Defined benefit plan

PBGC Follows IRS in Granting Deadline Relief to Indiana Storm Victims

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)—the agency with primary oversight over and providing insurance for defined benefit pension plans—has issued Disaster Relief Announcement 18-04, describing special relief the agency is granting to plans and to designated persons due to storm and flooding events in Indiana. Designated persons generally are those responsible for meeting a PBGC deadline.

This PBGC announcement cites IRS News Release IN-2018-01 in defining the Indiana counties covered and the timeframe for deadline extensions. The Indiana counties included in the relief at this time are Carroll, Clark, Elkhart, Floyd, Harrison, Jefferson, Lake, Marshall, and St. Joseph. Deadlines falling on or after February 14, 2018, and on or before June 29, 2018, are generally postponed to June 29, 2018.

The PBGC deadline relief applies to the following actions.

  • Payment of PBGC insurance premiums (single and multi-employer plans)
  • Filing termination notices (single-employer plans)
  • Completing the distribution of plan assets (single-employer plans)
  • Filing post-distribution certification, Form 501 (single-employer plans)
  • Filing for distress termination, Form 601
  • Filing a “reportable event” notice
  • Filing Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan
  • Certain plans with underfunding, missed contribution, or funding waivers that must file special actuarial information within 15 days following the filing of their Form 5500, will have an extension of 15 days beyond the disaster extension date.

Bob Entringer and James Lucania Join Board of Directors for Ascensus Trust

Retired Commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions and Ascensus CFO Appointed as Board Members

Dresher, PA—Ascensus, a technology-enabled service provider that helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future, has appointed Bob Entringer and James Lucania to the board of directors for Ascensus Trust.

Ascensus Trust provides comprehensive trust and custodial services to employee benefits plans across the nation, offering integrated solutions that increase efficiency and make it simpler for business owners to manage their plans. It is overseen by a seven-member board of directors (four independent and three internal).

Entringer joins the board as an independent director, bringing over 35 years of experience to his role. Prior to joining the board of directors, he served as Commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions, where he was responsible for regulating financial institutions, protecting the public, and ensuring that federal regulation did not infringe on state chartered institutions’ abilities to effectively serve their clients. Entringer replaced Clifton “Buzz” Hudgins, who retired from the board after serving since 1992.

Continuing independent board members include:

  • Marilyn Foss, general counsel for the North Dakota’s Banker Association, a director since 1987;
  • Jim Hambrick, senior vice president of Cornerstone Bank, a director since 2016; and
  • Sandi Piatz, site leader of Fargo, ND Microsoft Campus, a director since 2017.

Lucania joins the board as an internal member and will serve as chairman, bringing extensive financial services industry experience to his role. He currently serves as Ascensus’ chief financial officer. Continuing internal board members include Rick Irace, chief operating officer of the firm’s retirement division, and Brad Kraft, president of trust services.

“We’re excited for Bob and James to join the Ascensus Trust board of directors,” said Bob Guillocheau, Ascensus’ chairman and chief executive officer. “Their industry experience and leadership skills will go a long way toward helping us shape policies that enhance the client experience and help more Americans save for life’s most important milestones.”

 About Ascensus

Ascensus helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future—retirement, college, and healthcare— through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports approximately 54,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 college savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.6 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of December 31, 2017, Ascensus had over $163 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.

View career opportunities at http://careers.ascensus.com/page/show/tpa and careers.ascensus.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus. For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc on Twitter.


ERISA Advisory Group Recommends Streamlining Retirement Plan Disclosure Process

The ERISA Advisory Council in late 2017 issued a report recommending that the Department of Labor (DOL) take certain steps to enhance the process of providing mandated retirement plan disclosures.

The Council itself is a body composed of representatives from several financial services disciplines, representatives from employers and from employee organizations, and the general public. The Council was created by the 1974 ERISA legislation that governs tax-favored retirement savings plans with its purpose being to advise the Secretary of Labor in matters pertaining to ERISA governance of these plans.

This study, entitled Mandated Disclosure for Retirement Plans – Enhancing Effectiveness for Participants and Sponsors, makes several recommendations, including the following.

  • Explore more fully the option of providing disclosures to participants by electronic means, with the objective of reducing burdens on plan sponsors and helping participants better understand their benefits.
  • Combine elements of a plan’s Summary Plan Description and Summary of Material Modifications documents into a single, more readable “quick reference guide” to be distributed to plan participants annually.
  • Create an alternative to the current requirement to provide to participants a Summary Annual Report, which contains selected information from a plan’s filing of Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan. An alternative proposed by the Council would be to provide participants with information on how to access the plan sponsor’s filed Form 5500, from which certain information contained in the Summary Annual Report is now drawn.
  • Simplify the single-employer defined benefit pension plan annual funding notice, focusing on funded status and other key items of information.

