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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28.05.2020 01.44 CDT

On May 15 the Department of Labor finalized new “safe harbor” rules for the use of electronic media to provide documents required under ERISA. These new rules represent a potentially important easing of the efforts needed for plan administrators to meet disclosure obligations under ERISA. However, a more careful review of the rules raises significant questions about whether the new rules will live up to their potential.

New Safe Harbor for Electronic Communication

New Safe Harbor for Electronic Communication

New options for the use of on-line disclosure

The Department of Labor has issued new “safe harbor” rules for the use of electronic media to provide documents required under ERISA. These new rules represent a potentially important easing of the efforts needed for plan administrators to meet disclosure obligations under ERISA. However, a more careful review of the rules raises significant questions about whether the new rules will live up to their potential.

03.01.2020 02.04 CST

The SECURE Act, signed by President Trump, contains a potpourri of provisions encouraging plan formation, use of annuities and adoption of safe harbor designs.

SECURE Act Passed–Ensuring Much Activity and Some Change

SECURE Act Passed–Ensuring Much Activity and Some Change

New Legislation Creates Planning Opportunities and Pitfalls.

The SECURE Act offers employers some new options and alternatives--and a handful of new mandates. Overall, the Act seeks to encourage employers to adopt retirement plans and to encourage employees to use those plans. Although the Act will not rock the retirement plan world, over the course of time it may shake things up just a bit.

29.10.2019 07.55 CDT

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.