By Julie Grandstaff, VP & Managing Director, StanCorp Investment Advisers, Inc.
The first quarter closed with what may have been the hottest March on record in the U.S. More than 7,700 high-temperature marks were tied or broken throughout the country during the month. Perhaps taking a cue from the weather, equity markets were "hot" as well.Learn More About Q1
Fee Disclosure Deadlines Extended
In early February, the Department of Labor (DOL) released final 408(b)(2) regulations. While the regulations establish new deadlines for service provider-to-employer fee disclosure, they also affect delivery dates for employer-to-participant 404a-5 disclosure.What Else Changed?
A Stable Value Fund Can Help Control Risk In Your Plan's Fund Lineup
When rounding out a retirement plan's fund lineup, many employers seek a "safe" investment option — ideally, a competitive interest-bearing account. Found in more than half of defined contribution plans, stable value funds are designed to deliver safety and stability by preserving principal and accumulated earnings.Get The Details
New Process Simplifies Testing And Form 5500 Filing
Throughout 2012, you will experience the benefits of The Standard's new process to simplify government report filing. You may have noticed an enhanced Auditor's Kit and Form 5500 improvements — including a support team of technical experts and filing flexibility — and streamlined compliance testing.Discover The Benefits
Enhancements To The Standard's Online Services
In the last few weeks, changes have been made to The Standard's online retirement services for you and your employees. Besides a new look, the most noticeable change is the ability to view participant account statements online.Learn More
Four Key Steps To Partnering With The Standard For Your Annual 5500 Audit (For Large Plan Filers)
Read about the four things you can do to successfully prepare for your plan audit.See The Steps
Questions To Ask Stable Value Fund Providers
Take note of the important questions you should ask stable value fund providers.Read More
Plan Sponsors Ask...
Q. What are the rules around timely contribution deposits and loan repayments from plan participants?
Q. What changed with the release of the new final fee disclosure regulations?Learn The Answers
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Consult your plan's counsel or tax advisor regarding these and other items that may apply to your plan.
- If a plan audit is required in connection with Form 5500, make arrangements with an independent accountant/auditor for the audit to be completed before the Form 5500 due date (calendar-year plans).
- Audit first-quarter payroll and plan deposit dates to ensure compliance with the Department of Labor's rules about timely deposit of participant contributions and loan repayments.
- Verify that employees who became eligible for the plan between Jan. 1 and March 31 received and returned an enrollment form from The Standard. Follow up for forms that were not returned.
- Monitor the status of the completion of Form 5500 and, if required, a plan audit (calendar-year plans).
- Issue a reminder memo or email to all employees to encourage them to review and update (if necessary) their beneficiary designations for all benefit plans under which they are covered.
- Perform a thorough annual review of the plan's summary plan description (SPD) and other enrollment and plan materials to verify that all information is accurate and current, and identify cases in which revisions are necessary.
- Begin planning an internal audit of participant loans granted during the first six months of the year. Check for delinquent payments and verify that repayment terms and amounts borrowed do not violate legal limits.
- Confirm that Form 5500, and a plan audit if required, will be completed prior to the filing deadline or that an extension of time to file will be necessary (calendar-year plans).
- Review plan operations to determine if any qualification failures or operational violations occurred during the first half of the calendar year. If a failure or violation is found, consider contacting your relationship manager or account manager to help resolve it.