Sample disclosures reflecting the above recommendations have been drafted by members of the ERISA Advisory Council.  (The DOL notes in the published document that Mandated Disclosure for Retirement Plans – Enhancing Effectiveness for Participants and Sponsors reflects positions taken by the Advisory Council, not the DOL itself.)


Rules Modified for Interest Calculations for Pre-Approved Cash Balance Plans

The IRS has released Revenue Procedure 2018-21, modifying existing rules used by pre-approved defined benefit plans to calculate interest credits. The updated rules now allow for pre-approved defined benefit plans containing a cash balance formula to provide for the actual rate of return on plan assets as the rate used to determine said interest credits. This method was previously not allowed for pre-approved cash balance plans, for which IRS will issue approval letters this month.

 


IRS Announces When to Expect DB Plan Opinion and Advisory Letters

The IRS has issued Announcement 2018-05, describing when it expects to begin issuing opinion and advisory letters for master, prototype, and volume submitter (pre-approved) defined benefit (DB) pension plans. The IRS indicates that it will issue the letters on March 30, 2018, or as soon after that date as possible. During the period May 1, 2018, through April 30, 2020, the IRS will accept applications for determination letters for those plans eligible to request them. The adoption period for these plans ends April 30, 2020. (Ann. 2018-05 advises that future guidance will announce a delayed beginning date for the third six-year remedial amendment cycle.)


PBGC Announces Relief for Tropical Storm Victims in American Samoa

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)—the government division with primary oversight over defined benefit pension plans—issued Disaster Relief Announcement 18-02, describing special relief the agency is granting to plans and to designated persons (those responsible for meeting a PBGC deadline) in American Samoa due to Tropical Storm Gita.

This PBGC announcement cites IRS news release AS-2018-01 in aligning the timeframe parameters for deadline extensions. Covered deadlines that fall on or after February 7, 2018, and on or before June 29, 2018, are extended to June 29, 2018.

The PBGC deadline relief applies to the following actions.

  • Payment of PBGC insurance premiums (single and multi-employer plans)
  • Filing termination notices (single-employer plans)
  • Completing the distribution of plan assets (single-employer plans)
  • Filing post-distribution certification, Form 501 (single-employer plans)
  • Filing for distress termination, Form 601
  • Filing a reportable event notice
  • Filing Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan
  • Certain plans with underfunding, missed contributions, or funding waivers that must file special actuarial information within 15 days following the filing of their Form 5500 will have until July 14, 2018, to do so (15 days following the Form 5500 extended filing deadline of June 29, 2018).

 


Ascensus Continues to Add to Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Expertise with Agreement to Acquire Qualified Plans LLC

Agreement Allows Firm to Expand TPA Presence in Southeastern U.S.

Ascensus, a technology-enabled service provider that helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future, has entered into an agreement to acquire Qualified Plans LLC (“Qualified Plans”). The third-party administration (TPA) firm will immediately become part of Ascensus TPA Solutions.

Headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, Qualified Plans provides plan design, consultation, compliance, and administration services for defined contribution and defined benefit plans. The firm’s relationship managers, who average over 20 years of industry experience, oversee every aspect of the retirement planning operation to ensure that plans are as efficient and effective as possible.

“Acquiring Qualified Plans to become part of our TPA Solutions business is another indication of Ascensus’ ongoing commitment to providing high-quality solutions to advisors through a platform-independent, open-architecture business model,” states David Musto, Ascensus’ president. “Qualified Plans’ dedication to outstanding client service makes them a solid addition to Ascensus—we welcome their associates and their expertise in delivering efficient and high-quality plan retirement plans along with administration and actuarial services to our family.”

“At Qualified Plans, we strive to create the perfect plan to fit the needs of our clients,” says John Massey, managing partner for Qualified Plans. “We look forward to continuing to offer our professional expertise and partnership as part of the Ascensus family so that we may assist clients in achieving the long-term results they deserve.”

“The southeastern U.S. is an important market for us, and we are delighted to acquire a well-regarded firm like Qualified Plans,” says Raghav Nandagopal, Ascensus’ executive vice president of corporate development and M&A. “Their long track record of providing personalized services on a national scale fits very well with Ascensus’ TPA Solutions strategy. Qualified Plans is one of several additions we will make to our national footprint and capability set in 2018; we see many attractive opportunities ahead.”

