Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Establishing a High Performing Investment Committee for Corporate Retirement Plans

Survey participants’ responses in our Retirement Survey Report varied widely as to how often their investment committee met to discuss different kinds of retirement plans. However, most participants generally met on a quarterly basis, particularly so with regard to 401(a) profit sharing plans (78%), 401(a) money purchase plans (75%), and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) 403(b) plans (59%). By contrast, 29% met semiannually to discuss 401(k) plans—versus 57% who met quarterly—with an additional 26% meeting semi-annually to address issues related to ERISA 403(b) plans.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Best Practices for Setting Up An Investment Committee for Corporate Retirement Plans

In our 2014 Retirement Survey Report, about 79% of survey participants said they have an investment committee. Given a complex environment of regulatory scrutiny and fiduciary liability exposure, a committee specifically charged with investment oversight is a sound risk management strategy for plans and organizations of all types and sizes.

Although they will differ from one organization to the next, best practices suggest an investment committee’s responsibilities and duties include:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Reminder Dates for Retirement Plan Participant Notices

As we approach year end, now is the time to handle the distribution of annual participant notices as required by ERISA.

Strategic Benefit Services created this chart to remind plan administrators of the notices required for distribution, and their applicable deadlines.

Please call or email with questions about this Retirement Plan Participant Notices Chart, or for information on how Strategic Benefit Services can enhance your organization's retirement offering.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Q3 Retirement Market Recap

Stock investors experienced the first correction in nearly four years in August when the S&P 500 declined 12.5% from its recent high. So, what triggered this one?

Read the Q3 Retirement Market Recap to review the key market drivers for the third quarter financial performance. The SBS Retirement Market Recap provides a summary of market and economic events which have influenced the financial markets in the past quarter.

Should you have questions about this Market Recap, or for information on how Strategic Benefit Services can enhance your organization's retirement offering, please contact us by calling (855) 882-9177 or email us at sbs@hanys.org.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

IRS Releases Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2016

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently released the contribution limits on Qualified Retirement Plans for 2016.

Strategic Benefit Services created a chart that details the 2016 contribution limits.

Should you have questions, please contact Strategic Benefit Services by calling (855) 882-9177 or email us at sbs@hanys.org.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Penalties Increased for Section 6055 and Section 6056 Reporting Violations

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created new reporting requirements under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 6055 and 6056. These new reporting rules require certain employers to report information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the health coverage offered during the year.

Quick Facts:
  • Signed into law on June 29, 2015, the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 increases the penalties for reporting entities that fail to comply with Section 6055 or 6056 reporting.
  • The increased penalties take effect for returns and statements filed in 2016.
  • Short-term relief from penalties is available in certain limited circumstances.
Read the full article for more information on Section 6055 and Section 6056 reporting violations. Should you have questions, please contact Strategic Benefit Services by calling (855) 882-9177 or email us at sbs@hanys.org.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New IRS Resource helps Employers Understand the Health Care Law

The new ACA Information Center for Applicable Large Employers page on IRS.gov features information and resources for employers of all sizes on how the health care law may affect them if they fit the definition of an applicable large employer.

The web page includes the following sections:
  • What’s Trending for ALEs, 
  • How to Determine if You are an ALE, 
  • Resources for Applicable Large Employers, and 
  • Outreach Materials. 
Visitors to the new page will find links to:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Free Reception: Retirement Plan Updates from a Government Insider

REGISTER NOW to spend an evening with:

John Carl
President of Retirement Learning Center & 
Member of Government Affairs Committee 

Get key retirement plan updates from a government insider. Discussion will cover:
  • updates on the Government Affairs Committee;
  • current Department of Labor enforcement priorities and actions;
  • update of the 2016 Budget Proposals and their reoccurring themes; and
  • details surrounding and preparation for new retirement savings proposals.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

IRS Issues Notice 2015-52 on Cadillac Tax Implementation

For taxable years beginning in 2018, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost group health coverage. This tax, also known as the “Cadillac tax,” is intended to encourage companies to choose lower-cost health plans for their employees.

On July 30, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2015-52 to continue the process of developing guidance to implement the Cadillac tax. This notice supplements Notice 2015-16, issued on Feb. 23, 2015.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

2016 Healthcare Reform Compliance Checklist

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a number of significant changes to group health plans since the law was enacted over four years ago. Many of these key reforms became effective in 2014 and 2015, including health plan design changes, increased wellness program incentives and the employer shared responsibility penalties.

Additional reforms take effect in 2016 for employers sponsoring group health plans. To prepare for 2016, employers should review upcoming requirements and develop a compliance strategy.

This Legislative Brief provides a health care reform compliance checklist for 2016.

If you have questions about this checklist or changes that were required in previous years, please contact Strategic Benefit Services for assistance by calling (855) 882-9177 or email us at sbs@hanys.org.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


The 1972 Stealers Wheel song, “Stuck in the Middle with You” comes to mind when you look at the U.S. economy and stock market in the second quarter of 2015. Read the Q2 Retirement Market Recap to review the key market drivers for the second quarter financial performance.

The SBS Retirement Market Recap provides a summary of market and economic events which have influenced the financial markets in the past quarter. SBS Retirement Market Recap also includes a feature segment called “What’s Happening in the Retirement Market?” which selects a notable industry event to highlight for the quarter.

