Our group operates as a full-service employee benefits practice with an important focus on helping employers provide retirement benefits for their employees. We work with employers of all types and sizes across many local, national and global industries in designing, implementing, and administering all types of qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, including cash balance plans and other defined benefit pension plans, money purchase plans, profit sharing plans and 401(k) plans. We also obtain Internal Revenue Service approval for our clients’ new and amended plans and for terminating plans.
We help our clients with the day-to-day issues that inevitably arise when maintaining a qualified retirement plan. We provide plan administration support for our clients, including assistance with issues related to plan distributions, loans, withdrawals and investment changes; the review of qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs), drafting model QDROs and implementing QDRO procedures; participant communications such as summary plan descriptions and required annual notices; and service provider contracts. We work closely with third-party administrators and recordkeepers on testing and plan operation issues.
Our team also helps clients to maintain regulatory compliance and to correct errors when they occur. We have substantial experience with both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) correction programs for operational and plan document failures and the Department of Labor (DOL) program for correction of certain fiduciary errors, including late transmission of participant contributions. We negotiate with the IRS, DOL and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation on behalf of clients with respect to correction of plan document, operational and disclosure defects.
We work closely with our clients’ actuaries and have provided advice and assistance in transitioning plans from traditional defined benefits plans to cash balance plans, or to defined contribution arrangements with transition contributions. For 401(k) plans, we have assisted with the implementation of Roth accounts and in-plan Roth rollover features to provide more choices for participants. We regularly consult with our plan sponsors on fee and expense issues including but not limited to: the addition of a safe harbor feature to eliminate certain compliance tests and decrease administrative costs; use of ERISA expense recapture accounts; and review of revenue sharing arrangements and compliance with ERISA fiduciary requirements. Lastly, we also work with our clients on plan participation issues through the addition of automatic enrollment/contribution arrangements for 401(k) plans.
The following is a list of our representative matters:
- Worked closely with a group of internal auditors to review plans for compliance and submit operational errors to the IRS under its Voluntary Correction Program for a client with more than a dozen qualified plans.
- Obtained IRS approval of the retroactive amendment of a profit-sharing plan document to correct the points-based allocation method to correspond to the way the client had actually been operating the plan.
- Added lump-sum windows to defined benefit plans to permit and helped client navigate administration of window, including participant communications.
- Worked with plan actuaries to determine strategies for amending cash balance and other “hybrid” plans to comply with final IRS regulations.
- Worked closely with clients and their payroll departments during Department of Labor investigations and negotiated closing letters.
- Represented clients during Internal Revenue Service examinations and Tax Court, when necessary.
- Regularly attend retirement plan committee meetings and provide fiduciary updates as well as fiduciary training.