Allen Steinberg

Allen Steinberg : Perspectives

Employee benefit plans—especially retirement and health care—have become an increasingly important part of the employment relationship. For employers, these plans represent an important part of the total compensation package, a tool for retention and recruitment, and a growing financial and compliance burden. For employees, these plans represent a key part of their overall financial security and wellbeing, a financial burden, and a source of complexity and frustration. In effect, it’s complicated. Our firm is dedicated to helping employers manage these complexities and focus on the important things.

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29.10.2019 07.55 CST

Employers need to develop strategies for dealing with state/federal tug-of-war over regulatory authority.

The (Individual) States of America vs The United States of America

The (Individual) States of America vs The United States of America

The states and the federal government are engaged in a tug-of-war over the ability to issue rules affecting key HR and benefits matters. This is a game with no winners.

There is an ongoing conflict between the federal government and individual states over benefits and HR policies--with states seeking to fill gaps left by the federal government and the federal government claiming that the state initiatives are preempted.

25.01.2019 06.47 CST

Notice 2018-95 offers relief to employers who have failed to properly administer the “once-in-always-in” rule for 403(b) plans. However, the Notice also serves as a reminder for potential plan design opportunities.

IRS Offers Relief for Certain 403(b) Eligibility Failures

IRS Offers Relief for Certain 403(b) Eligibility Failures

Section 403(b) plans operate much like their cousins, 401(k) plans. But, there are some key differences.

Notice 2018-95, issued by the IRs in December, provides very specific and targeted relief for retirement plans under Code Section 403(b). who failed to properly administer certain 403(b) eligibility rules. However, equally valuable to 403(b) sponsors, is the clarification contained in the Notice on how these eligibility rules are supposed to be administered.

19.11.2018 08.31 CST

A number of long-term market trends are creating significant pressure on bundled recordkeepers’ revenues. The recordkeepers are responding to these revenue pressures through a variety of ways that impose additional costs on plans and participants.

Fee Compression: Fiduciaries Take Note

Fee Compression: Fiduciaries Take Note

Retirement plan recordkeepers are seeing ongoing pressure on fees. Their approach to developing alternative revenue sources could have implications for plan fiduciaries.

Revenue for “bundled” recordkeepers have been facing downward pressure for years--both on recordkeeping fees and asset management fees. Over the past decade recordkeeping fees have dropped 50 percent and investment fees paid by 401(k) plans have dropped by 38 percent over a similar period. These bundled recordkeepers are looking to fund managers, plans, and individual participants to compensate for this decline. The recordkeepers’ search for new revenue sources can create challenges for plan fiduciaries and sponsors and should be monitored closely.

25.10.2018 09.34 CST

Disclosure on health care costs can help reduce those costs. That is not always true.

Increased Health Care Disclosure: Will It Help?

Increased Health Care Disclosure: Will It Help?

The federal government has taken steps to increase the amount of information available to consumers about health care costs. Will it help?

In recent weeks the federal government has taken a number of steps to increase the information available to consumers. However, it is not clear whether these new disclosures represent breakthroughs in transparency or are simply window dressing.

11.09.2018 03.20 CST

A recent IRS private letter ruling approved an innovative approach that allows employees to balance student loan repayments with saving for retirement.

Combining Student Loan Repayments and Retirement Savings

Combining Student Loan Repayments and Retirement Savings

By combining a 401(k) plan with student loan repayments, this approach may provide employers an opportunity to help employees meet student loan obligations without adding a costly new program.

The IRS recently approved a new plan design that allows employees to receive employer retirement contributions either by (i) making deferrals into the employer’s retirement plan, or (ii) making student loan repayments.