Should you have questions about this Market Recap, or for information on how Strategic Benefit Services can enhance your organization's retirement offering, please get in touch by calling (855) 882-9177 or email us at sbs@hanys.org.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Supreme Court Ruling Highlights Importance of Fiduciary Responsibility

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Tibble vs. Edison has been described as “historic,” “ground-breaking,” and even “revolutionary.” The significant attention this case has generated is due in large part to the fact that a case about retirement plans reached the Supreme Court and that the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the lower courts’ decisions.

Yet, the underlying premise behind the decision in this case is not particularly glamorous. It is very familiar to us all: the fiduciary responsibilities of a plan sponsor.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Steve Puckett of SBS Makes Top 100 Retirement Plan Adviser List

Steven Puckett, AIF®, CRPS®, Vice President of Retirement Services, Strategic Benefit Services (SBS), was recently named to the 2015 PLANADVISER Top 100 Advisers List.

The PLANADVISER Top 100 Advisers is an annual listing of the retirement plan adviser and adviser teams that stand out in terms of a series of quantitative measures. This year’s qualification standards—which rise nearly every year—were quite high. Individuals had to have 65 or more plans or at least $500 million in assets under advisement.

At SBS, Steve manages and consults on retirement plans in the areas of investment advisory services, fiduciary services, forensic plan audits, fiduciary risk mitigation solutions, compliance assistance, and fee audits for 403(b), 401(k), 457, defined benefit, and non-qualified plans. With more than 20 years of experience, he has assisted more than 1,000 companies with their retirement plans.

SBS is an industry leader in providing trusted advisory services, retirement plan offerings, best-in-class employee benefits products, and a wide array of solutions that position your organization and employees for success.

If you would like to speak with a dedicated retirement plan advisor, or have questions about Strategic Benefit Services, please call (855) 882-9177 or email us at sbs@hanys.org.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

IRS Gives Plan Sponsors Welcome Relief for Automatic Enrollment Features

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced modified correction methods for errors relating to automatic contribution features, including automatic enrollment, automatic escalation, and employee elective deferrals in both 401(k) and 403(b) plans.

The correction methods in the new Revenue Procedure 2015-28 are in addition to those previously identified in Revenue Procedure 2013-12. These new correction methods will encourage employers to more readily include automatic enrollment features in their defined contribution plans.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Retirement Plan Best Practices for Using an Independent Advisor

Best practices underscore the value of using an independent advisor with regard to developing, implementing, and overseeing a retirement plan. An experienced, independent advisor can offer valuable guidance and feedback to help ensure that a retirement plan is meeting the objectives of both the plan sponsor and participants. As a plan fiduciary, if you are lack the expertise necessary to fulfill your fiduciary obligations,

Friday, March 6, 2015

Retirement Plan Administration Best Practices

Retirement plan sponsors have a difficult challenge: balancing the desire to offer a valued and valuable retirement plan to their employees, with the administrative and regulatory requirements and expense of maintaining the plan.

Experts agree that plan sponsors can help address these issues by consistent adoption of plan administration and oversight best practices.These steps can lower costs, increase plan enrollment, boost savings rates, and better prepare employees for a more secure retirement, while helping mitigate the risk borne by plan fiduciaries.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Department of Labor Announces Changes for Form 5500 for 2014

Although the filing date for Department of Labor Form 5500 – Annual Return/Report for Employee Benefit Plans – is still several months away, plan sponsors should take a few minutes to become familiar with the changes that have been made for the 2014 reporting year.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Human Resources Conference - Apr 22-24, 2015


Strategic Benefit Services Human Resources Conference

Embrace, Engage, Elevate: Leading High-Performing Talent

Human resources’ top thought leaders offer the latest insights and ideas on guiding your workforce through compliance, key retirement plan topics, total rewards, employee engagement, and more! Session topics will include:
  • Current Direction of Workforce and Executive Compensation Programs
  • Technology Impact on Employee Benefits
  • Strategic Change Management
  • Getting the Most Value Out of Your Retirement Program in Today’s Challenging Environment
  • Legal Developments and Updates
  • Leadership Development and Coaching a Motivated and Engaged Workforce
  • Healthcare 2.0 – Post-ACA Group Health and Welfare Benefits Trends
* SHRM & HRCI Strategic Credits Pending

When:     April 22:  6 p.m.  – Welcome Reception
                 April 23:  8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Sessions; Dinner to follow                                                    April 24:  8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Sessions; Lunch to follow
Where:    New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
                333 Adams St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Early Bird Rate $299 (Until March 6, 2015)


Monday, January 12, 2015

Webinar: 2014 TOP FIVE Events or Individuals that Impacted the Financial Markets

Strategic Benefit Services is sharing our observations on 5 major influences on the financial markets in 2014. This webinar provides invaluable insight regarding:
  • 2014 Financial Markets Performance
  • Top 5 Events or Individuals that Impacted the Financial Markets
  • 2015 Expected Financial Outlook 
Click image to watch webinar

If you have any questions about the 2014 Top Five webinar, or would like to speak with an advisor, please get in touch by calling (855) 882-9177 or via e-mail at sbs@hanys.org.

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