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Technical Competence

Paying “Reasonable” Plan Expenses

403(b) advisors have the unenviable task of determining what qualifies as a “reasonable” plan expense, including the fees that fiduciaries receive from managing plans. Dale Vlasek writes that advisors should hold themselves to a high ethical standard, and shouldn’t shirk tough conversations or decisions.

Navigating the Regulatory Waters

Scott Hayes writes that, in today’s constantly-changing regulatory marketplace, it is crucial that financial services professionals don’t lose sight of the importance of the client-advisor relationship, something that never goes out of style.

Preparing for a 403(b) Audit, Part 1

Using the experiences of an Atlanta private school’s 403(b) plan as an example, Debra Warnacutt and Christine Roberts describe the steps that an advisor needs to take to prepare for a sponsored plan to be audited.

What’s Wrong with This 403(b) Plan?, Part 2

Debra Warnacutt and Christine Roberts’ follow-up to their 403(b) preparation article discusses some of the errors that can be uncovered during a plan audit, and the steps advisors can take to make sure they’re not repeated.

How to Resolve Common Deficiencies Uncovered During Plan Audits, Part 3

Debra Warnacutt and Christine Roberts’ third and final installment of their series focuses on the relatively new IRS and DoL regulations that allow plan advisors to correct and mitigate operational errors and compliance failures.

Is Your Public School District Being Told it’s a Fiduciary?

Ellie Lowder provides a helpful breakdown of how you can determine whether the school district you work for qualifies as a fiduciary or not.

5 Myths About Retirement

ASPPA CEO Brian Graff writes about the major misconceptions that national, state and local policymakers have about our current retirement system, one which exists in large part because of employer-based contribution and savings plans.

How Does the 20-Hour Rule Work for 403(b) Plans?

403(b) plans differ from private companies’ plans because the law requires them to be offered to all employees who work more than 20 hours a week…mostly.  Susan Diehl breaks down this IRS regulation and the potential caveats and questions that this rule creates for plan advisors.

The New 403(b) EPCRS Rules: It’s Complicated…

Robert Toth uses his law expertise to explain plainly how plan advisors can make sense of recent IRS regulations that affect the industry.

New Interest in IRS Audits: Is Meaningful Opportunity Being Provided?

The IRS is enforcing rules that mandate all school employees have access to their district’s 403(b) program, and Ellie Lowder explains how plan advisors play an integral role in ensuring equal and fair access.

An IRS Audit Roadmap: Report of the College and University Compliance Project

Michael Webb analyzes the report from the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Division that surveyed over 400 colleges and universities and explained some of the major issues that occur during a higher-ed audit.

15-Year Catch-Up Plan

Michael Webb shares his thoughts as to why popular opinion has shifted on the values of a 15-year catch-up provision in 403(b) plans.

403(b) Tax-Sheltered Annuity for Participant

The Internal Revenue Service published this white paper to help plan participants avoid unnecessary taxes and penalties, while maximizing their benefits and staying on the right side of the law.

Insurance Company Transfer Notice

The ERISA Advisory Council has prepared a prototype insurance company risk transfer notice for employers to provide to employees who receive pension payments from the employer or will receive them in the future. 

Lump Sum Notice

The ERISA Advisory Council has prepared a prototype lump sum notice for employers to provide to participants advising them that they can choose between keeping their pension or receiving a one-time lump sum payment. 

Sponsor Tip Sheet and FAQs

The ERISA Advisory Council has prepared a plan sponsor tip sheet and sample communications to educate participants on lifetime plan participation.