About Ascensus
Ascensus helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future—retirement, college, and healthcare—through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports approximately 50,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 college savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.7 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of September 30, 2017, Ascensus had over $158 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. For more information about Ascensus TPA Solutions, visit tpa.ascensus.com.

View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com/page/show/tpa and careers.ascensus.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus. For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc on Twitter.


Ascensus Bolsters Defined Benefit Plan Expertise with Acquisition of Dedicated Defined Benefit Services

New and Existing Clients Stand to Benefit from Firm’s Expanding Stable of Resources

Dresher, PA – Ascensus, a technology-enabled service provider that helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future, has acquired Dedicated Defined Benefit Services (“Dedicated DB”). The defined benefit plan design, administration, and consulting firm will immediately become part of Ascensus’ TPA Solutions line of business within the company’s retirement division. With the acquisition, Ascensus will be able to offer clients access to even more retirement plan experience and expertise while adding another location to its geographic footprint.

Dedicated DB, which is based in Glendale, California, is the only national company focused exclusively on providing defined benefit plans for high-income professionals, small businesses, and individuals with self-employment income. The firm pioneered the turnkey defined benefit plan, partnering with large financial firms to open streamlined, ready-to-use plans across the country.

“We recognized Dedicated DB as an excellent candidate to join Ascensus based on their commitment to helping clients keep more of their earnings by offering the most complete and tax-efficient retirement programs available,” states David Musto, Ascensus’ president. “In addition to benefiting from Dedicated DB’s strong RIA, advisor, and institutional relationships, we’re also delighted to further expand our national footprint and offer clients enhanced access to deep defined benefit expertise.”

“At Dedicated DB, we pride ourselves on our reputation and do our best to help our clients—financial advisors, CPAs, and business owners—meet their goals,” says Karen Shapiro, Dedicated DB’s chief executive officer. “Becoming part of Ascensus ensures that we’ll be able to provide quality, quick-adoption retirement plans for many years to come.”

“Dedicated DB adds some very compelling lead-sourcing technology to Ascensus’ toolkit,” says Raghav Nandagopal, Ascensus’ executive vice president of corporate development and M&A. “We continue to look for companies that will not only allow us to assist Americans in saving for retirement, college, and healthcare, but also help our company to grow and fuel our ongoing investment in service offerings and technology.”

 

About Ascensus
Ascensus helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future—retirement, college, and healthcare—through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports approximately 50,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 college savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.7 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of September 30, 2017, Ascensus had over $158 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. For more information about Ascensus TPA Solutions, visit tpa.ascensus.com.

View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com/page/show/tpa and careers.ascensus.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus. For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc on Twitter.

 


PBGC Publishes Retirement Age Table for Certain DB Plans in Distress or Involuntary Termination

The Department of Labor’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has published a final rule in yesterday’s Federal Register that includes a new retirement age table for single-employer defined benefit (DB) pension plans undergoing distress or involuntary termination, and having valuation dates falling in 2018.

This guidance states, “This rule amends the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s regulation on Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans by substituting a new table for determining expected retirement ages for participants in pension plans undergoing distress or involuntary termination with valuation dates falling in 2018. This table is needed to compute the value of early retirement benefits, and thus the total value of benefits under the plan.”


DOL Announces Defined Benefit Plan Relief Following California Wildfires

The Department of Labor’s Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)—the DOL division with primary oversight over defined benefit pension plans—has released Disaster Relief Announcement 17-17 that describes special relief the agency is granting to plans and to designated persons (those responsible for meeting a PBGC deadline) due to wildfire events in California.

The PBGC announcement cites IRS news release CA-2017-06 as setting the timing parameters for deadline extensions. Certain events whose normal deadline is on or after October 8, 2017, and on or before January 31, 2018, may be completed through January 31, 2018. The relief covers the same area identified in IRS news release CA-2017-06, which at this time includes Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

The deadline relief for defined benefit plans includes the following actions.

  • Payment of PBGC insurance premiums (single and multi-employer plans)
  • Filing termination notices (single-employer plans)
  • Completing the distribution of plan assets (single-employer plans)
  • Filing post-distribution certification, Form 501 (single-employer plans)
  • Filing for distress termination, Form 601
  • Filing a reportable event notice
  • Filing Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan
  • Certain plans with underfunding, missed contribution, or funding waivers that must file special actuarial information within 15 days following the filing of their Form 5500, will have until January 31, 2018, for such filing.