attempt to make sense of the new MEP and PEP rules. This is especially so because they follow so closely on the Association Retirement Plan regs finalized by the DOL and the “Unified Plan (“bad apple”) rule proposed by the IRS. These commentators seem to be taking are common misstep, however: it seems like (with rare exception) that each of these analyses are missing the assessment of the use of the “Group of Plans,”or “GoP”, in relation to MEPs and PEPs.
Continue Reading A Valid “Multiple Employer Plans”/ “Pooled Employer Plans” Assessment Requires Inclusion of the “Group of Plans”
“Aggregating” plans has now taken center stage with the passage of the SECURE Act. We now often find ourselves a bit muddled by the new array of terms with which we now need to deal. Keep this as a handy glossary to guide when you find yourself caught in the middle of a conversation about “Multiple Employer Plans:”…
Continue Reading A Basic “Comparison Glossary” for MEPS and MEP Types After the SECURE Act
DOL’s new Field assistance Bulletin, 2019-01 is designed to correct common MEP Form 5500 filing issues. The most telling stories about this FAB is that (1) it establishes the data groundwork that both the DOL and the IRS need to determine what requirements will need to be imposed when RESA and SECURE (or their successors) eventually pass; and (2) for those who argued that this data is somehow an unwarranted imposition of an administrative burden on MEP operations need to be prepared, I think, for a substantial new set of regulations over time designed so that the agencies have sufficient information to fulfill their mandate.
Continue Reading DOL’s Unexpected New MEP Field Assistance Bulletin 2019-01: A First Housekeeping Step in Getting Ready for New MEPs and Group Arrangement Rules