Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Cybersecurity technologies and methods used to protect a company’s data have significantly evolved over the last two decades. Unfortunately, so have the cyber criminals (hackers) who relentlessly pursue the riches to be made from stealing personal information and other sensitive data. As a result, gone are the days when a standard “Castle and Moat” cybersecurity approach could provide a reliable security tool.

The PenChecks Trust® call center has always worked hard to provide our clients and their plan participants with fast, efficient phone support. We are proud to announce that it is about to get faster and more efficient with the opening of our new call center located in South Dakota!

Microsoft has announced that it is ending technical support for Internet Explorer (IE) for online services on August 17, 2021.

A year ago at this time, most of us were just starting to come to terms with the disruptions at home and in the workplace caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Halfway through 2021, it looks like we’re finally starting to turn the corner in restoring a sense of normalcy in our lives and our businesses.

A year ago at this time, most of us were just starting to come to terms with the disruptions at home and in the workplace caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Halfway through 2021, it looks like we’re finally starting to turn the corner in restoring a sense of normalcy in our lives and our businesses.

Every retirement plan has participants, which means sooner or later every retirement plan will also have ex-participants. As any employer who sponsors a retirement plan knows, those ex-participants sometimes go missing. And that can be a real problem for retirement plan fiduciaries.

As far as years go, 2020 was just plain rough, to put it nicely. Not since the Great Depression and World War II have our lives been so disrupted in so many ways. The challenges came fast and furious, forcing us to adapt in ways we never thought we would. And with the coronavirus continuing to spread like wildfire, with new and possibly more virulent strains entering the fray, 2021 isn’t looking like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

With Americans living longer and retiring later, saving for retirement has become more important than ever. Yet, too many employees are still not covered by employer plans, and most of those who are covered don’t contribute enough for a stable retirement.

Saving for a secure retirement may seem simple – you put away a certain amount with each paycheck and let it grow until you retire.

A Year to Remember

July 27th, 2020 by PenChecks Trust

To paraphrase the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, “2020 is a year that will live in infamy”. We’re only halfway through the year, yet the COVID-19 pandemic has already shaken our world in ways nobody could have foreseen…

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned everyone’s world upside down – especially for companies that have been forced to work remotely.

Businesses know about escheating unclaimed property to the states. Yet, most never think of looking for listings for their own company. Those that do often find unexpected windfalls.

Are you out of work? Underworked? Looking for something to do while social distancing?

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) was signed into law. At $2 trillion, the CARES Act is the largest economic stimulus and relief package in U.S. history.

The COVID-19 virus is disrupting business in ways none of us could have anticipated. During this difficult time, PenChecks is fully prepared to support you in keeping your business operating as smoothly as possible.

In this installment of Other Matters That Matter, we’ll take a quick look at two different but very important developments on the regulatory horizon.

Many studies have shown that Americans are not saving enough for retirement. A surprising number of employees still do not even have access to a 401(k) savings plan.

At PenChecks Trust™ we’re in the business of providing solutions to the retirement plan industry. Most of those solutions involve payment processing services and the care and administration of missing participant assets.

Imagine you have a plan participant who suddenly finds that $99,000 has been stolen from her account by a hacker. Her only notice was confirmations she received after the money had been stolen.

Twenty-five years ago, 30 people from the retirement plan TPA community got together for a weekend to talk openly about what we liked and didn’t like about our industry.

With the retirement industry’s emphasis on the SEC’s Reg BI and what is the DOL going to do, as well as DOL and Treasury regs for MEPs, other matters may go unnoticed. Some “other matters” may be lower impact. Others may foretell new or significantly different requirements.

Becoming an ERISA fiduciary doesn’t require any specific experience or certification. You don’t even need to acknowledge that you are a fiduciary. If you act like a fiduciary – such as by selecting investments or ruling on participant claims – you are one. It’s that simple.

Fair Warning: The retirement plan space loves its abbreviations and acronyms. And the DOL is no exception. I certainly use them (sometimes to the dismay of my colleagues).

There’s a lot happening in the world of unclaimed property. The Little Book of Missing Money: A Quick and Easy Guide to Finding Money that is Rightfully Yours…

With the mid-term elections behind us, I see reason to be optimistic that a post-election pension bill could be passed by year-end. Two bills, the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) and the Family Savings Act, have broad support in Congress and could be folded into any year-end tax bill.

It finally happened. The Fiduciary Rule officially died on June 21 when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals formally entered its order vacating the Rule. The Trump Department of Labor (DOL) declined to either file for a rehearing or request Supreme Court review.

Have you ever wondered about the rationale behind required minimum distributions (RMDs) from retirement plans? Retirement plans were designed to help build retirement nest eggs by deferring taxation on the contributions and earnings until the funds are withdrawn after age 59½ for use during retirement.

No plan sponsor or TPA likes dealing with uncashed retirement checks. However, when a former employee fails to cash their distribution, the employer still has fiduciary responsibility for the funds. Conducting search efforts to locate the “missing plan participant” takes time and money, and often fails to locate the participant.

These days, problems related to missing and nonresponsive retirement plan participants are causing more problems and creating more uncertainty for plan sponsors and administrators. For example, Lines 4l of Schedules H and I of Form 5500 and line 10f of Form 5500-SF ask, “Has the plan failed to provide any benefit when due under the plan?”

America has a nationwide retirement savings gap. Some have even called the shortfall between retirement income and projected expenses a retirement savings crisis. Fidelity Investments says that you need to accumulate three times your income at age 30, seven times your income at age 55, and 10 times your income at age 67 to fund your retirement.

The day of reckoning for brokers and others who have been giving investment advice may get farther away. The Department of Labor (DOL) says it has now requested an additional delay until July 1, 2019 for additional exemption requirements of the Fiduciary Rule.

Here we are, already half-way through 2017. It’s been an interesting six months, to say the least, especially with the implementation of the new Department of Labor (DOL)
fiduciary rule.

Good plan communications are an important part of administering a retirement plan. They help participants understand the basic plan rules, which are not easily found in the technical plan documents.

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.

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”.

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”.

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.

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”).

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.

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.