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While in the process of reviewing a client’s annual data to perform the non-discrimination testing in 2008, we learned that the client had been acquired by a venture capital firm. This information prompted a thorough analysis of the company’s business relationships, and we discovered that the client now belonged to a controlled group of corporations.
We presented our findings to the parent company of the controlled group outlining an action plan to ensure overall compliance between the controlled group members. As a result of our thorough analysis, we were given the opportunity to design and implement a new retirement plan for the group consisting of eight companies.
This process included a thorough review of the existing retirement plan documents for all eight companies to determine if there was a consistency of benefits, rights and features, and to identify any protected benefits that could not be taken away. From this review, a new plan was designed that met the needs of the controlled group preserving any existing protected benefits.
Once the new plan design was in place, we prepared an investment policy statement for the plan. Using the new investment policy guidelines, we performed a due diligence review of all the investment options in the existing plans to determine which funds in the current investment portfolios met the investment guidelines established in the investment policy statement. The goal was to maintain as much consistency in the investment options between the existing plans and the newly established plan.
Upon completion of the plan design process the plan trustees asked us to have the new plan fully operational within six weeks. To succeed, we needed to coordinate several key events within a very short time frame.
The first on the agenda was to provide each of the existing plans with a Sarbanes Oxley notice making the plan participants aware of the plan change and any blackout period that they may experience.
Next, we designed customized enrollment materials to be used in educating the plan participants on the features of the new plan. This involved distributing the enrollment materials to each of the various companies.
Lastly, we sent our team out to the eight corporations of the controlled group, to eight different states to conduct employee group seminars. In addition to the seminars, our team was available for one on one counseling sessions for over 1000 employees.
Ultimately we were successful in meeting the trustees’ goal of rolling over all of the existing plans to the new plan which was fully operational within the stated goal of six weeks.
Our highly trained staff of plan administrators have the ability to clearly see the “big picture” when it comes to issues affecting our clients. Because we don’t utilize a “pooled approach” when it comes to delivering administration and we assign one pension expert to manage all aspects of our clients plan we’re able to anticipate “all” of the potential issues that could adversely affect our clients and address them before they become a liability for our clients and their participants.
The preceding are hypothetical case studies and are for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance and results will vary. These studies do not represent actual clients but a hypothetical composite of various client experiences and issues. Any resemblance to actual people or situations is purely coincidental.