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Hardship Withdrawals and Participant Understanding

When it comes to hardship withdrawals, participants may focus more on what they hear and not what is in your plan. Plan Sponsors may want to pause and consider what participants hear versus what the new laws now permit.

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Quarterly Plans: Fiduciary Checklists in Smaller Bites

Many Plan Sponsors balance their administrative concerns by approaching their various fiduciary and administrative responsibilities via checklists and project plans. Yet even these planning tools may fall short. Most of those approaches fail to address both administrative and analytical issues. A quarter by quarter approach may help create the right balance.

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The State of Student Loans: Revisiting Student Loan Payment Matching as a Recruitment Tool

Over the last few years, employers took note of the role benefits played in recruiting employees. Some employers considered matching payments to student loans. But nearly half of employers have chosen not to adopt matching programs. And now several trends may show that hesitancy is warranted.

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Common Cash Concerns: What Signs Can Be Found in the Guidance for Secure 2.0 Act Sections 304 and 348?

Recently, the IRS issued guidance on implementing section 348 (cash balance accounts). This guidance may hint at potential regulatory flexibility towards plan testing. Similarly, section 304 (automatic cash out of small accounts) could lead to flexibility in plan audits for small plans.

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Navigating Benefit Cutbacks: 8 Tips for Communicating Effectively with Employees

In the realm of employee benefits, change is inevitable. Sometimes, however, change comes in the form of cutbacks, which can be unsettling for employees. As a plan sponsor, effectively communicating these changes to your workforce is paramount. In today's landscape, where employees expect transparency and authenticity, navigating benefit cutbacks requires finesse and a departure from traditional corporate speak.

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AI and Benefits Policy Management: Guidance on the Use of AI

As corporate governance business processes become part of plan litigation, and because benefits may be an area ripe for budget trimming, management of employee benefits policies is attracting more attention. Caution is due in this area as AI systems create their own risks.

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Post-Hughes, Mid-Lawsuit Frenzy: Keeping Records on Your Recordkeeping Fees May Be Crucial

2023 ranks among the highest for number of lawsuits against plan administrators in the last decade or so, and 2022 had nearly 100 such suits. One reason for the spike is the 2021 Supreme Court ruling in Hughes v. Northwestern. This summer, the lower court ruled on the Hughes case, and its findings further muddied the waters on recordkeeping fees.

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Trend Watch: Pension Popularity

Into the brave new world of post Secure Act 2.0 benefit administration comes new and challenging accommodation requests for things such as mental health and long COVID-related illnesses, which may create confusion over balancing and discrimination testing a plan. So, we can only imagine the dismay some benefits advisors may have over news noting an increased favorability of pensions.

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Supreme Court Weighs Power of Agencies Like the DOL to Impose Penalties without a Jury

Last Fall, we noted several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court that could impact the power federal agencies have to regulate and prosecute plan sponsors. Many of those cases are now working their way through the Court and may have profound impact on agencies such as FINRA, the SEC and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. They may also impact the Department of Labor and its investigative wing, the EBSA.

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Inflation and Retirement Investing: Revisiting the Saving by Side Hustle and Its Drawbacks.

If you think inflation is last year’s news, you may be out of step with employees. COLA increases by SSA and inflation adjustments by the IRS to retirement accounts show that inflation is still running rough on employees’ savings. And now two new studies show investors are very concerned about inflation’s impact on both the date and amount of their retirement.

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Tips for Tackling Employee Concerns on Volatility

Employee concerns about worker strikes and military action in the middle east region may show anxiety about market volatility and retirement fund safety. Plan sponsors may want to pause and consider how they can use employee surveys to gauge the level of employee distress over volatility as well as how to address those concerns.

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Empowering Retirement Choices Among Plan Participants

Employees may be chafing from feeling forced towards action in other areas of their life that seems to be morality-based or “woke.” Will that discomfort translate into unhappiness with the actions of plan sponsors to encourage retirement readiness? Sponsors may have some options for how to continue incentivizing employees to enroll in retirement plans.

