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The Real Value of NTSA Educational Opportunities

Amy L. Simonson

Did you know that the new Administrative Appendix will soon be a requirement for all 403(b) plan documents, and about the upcoming window for all plan sponsors to restate their existing plan?

And do you know the most common operational errors in administering a plan, and the new ways to fix them that are now available through IRS?

Do you know how to work effectively with different plans — from 401(a) to 403(b) to 457(b) — and the many nuances between governmental 403(b), charter school considerations and qualified church organizations?

NTSA has long been the most valuable source of information specific to non-ERISA 403(b) issues available anywhere. NTSA membership provides access to in-depth technical presentations delivered by recognized experts, and also insight into broad regulatory trends, industry trends, service provider trends and product provider trends.

There are so many ways to plug into the shared expertise — from articles, to webinars, to conferences and publications, beginning with the first 403(b) & 403(b)(7) Compliance Guide in 2007, and followed by the 403(b) Best Practices Manual that emerged out of the Compliance Resolution Summit in 2010, to the 2015 Best Practices for Auto-Enrollment. And the work is not done.

The recent 403(b) Masters Summit in Tucson, Ariz. Jan. 21-23 presented an opportunity to contribute to a second edition of the 403(b) Best Practices Manual, and to the development of a new 457(b) Best Practices edition. This year’s conference also provided a forum to earn the new Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor credential with boot camp training and on-site testing, as another way to encourage professional development for members in a way that is convenient and affordable, all in a collegial environment with other professionals sharing relevant experiences.

For anyone looking to stay informed, access to resources such as these — and the opportunity to meet with industry leaders and learn firsthand from national experts — are simply invaluable.

But beyond the technical learning opportunities, NTSA conferences also provide an unmatched opportunity to hear accomplished practitioners share stories about navigating challenges, eliminating barriers and solving problems. The NTSA is a valuable professional resource, and continues to demonstrate industry leadership as a forum for discussion and exploration in the midst of change and constantly emerging issues.

One thing is certain: The complexities involved in delivering financial products and services are continuing to increase, and the need for professionals to assist both individual clients and plans sponsor in navigating the changes will continue. From my perspective as a member for nearly 20 years, NTSA plays a vital role in raising the bar of excellence and professionalism in our industry.

I encourage every NTSA member to take advantage of these learning opportunities. I can say from personal experience, participating has added real value to my practice over the years and I look forward to taking part in those opportunities ahead.

Amy L. Simonson, CPFA, is co-founder and vice president, finance and operations at Verity Asset Management.

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