Articles + White Papers

Educating the World About Retirement Plan Distributions

For more than two decades, PenChecks has led the way in developing new products, services and technologies for the retirement plan distribution industry. As a leader, we also feel it’s our responsibility to educate clients, colleagues, and the general public about the many complex issues involved in properly distributing retirement benefit assets.

For example, we recently published an entire series of articles on the growing problem of uncashed pension checks. This thought-provoking series provides an overview of this multi-billion dollar problem and offers effective strategies today’s retirement plan sponsors, providers and administrators can use to properly manage and distribute these funds.

The rest of our articles and white papers address other timely retirement plan distribution issues. Please feel free to download and share them with anyone you know who could benefit from learning more about these important topics. And if you have a particular topic or issue you would like to see covered, contact us at (insert email) and let us know. We’ll do our best to address it in our blog or an article.

Articles + White Paper Archive

Article: July 14, 2021

The DOL-Approved Way to Handle Missing Participant Accounts

Company-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401k and other defined contribution plans, would be much easier to administer without missing plan participants. But with the high mobility of today’s workforce and the fact that many former employees simply forget about their retirement accounts at their previous companies-it doesn’t seem likely the problem will go away any time soon. more

Article: March 4, 2019

The Recapitalization of America

Today’s pension industry, currently estimated at $29 trillion in value , contains many complex and frustrating regulations. It is also an industry that, in some respects, seems a bit disjointed due to the number and variety of players catering to the private and public retirement sectors. more

Article: August 14, 2018

The Right Way to Manage Taxed Uncashed Retirement Checks

Managing uncashed pension checks presents a complex, time-consuming problem for plan sponsors, TPAs and financial institutions. The task becomes even more difficult when taxes are taken out of the distribution. Fortunately, there is a solution; one that enables you to do the right thing by plan participants and the Department of Labor. Learn how to protect your plan by handling taxed uncashed checks in a compliant manner in “The Right Way to Manage Taxed Uncashed Retirement Checks,” authored by PenChecks Trust Chairman and CEO Peter Preovolos. more

Article: December 12, 2017

Are You Up to Date on Qualified Plan Beneficiary Rules? Part Three

In parts one and two, we provided some basic guidelines to help plan administrators understand what is involved in paying the correct beneficiary the correct amount and avoid costly mistakes. In this article, we address the beneficiary options available to the surviving spouse of a deceased plan participant. more

Article: November 20, 2017

Working with the Beneficiary Options In the 2002 RMD Regulations

Our first article in this 3-part series focused on the importance of plan administrators understanding how to pay the correct beneficiary the correct amount, and the consequences that can result when they don’t. In this second article, we address the regulatory beneficiary options outlined in the April 17, 2002 RMD regulations and their role in paying out beneficiaries. more

Article: November 13, 2017

Are You Up to Date on Qualified Plan Beneficiary Rules?

Most TPAs don’t wake up first thing in the morning thinking about qualified plan beneficiary rules. However, improper payments due to lack of knowledge about these rules can have unwanted consequences. more

Article: August 15, 2017

Are You Overlooking Required Beginning Dates?

Required minimum distributions are a small but important part of retirement plans. Failure to start making them on time can lead to problems for employers and plan participants. Code section 401(a)(9) requires every qualified plan to begin required minimum distributions (RMDs) on the required beginning date (RBD)... more

Article: April 8, 2016

Managing Missing Participant Accounts and Fiduciary Responsibility

Managing missing participant funds can be a complex and time-consuming process for plan sponsors and trustees. Attempting to locate missing participants often seems like a fruitless and frustrating task. Appropriately managing missing participant accounts requires choosing from a number of different options, many of which are problematic. And terminating a retirement plan with missing participants increases the complexity of the process and the fiduciary risk to the trustee... more

Article: June 10, 2015

Is Becoming a 3(16) Plan Administrator 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. As someone with 40 years’ experience as a TPA named fiduciary (with my other company, Alpha & Omega), I have some strong opinions on the subject.... more

Article: April 29, 2015

Field Assistance Bulletin 2014-01

The DOL has come out with new guidance and recommendations regarding fiduciary duties and missing participants involving terminated defined contribution plans. Read our article to learn how this updated FAB guidance will affect TPA and plan sponsor options concerning missing participant searches and asset distributions... more

White Paper: March 13, 2015

Changes Ahead for Retirement Plan 401K Forced Transfers and Inactive Accounts

An Analysis of the November 2014 GAO Report to Congress
In November 2014, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) submitted a report to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions entitled “401(K) Plans: Greater Protections Needed for Forced Transfers and Inactive Accounts.” The report studied what happens when employees change jobs and leave their retirement savings in their former employers’ 401(k) plans... more

Article: February 11, 2015

Uncashed Pension Checks: More Than Just An Accounting Problem

Last year, CPA James Haubrock made a presentation to the ERISA Advisory Council on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants download PDF. In it, he discussed a number of accounting and auditing issues associated with unclaimed benefits and uncashed checks for lost retirement plan participants... more

White Paper: October 22, 2014

Resolving the Un-Cashed Pension Check Problem

Un-cashed retirement benefit distribution checks present a growing problem for plan sponsors, institutional plan providers and third-party administrators. Current estimates place the total value of these un-cashed checks in the billions of dollars. And proper management of these assets represents but one of many problems – including 1099R preparations, tax withholding, recurring benefit payments, escheatment... more

Article: July 11, 2014

Tackling the 50-Year Old Un-Cashed Check Problem

The growing problem of un-cashed pension checks has been making the news more of late. But if you think the problem is a new one, think again. I have personally been involved with this issue since 1966. And our company, PenChecks, has been working on solutions since 1994... more

Article: July 7, 2014

The Un-Cashed Check Debate Heats Up

After decades of neglect, the issue of un-cashed retirement distribution checks – a multi-billion dollar problem – is finally starting to appear on the radar screen of financial institutions, auditors and regulators. As someone who has been intimately involved with the issue since 1966, I believe the increased attention is long overdue... more

Article: July 1, 2014

Addressing the Pension Plan Un-Cashed Check Problem

The problem of un-cashed pension checks has been with us for decades. Moreover, it represents but one of many problems – including 1099R preparations, tax withholding, recurring benefit payments, escheatment issues, and missing participant account balances – surrounding the larger issue of abandoned retirement plans... more

Article: June 16, 2014

The Growing Problem of Un-cashed Pension Distribution Checks

Un-cashed retirement benefit distribution checks have become a multi-billion dollar problem in the U.S. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the number of former plan participants leaving assets behind has increased at an alarming rate – from 2.5 million in 1989 to more than 15 million in 2011. Moreover, the DOL estimates that this number is currently growing at the rate of one million un-cashed checks per year... more

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