Penchecks Blog

The PenChecks Blog: What You Need to Know About Today’s Pension Benefits Distribution Issues

From IRS and Department of Labor updates to new trends in pension benefits distribution technologies, there’s a lot to keep up on in the retirement benefits distribution world. Whether you’re a retirement plan provider, plan sponsor or third-party administrator, you can count on the PenChecks blog to keep you in touch with the latest issues and happenings in the retirement benefits distribution industry.

The Supported Participant-how 401k Plan Design Can Increase Retirement Savings

This is part three of a 3-part series on Participant Education. More than half (54%) of pre-retirees are reported to have less than $150,000 in their 401k accounts. more


The Challenges of Forgotten Retirement Benefits

This is the second installment of a three-part series on participant education. The next installment will discuss plan design changes that can help make participants “retirement ready”. more


The Confident Participant: How To Create An Effective 401k Education Program

This is the second installment of a three-part series on participant education. The next installment will discuss plan design changes that can help make participants “retirement ready”. more


The Educated Participant-how Employers Can Improve Retirement Readiness

This is the first installment of a three-part series on participant education. The next two installments will discuss best practices to structure an effective program and how plan design may be used to assist participants in reaching their retirement goals. more


Is This The End Of The Fiduciary Rule? And Will It Matter?

It finally happened. After months of speculation and weeks of rumors about what the Trump administration was going to do, on Friday President Trump signed an executive order which directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to reevaluate the Fiduciary Rule (the “Rule”). more


What Does 2017 Hold for the Retirement Plan Industry?

Welcome to 2017! With interest rates going up for the first time in a long time and much uncertainty about how our new president in the White House will govern, 2017 promises to be an interesting year. As I peer into the PenChecks Trust crystal ball, I foresee four main issues facing the private retirement plan sector in the year ahead. more


My Two Big Takeaways from the ASPPA Conference

Another ASPPA convention has come and gone, and once again the PenChecks Trust team enjoyed participating in the many learning, networking and socializing opportunities. The conference offered more than 70 workshops on topics ranging from administration and business development to investments and ethics. more


PenChecks Trust and the New DOL Fiduciary Ruling

In April of this year, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new ruling that redefines the definition of “fiduciary” for those providing investment advice to plans, plan sponsors, fiduciaries, plan participants, beneficiaries and IRAs and IRA owners. more


A Simple Solution to Auto-Portability

In my last blog, I reviewed an article that focuses on the notion of “auto-portability” to make it easier to transfer Default/Missing Participant IRA accounts to a new employer’s plan. While the concept has merit, my opinion is that the solution seems overly complex, and is therefore not likely to be supported by record keepers or plan sponsors. more


Auto-Portability: Default IRA Boon or Bust?

In my last blog, I reviewed an article that focuses on the notion of “auto-portability” to make it easier to transfer Default/Missing Participant IRA accounts to a new employer’s plan. While the concept has merit, my opinion is that the solution seems overly complex, and is therefore not likely to be supported by record keepers or plan sponsors. more


2016 Midyear Overview: Uncertain Times Ahead for the Retirement Industry

The first half of 2016 has zoomed by in a flash. To date, it’s been a good year for PenChecks Trust. But as I survey the landscape I’m not overly optimistic about the long-term direction of our industry. The retirement plan space has undergone significant change in the past few years, much of it in the way of complex new regulations imposed by the IRS and Department of Labor. more


Are Rollover IRAs on the Way Out?

I have long advocated for giving employees more options to manage their retirement plan assets, especially in regards to easier portability when workers change employers or retire. So when I came across an article entitled “Goodbye Rollovers, Hello Stay-Overs”, it got my attention. more


Lower Your Risk of a Department of Labor Audit

No business wants its retirement plan to get audited by the Department of Labor (DOL). But according to a recent article in the Employee Benefit Advisor, companies often make mistakes that can trigger a DOL audit. The article addresses 10 of the most common mistakes, and serves as a good reminder for plan sponsors and TPAs in the retirement plan space not to overlook these areas. more


How Much Do You Really Earn?

