Long before ERISA was enacted in 1974, 403(b) plans were already in existence. These plans offered a simple retirement vehicle for employees of public educational institutions and private tax-exempt employers to save for retirement on a tax-deferred basis. At that time, costs and responsibilities were minimal, which made this type of plan affordable for not-for-profit organizations. Employers relied upon insurance companies, the issuers of annuity contracts, to administer the terms of the 403(b) contracts, which included requirements to conform to the applicable requirements of the Code.
As 403(b) plan compliance requirements have evolved, so too have the relationships among the employer/plan sponsor, participant and service providers. However, many 403(b) plans still hold accounts and/or contracts that incorporate greater deference to individual participant control. Current DOL guidance for ERISA plans can be more challenging to apply to 403(b) plans because (1) some 403(b) plans have multiple investment product providers as well as multiple administrators and (2) because some contracts give the investment providers more control (such as control over the investment choices).
In addition, another area of challenge will occur if an employer decided that an investment provider would no longer be authorized to receive contributions (commonly referred to as a “deselected vendor”), and the participant’s account, in many cases, would remain with the deselected vendor unless, and until, the participant chose to transfer their account to another vendor. This practice continues to exist today in many 403(b) plans.
Plan Consulting Services: Carroll Consultants, Ltd. can help you design your plan to best meet the needs of your school and organization. We will help you create a design that is creative and compliant with the industry regulations. Our team has extensive experience in every area of your 403(b) plan and will share benchmarking information to make sure your plan is competitive and attractive to help you attract and retain top employees for your business. We understand the nuances of 403(b) plans, in particular independent private schools’ plans.
Compliance Services: Carroll Consultants, Ltd has been providing year end compliance testing and Form 5500 reporting for plans since the requirements first began in the 1970’s. We help our clients not only satisfy these regulations from a legal aspect, but also from a creative standpoint as well. Our goal is to help your school or organization meet your goals and objectives. We understand that these regulations are new to the 403(b) world and we will help you satisfy the new requirements and make your life easier.We will help you get there.
Investment Due Diligence: Carroll Consultants, Ltd recognizes the importance of a strong, robust and diverse fund menu for your employees. A large part of the success of a 403(b) plan is the fund platform offered to your employees so they can meet their retirement goals. We help you select the best performing funds in the retirement universe. These funds have passed our comprehensive and extensive scorecard system which looks at both quantitative and qualitative factors.
Employee Education and Communication Services: Carroll Consultants, Ltd will help your employees understand and appreciate the generous retirement plan you offer. We conduct group meetings and seminars with the participants to educate them on the plan provisions and fund selections. A successful retirement plan is one in which the employees understand the plan and are actively involved in the plan. We teach them about the plan and the funds so they are able to actively and pro-actively plan for their retirement.
Benchmarking Fee Analysis: Carroll Consultants, Ltd can help you sort through the various options in the retirement market and identify the most competitive platform and program that best fits your school’s and organization’s needs. Lower fees mean more money towards retirement. Our objective advice and recommendations that are in your best interest will help you get there.