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From the NTSA Summit: New Best Practices Manual Being Developed

By Ellie Lowder, TGPC

A group of compliance officers, members of the legal profession, TPAs and financial advisors gathered for the entire morning before the start of the Jan. 21-23 NTSA Masters Summit to review and discuss the NTSA Best Practices Manual. Session leader Sue Diehl scheduled the four-hour meeting so the manual could be reviewed, discussed and amended as needed.

The manual was developed and has been in use for over five years (dating from the beginning date of the final 403(b) Regulations) to help establish consistency in the handling of compliance procedures to help the industry and plan sponsors meet the requirements of those regulations.

A number of recommendations resulted from the five separate discussion groups covering all of the best practices contained in the manual. The general consensus of the entire group was that little change is needed in the best practices covered in the manual; however, the group recommended that several items be added to the manual (including both the in-plan Roth 403(b) option and both in-plan and Roth IRA conversions from plan assets). It was also decided to ‘roll up’ into the best practices manual the auto-enrollment guide that was created for non-ERISA plans in 2015.

Sue Diehl, Kristi Cook and Ellie Lowder (all three facilitators of the meeting), plan to begin the rewrite of the Manual soon and NTSA members will be notified when the new edition is ready to be ordered. Since the entire group felt it very important that the new edition of the Best Practices Manual be widely used, the NTSA staff will put together a robust plan to publicize its availability.

“It is vital that the NTSA continue to promote consistency in compliance support on behalf of plan sponsors and participants so that the entire industry is on the same page in the handling of transactions in 403(b) plans. Using the Best Practices Manual will assure plan sponsors, TPAs and product providers (as well as their financial advisors) that meeting compliance responsibilities will not be too difficult to do” Diehl pointed out.

Ellie Lowder, TGPC

Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NTSA, or its members.