In my previous blog, I suggested that the Benefits Consulting and Financial Services Industry could benefit everyone by working with the schools to teach kids basic financial and money management skills. My thought was that we could reverse a troubling attitude I see in today’s younger generation. more


A Little Education Goes a Long Way

In my previous blog, I suggested that the Benefits Consulting and Financial Services Industry could benefit everyone by working with the schools to teach kids basic financial and money management skills. My thought was that we could reverse a troubling attitude I see in today’s younger generation. more


It’s Time to Teach

If you’re part of the retirement plan industry, you know that defined benefit pension plans have been on the way out for a while now, and are largely being replaced by defined contribution plans. more


Managing Missing Participant Accounts and Fiduciary Responsibility

Terminating a retirement plan can be a complex and time-consuming process – especially when missing participant funds are involved. Protecting against breach of fiduciary duty is always a serious concern for plan trustees, and dealing with missing participant funds only increases this concern. more


How to Develop A Capable Management Team
By Charan Singh, APA

Have you ever called one of your key service providers with an important issue, only to be put on hold for 10 minutes? And when you finally get a customer service rep on the phone, they don’t know the product or service, which results in the dreaded, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” more


ASPPA Conference Recap

Congratulations to ASPPA for hosting another great conference. As always, I found the workshops and sessions very informative. I enjoyed connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. And the “Ahead of the Curve” theme, which focused on innovation, seemed to strike a chord with everyone. more


Putting the “Customer” In Customer Service

Have you ever called one of your key service providers with an important issue, only to be put on hold for 10 minutes? And when you finally get a customer service rep on the phone, they don’t know the product or service, which results in the dreaded, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” more


New Department of Labor Regs Coming Our Way – Part II

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has several important initiatives on its regulatory agenda for 2015/2016 that will affect various qualified retirement plan providers in different yet significant ways. more


New Department of Labor Regs Coming Our Way

Never let it be said that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is sleeping on the job. Currently, the agency has several important initiatives on its regulatory agenda for 2015/2016 that will affect various qualified retirement plan providers in different yet significant ways. more


Are You Prepared For Industry Compression?

In case you haven’t noticed, the retirement plan third-party administrator industry is shrinking. In the past 10 years, the number of TPA providers serving the market has significantly declined as the smaller firms either voluntarily exit the space or get driven out by larger, more scale-efficient competitors. more


What the 401(k) Supreme Court Decision Means to Plan Trustees

The U.S. Supreme Court recently rendered a decision that could greatly impact retirement plan trustees. For TPAs, this decision provides an opportunity to add additional value to your plan trustee clients. more


Is There a Market for 3(16) Plan Administrator Services?

Becoming a 3(16) Plan Administrator can add real value to your clients, so why isn’t the market willing to pay for these services? Read part three of our 3-part blog series to find out how a lack of understanding regarding fiduciary responsibilities is hampering the growth of this important service. more


Becoming a 3(16) Plan Administrator Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

In my previous blog, I talked about the growing interest in the TPA community about offering 3 (16) Plan Administrator services to our clients. more


Is the 3 (16) Plan Administrator Role Right For You?

There’s a lot of talk in the retirement industry these days about becoming a 3(16) Plan Administrator to plan sponsor clients. But what exactly does that entail, and how would it benefit TPA firms? more


FAB 2014-1 – Does It Go Far Enough?

In August 2014, the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (DOL/EBSA) announced important new guidance regarding missing participants of retirement plans. more


Are You Giving Good Advice Regarding Uncashed Pension Checks?

Thanks to a lack of guidance from the DOL and IRS, we see a lot of uncertainty around this issue. We also see recommendations from TPAs that don’t support the best interests of plan participants or the plan sponsor. more


America’s Retirement Industry: A Path Forward

From the earliest retirement program (established in 1717 for retired Presbyterian ministers) to the first pension program created in 1875 by American Express, the U. S. has a long history of providing retirement benefits to its hardworking citizens. more


Master IRA Account: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

As PenChecks celebrates its 20th year as the leading provider of benefit distribution services, we feel the time is right to give something back to the industry that has contributed so much to our success. That’s why we’re honored to partner with two of the most important associations in our industry – ASPPA and NIPA – to sponsor two annual scholarship programs designed to support the educational development of retirement plan professionals... more


My Takeaways from a Great ASPPA Conference

As PenChecks celebrates its 20th year as the leading provider of benefit distribution services, we feel the time is right to give something back to the industry that has contributed so much to our success. That’s why we’re honored to partner with two of the most important associations in our industry – ASPPA and NIPA – to sponsor two annual scholarship programs designed to support the educational development of retirement plan professionals... more


Celebrating 20 Years of Industry Leadership by Giving Back

As PenChecks celebrates its 20th year as the leading provider of benefit distribution services, we feel the time is right to give something back to the industry that has contributed so much to our success. That’s why we’re honored to partner with two of the most important associations in our industry – ASPPA and NIPA – to sponsor two annual scholarship programs designed to support the educational development of retirement plan professionals... more


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