Retirement Plan Basics Course Outline

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The rules around administering retirement plans are in constant fluctuation. Legislative changes to the Internal Revenue Code or ERISA as well as regulatory and subregulatory guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation can continually change how retirement plans work. 
Additionally, ERISA fiduciary breach claims have increased significantly in recent years. For retirement plan administrators, these class actions can be extremely expensive to defend and routinely result in judgments or settlements into the millions of dollars. 
It is critical to understand these challenges and how to address them. Knowing their fiduciary duties and the rules regarding retirement plans puts those who administer retirement plans in the best position to minimize risks and maximize the value of the plan for their participants. 
This session explores the entire landscape of defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, including plan design options, with a special emphasis on today’s emerging landmines. The starting point is a thorough description of Social Security benefits—the “floor of protection” upon which all other forms of retirement income are built. Attendees will leave with strategies for guiding their plan’s administration. 

Day 1

  1. Introduction
    1. Retirement plans in the context of total rewards and workforce planning
  2. Overview of Social Security
    1. History, philosophy and evolution
    2. How SSA calculates Social Security benefits
    3. Retirement options by age
    4. Annual earnings limits
    5. When to apply for benefits
    6. Disability benefits
    7. Medicare eligibility based on Social Security
    8. Terminology and historical data
  3. Qualified Retirement Plans
    1. IRS requirements
    2. Advantages of a qualified plan
    3. Possible areas of discrimination
    4. Key laws
    5. Types of plan sponsors
    6. Types of regulations
    7. Types of retirement plans
  4. Defined Benefit (DB) Plans
    1. What is a DB plan?
    2. Different types of DB plans
    3. Principal design features
    4. Integration with Social Security
    5. Funding
    6. The actuarial process
  5. Defined Contribution (DC) Plans
    1. What is a DC plan?
    2. Different types of DC plans
    3. Principal design features
  6. Comparing and Contrasting DB and DC Plans
  7. Hybrid Plans
    1. What are hybrid plans?
    2. Different types of hybrid plans
    3. How hybrid plans compare with DB and DC plans
    4. Transition considerations
    5. Variable DB plans
  8. The Future of Retirement
    1. Accounting changes
    2. Legal changes
    3. Economic changes
    4. Government fiscal challenges
    5. Demographic changes
    6. Generational changes

Day 2

  1. Overview of Different Retirement Plan Types
    1. Single employer, multiple employer, multiemployer
    2. Defined contribution vs. defined benefit
    3. Different types of defined contribution plans
    4. Tax benefits of investing through a retirement plan
  2. Internal Revenue Code Requirements
    1. Minimum age and service requirements
    2. Included and excluded employees
    3. Tracking service for eligibility and vesting
    4. Allocation conditions
    5. Vesting rules
    6. Rehired employees
    7. Nondiscrimination testing
    8. Top-heavy requirements
    9. Limits on contributions and accruals
    10. Distributions and death benefits
    11. Required beginning dates
    12. Qualified domestic relations orders
    13. Taxation of distributions and rollovers
    14. Automatic enrollment rules
  3. ERISA Requirements
    1. Form 5500 annual governmental filing
    2. Required disclosures to participants
    3. Fidelity bond
    4. Blackout notices
    5. Antialienation rule
    6. Timing of elective deferral deposits
  4. Fiduciary Duties
    1. Who is an ERISA fiduciary?
    2. Types of ERISA fiduciaries
    3. ERISA fiduciary duties
    4. Paying plan expenses from plan assets
    5. Fiduciary liability and co-fiduciary liability
  5. Correcting Retirement Plan Errors
    1. IRS's Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System
    2. Types of errors that can be corrected
    3. Correction programs available
    4. DOL's Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program
    5. DOL's Delinquent Filer Voluntary Correction Program
  6. Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans
  7. Case Study
    In the case study, attendees will be asked to prepare a retirement plan proposal for a fictitious company and present it to the "board of directors."