Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How Saratoga Hospital Reduced Their Retirement Plan Expenses

When it comes to reducing retirement plan expenses, there is no time to waste!

Saratoga Hospital wanted to quickly establish a solid fiduciary process. Read about Saratoga Hospital’s challenges with its retirement plan, and how Strategic Benefit Services was able to reduce its retirement plan expenses and ensure it is in compliance with ERISA regulations.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with an advisor about reviewing or establishing a plan, please contact us at (855) 882-9177 or via e-mail at sbs@hanys.org.

Friday, October 24, 2014

IRS Releases Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2015

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently released the contribution limits on Qualified Retirement Plans for 2015. Strategic Benefit Services created the attached chart that details these contribution limit increases.

If you have any questions about the COLA Limits, or would like to speak with an advisor about reviewing or establishing a plan, please contact us at (855) 882-9177 or via e-mail at sbs@hanys.org.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

VIDEO: SBS Reveals Inspiration Behind Advisory Services

Strategic Benefit Services (SBS), has challenged ourselves to take an introspective look at not only what we do, but why we do it. Many retirement advisory firms offer similar services, so we developed a new video to demonstrate how our approach to advisory services distinguishes us from other retirement advisory firms.

Benefits Services Video

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Search is On – What Plan Fiduciaries Need to Know to Locate Missing Participants

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently released Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2014-01 entitled “Fiduciary Duties and Missing Participants in Terminated Defined Contribution Plans.” The FAB outlines the steps that plan fiduciaries must follow to meet their obligations under ERISA to locate missing participants and properly distribute participant account balances when a defined contribution plan has been terminated.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Automatic Features in Defined Contribution Plans

According to the 2014 Retirement Plan Survey conducted by Strategic Benefit Services, approximately one-half of the responding retirement plan sponsors offer automatic enrollment. Offered in conjunction with automatic escalation, such features can positively impact participant behavior and improve retirement readiness. This article examines some best practices to be considered when implementing automatic features in defined contribution plans that can produce greater results per dollar of employer cost.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Survey Reveals High Level of Uncertainty Among Plan Administrators

Strategic Benefit Services’ 2014 Retirement Plan Survey uncovers significant uncertainty among employers about retirement plan administration.

The survey—which sought to identify significant trends in retirement plan services—found: Nearly 80% of respondents said they were unsure if their plan advisor was acting in a fiduciary capacity; 17% percent of respondents were unsure how their advisors were compensated; and one quarter said they were unsure how

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Investment Policy Statements

An investment policy statement (IPS) defines the processes that a company has adopted to make investment-related decisions with respect to the assets of a ERISA 403(b) and 401(k) plan. The IPS identifies the investment goals and objectives of the plan, establishes how decisions will be made regarding the selection of investments and specifies the procedures for measuring investment performance. While the law does not require that a plan adopt an IPS, it may be the single most important task that a fiduciary performs for the following reasons:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

404(c) Compliance Checklist

By complying with ERISA section 404(c), sponsors and other fiduciaries of retirement plans with participant-directed investments may shield themselves from liability for poor investment decisions made by plan participants. If a retirement plan meets the requirements of ERISA section 404(c), no plan fiduciary will be liable for any loss that is the direct and necessary result of a participant’s exercise of control over the investment of his or her plan account.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Perils of a Non-ERISA 403(b) Plan

Non-ERISA 403(b) plans seem to be dropping in popularity among non-profit organizations. Given regulatory guidelines that can be difficult to follow, many plan sponsors are finding it harder to maintain a fully compliant non-ERISA plan. If your non-profit still operates a non-ERISA plan, you may want to give some thought to changing over.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Qualified Default Investment Alternatives

Approximately one-third of eligible workers do not participate in their employer-sponsored defined contribution plans, such as ERISA 403(b) and 401(k) plans. Research suggests that almost all of these workers would choose to remain participants if they were automatically enrolled. The increased savings would significantly improve their retirement security and may result in improved workplace satisfaction.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

10 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Retirement Plan - Part 2

To continue from our previous installment, understanding fiduciary responsibilities is important for the security of a retirement plan and compliance with the law. If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, you may not be complying with federal regulations.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

10 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Retirement Plan - Part 1

Understanding fiduciary responsibilities is important for the security of a retirement plan and compliance with the law. If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, you may not be complying with federal regulations.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Roles and Responsibilities Refresher for the Prudent Plan Fiduciary

Fiduciaries of defined contribution retirement plans are under closer scrutiny than ever before. Plan participants are filing lawsuits, the media has increased its attention on fiduciary failures, and during plan audits the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) now routinely asks for evidence of fiduciary training. In light of the potential personal liability, it is imperative that plan fiduciaries understand their responsibilities and adhere to the standards of conduct that apply to them.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

IRS Issues Guidance on Windsor Decision for Qualified Retirement Plans

On April 4, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-19 which provides additional guidance on how qualified retirement plans should treat the marriages of same-sex couples following the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor. The Windsor decision invalidated Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that barred same-sex couples from being treated as married under federal law. Subsequent to the Windsor decision, the IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 which stated that a couple would be considered married for federal tax purposes if their marriage certificate was issued by a jurisdiction having the legal authority to sanction marriages. Moreover, once married, the IRS would consider the couple to be married, even if domiciled in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. Notice 2014-19 provides guidance on how to comply with the provisions of the Revenue Ruling. Specifically, the Notice provides guidance on the following:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 Retirement Plan Compliance Calendar

Strategic Benefit Services wants to help you stay compliant in 2014 with our 2014 Compliance Calendar.

Compliance is just one of many services SBS provides, including Plan Design,Plan Provider Management, and Co-Fiduciary Services. If you have any questions regarding compliance requirements or their application to your plan, contact us at (855) 882-9177 or at sbs@hanys.org.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten New Year’s Resolutions for a Retirement Plan Fiduciary

Strategic Benefit Services’ Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Plan Fiduciaries:


1) Keep all plan documents and related records.
Strategic Benefit Services recommends that you review the most recent version of your plan documents. Documents are often misplaced as human resource personnel change and computer systems are upgraded.

Complete a document checklist to make sure that all applicable documents are available and maintained. These include the Internal Revenue Service determination letter, plan amendments and notices, automatic enrollment notifications, and the summary annual report. Service agreements and vendor contracts should be

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