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Overseas Plan Participants Refresher

Events outside of the United States have been on everyone’s hearts and minds this fall. Plan sponsors may be concerned for their own families and loved ones, and also for their plan participants who have retired overseas. Nine million Americans live abroad, according to the State Department. Those living abroad may have two concerns when it comes to their retirement funds: bank account access and email.

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Benefits and Recruitment: Protect Your Online Reputation

Benefits can be an important part of the view prospective employees have of your company and whether they want to apply. How can you make sure your benefits measure up? We have a few thoughts.

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New News: Substacks for Your Plan Participants?

If you’ve been following financial writers on other platforms for topics to cover in employee education sessions, it’s worth your time to consider what Substack writers have to offer. And, if you recommend accounts on your employee education pages, adding other sources with in-depth information may increase your employees’ knowledge base. We’ve picked a few we enjoy.

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Retirement Planning Education for Employees: Track and Stack

As Quarter 4 draws near, Plan Sponsors may be wondering how they can help employees capture the end of the year energy to plan for retirement. One of our new favorite ways is to combine a well-known method with a newer system: track and stack. Tracking habits and progress towards goals is a method known to help motivate employees towards goals. But habit stacking is a new method that is stirring up a lot of interest for its impact.

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IRAs Today: Employee Education

Some changes to IRAs in the Secure Act 2.0 may have brought employees to think about how they may want to incorporate IRAs into their retirement savings plan. Towards that end, Plan Sponsors may want to offer employees a few key details on why IRAs can benefit their savings.

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Supreme Court Cases for Sponsors

A handful of cases slated to be heard by the Supreme Court this Fall could be important for Plan Sponsors. Here’s what to know.

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DOL’s Request for Public Comment on SECURE 2.0’s Emergency Savings Accounts

As an update to our June 2023 article on auto-enrolling employees in emergency savings accounts, we thought it might be worthwhile to highlight that the DOL is specifically requesting comment on the reporting requirements concerning Emergency Savings Accounts and detail the two questions on which the DOL seeks comment.

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A Third Option in the Struggle Between Credit Cards and 401(k)s

Credit card debt competes with saving, for retirement or emergencies, on the spreadsheet cells of your employees’ budget. This war of intentions is particularly noticeable in younger generations, like GenZ, those just entering the workforce. Here’s a review of how credit card debt impacts retirement saving.

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Plan Participant Education: Five Places to Start

New research shows that over half of all plan participants can’t pass a basic retirement education quiz. But where to start? Here are a few suggestions of where to begin with a plan participant education program.

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About Those Incentives: Is Your Gift Allowed Under Secure Act 2.0 on Enrollment Incentives?

Deliberating over de minimis incentives to boost participation in 401(k) and 403(b) plans? We discuss the details of the new provision in this article about Section 113 of the Secure 2.0 Act.

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Student Loans and Credit Card Debt: A Perfect Storm May Wreck Your Employees’ Retirement

A perfect storm occurs rarely, when two or more meteorological events come together to create disastrous effects much more so than if the two events had happened individually. The impact of student loans coming due at the same time as a significant amount of bad debt written off by credit card companies may just be one of those rare, disastrous situations.

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…Are You Ready For it? Brush Up Your Leadership Communication Skills to Find the Holy Ground of Employee Benefits Satisfaction

It’s not an epiphany that employee benefits are a significant tool in recruiting and retaining employees. How can you be sure you’ve got the right end game in sight? Before you go singing “it’s me, Hi, I’m the problem,” you may want to consider two basics of leadership communications.

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New in FinLit: Concerns About Abusive Lending Policies?

Plan sponsors are increasingly offering financial literacy programs for their participants, including educating participants on their rights and the roles of consumer agencies. A new effort by the CFPB may cause confusion among participants seeking consumer loans. The history and impact of predatory lending may predict positive and negative impacts of the new policy.

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Beau Adams
Executive Vice President, BCG
John Correll
Client Relations Team Leader
Kevin Bonner
Regional Retirement Sales Director
Nina Wilkinson
Client Relations Manager
Robert Terry
Retirement Plan Sales Manager


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