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Reporting for 403(b)s

Q. You have a client that was taken over by another firm. They are preparing the plan 5500 and have asked you for information regarding your client accounts under the old voluntary part of the plan. They say they need that their former TPA did not track that information and that they need it in order to file. But before trying to gather this information, you want to verify that it is actually needed.

The employer only has one 403(b) plan. Is it necessary to report stats for the 403(b) on the 5500 for the ERISA part of the plan? Does the voluntary distinction disappear when the employer installs an ERISA plan?

A. You are correct that the 403(b) plan document will govern the situation. If the “voluntary 403(b) contract” is now a part of the ERISA plan (this would be outlined in the vendor attachment) then yes, they would need the data. The former TPA may not have aggregated the assets that were in the legacy contracts but are still a part of the ERISA plan.

The only way that the old 403(b) contract would not be a part of the ERISA plan is if the employer adopted a separate plan document that covered the legacy vendors, and then it will depend on what type of plan the employer adopted — ERISA or non-ERISA. If the plan was meant to be a non-ERISA plan, then any approvals of transactions would need to be made by the vendor that holds the assets and the employer cannot be involved with the plan except to approve the investment vehicles.