401(k) Plans Course Outline

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The backbone of the United States retirement system has become the 401(k) plan. This course will cover a full range of 401(k) plan topics, including eligibility, testing, auditing, plan design, legislative and regulatory activities, plan terminations, mergers and acquisitions, and reporting and disclosures.  
The course will discuss how to avoid simple compliance failures that can cause draconian penalties, including a review of the compliance items that plans are required to meet to remain qualified. The discussion will cover cybersecurity issues that are in the forefront of U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) activities as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy issues from the DOL and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  
Most of the action has recently been in the courts. Fees and excessive fee lawsuits come almost every day. The 401(k) Plans course will explore some of the positive activities committees can do to keep costs down and still provide sound investment choices for participants.  
This session dives deep into plan design and fiduciary issues to strengthen plans and help employees reach their retirement goals.  

Day 1

  1. Plan Design
    1. Defined contribution vs. defined benefit
    2. Design considerations
      1. Demographics
      2. Budget
      3. Eligibility
      4. Service determination
      5. Compensation definition
      6. Vesting schedule
      7. Contribution levels
        1. Pretax
        2. Posttax
        3. Catch-up
        4. Traditional vs. Roth
      8. Investments
      9. Loans
      10. Withdrawals
      11. Distributions
      12. Forfeitures
  2. Plan Administration
    1. Implementation/special projects
    2. Processing decisions
    3. Allocating plan functions
    4. Ongoing administration
  3. Investment Policy Statement and the Fund Selection Process
    1. Fiduciary responsibilities
    2. Purpose of an investment policy statement
    3. Developing an investment policy statement
    4. Fund selection process
    5. ESG Investing
  4. Communication and Education
    1. Measuring effectiveness
    2. The phases of communication
    3. Communication vehicles
    4. Required communications

Day 2

  1. Compliance
    1. IRC limits
    2. IRC tests
    3. Required plan amendments
    4. Voluntary compliance programs
    5. ERISA requirements
    6. Cybersecurity
  2. Legal/Regulatory Update
    1. Includes recent developments
  3. Case Study
    In the case study, attendees are presented with a company that has multiple divisions. Each division has its own defined contribution plan. The objective of the case study is to develop and present a consolidated plan for the company.