Benefit plan sponsors and administrators need to keep administration procedures up-to-date in order to comply with regulations. And now this need is more urgent than ever.
Recent regulations, such as the Pension Protection Act of 2006, have introduced a series of new requirements in the areas of plan administration, compliance and plan investments. These requirements, as well as the recent focus on Defined Contribution (DC) plan market-related fees and transparency, make now a good time to take a fresh, intensive look at your plan architecture.
DC-Assessment: Helping You Meet Your Fiduciary Responsibilities
DC-Assessment is a combined service offered by Sibson Consulting and Segal Marco Advisors, our SEC-registered investment solutions affiliate, that addresses the implications of new and emerging plan requirements, helps you develop an action plan for enhancing current processes and procedures and assists with ongoing plan compliance.
This combined service offering includes a review of the four key aspects of DC plan management: Administration, Compliance, Communication and Investment — with an eye toward helping you meet your fiduciary responsibilities now and in the future.
A basic outline of Sibson's DC-Assessment offerings can be found below. For more information, please contact your Sibson consultant or contact us to request a brief telephone conference to see how DC-Assessment can serve you and your business.
- Evaluating trust set-up and arrangement
- Reviewing responsibilities of administrators and delegates
- Ensuring that processes and procedures comply with regulations
- Reviewing effectiveness of technology and systems
- Reviewing procedure for processing statements
- Evaluating contract and service guarantees
- Reviewing reporting functionality
- Evaluating transactions processing
- Assessing capability of retirement planning tools to project balances/benefits and combine defined benefit (DB) results with DC results
- Evaluating implementation of new plans/participant groups
- Assessing employee communications and, if necessary, developing a plan to communicate changes and help plan sponsors meet 404(c) requirements
- Ensuring that communications to employees are clear and compelling
- Evaluating frequency of plan communications
Taking an active role in 403(b) plan management does not need to be daunting if you consider the three C's:
- Consolidate: A review of 403(b) investment options generally reveals too many unstructured choices without regard for performance or fees. Sponsors should establish a meaningful portfolio of "better class" investment offerings.
- Comply: Sponsors need to have a formal plan document that outlines plan participant eligibility requirements and optional provisions such as auto enrollment, catch-up contributions and loans.
- Communicate: Employees are going to have many questions about how the new requirements will affect their 403(b) savings. Plan sponsors will want to inform participants of investment options, administration protocols and how to obtain additional information.
Whether you need assistance in consolidating, complying or communicating, Sibson can help. In addition to providing general consulting on plan design and non-discrimination issues, we offer the following specialized services:
- Investment Review: If you already have the 403(b) plan vendors you want, Segal Marco Advisors can review the plan's investment structure to ensure you are providing the appropriate investment options for your participants.
- Request for Proposal (RFP): Segal Marco Advisors can conduct a vendor search that includes RFP development, evaluation of vendor administrative and investment capabilities, and assistance with vendor implementation.
- Sponsors who maintain investment options with multiple vendors will need to obtain a qualified plan administrator. Sibson can assist in identifying and evaluating administrative services.
Compliance Assistance Services
- Plan Document Drafting: Sibson drafts 403(b)-compliant plan documents with all required provisions such as eligibility rules, optional benefits and descriptions of plan operations, including the allocation of responsibilities and information sharing between the employer and vendor(s).
- CrosscheckSM Compliance Review: Sibson provides a comprehensive documentary and operational review of federal laws and regulations applicable to 403(b) plans.
- Strategic and Educational Communications: Sibson provides broad-based communications consulting services for developing (or fine-tuning) a strategy to educate and motivate employees to participate. We develop print and/or electronic materials that promote participation.
- Communications Assessment: Sibson provides an assessment of how well current 403(b) materials reflect the organization's objectives and best practices in communications.
- Transitional Communications: Sibson has experience communicating change. While vendors typically generate materials that describe investment options, Sibson can position change within the context of other initiatives within your organization.
- Compliance Communications: We work closely with technical experts to prepare Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) and other required documents. Our documents comply with current regulations and serve as useful, reader-friendly references.
* Investment consulting services are provided by Segal Marco Advisors, the SEC-registered investment solutions affiliate of The Segal Group.