Authorized Plan Representatives for Your Governmental 457(b) or 401(a) Plan

By Jeff Chang

Whenever you engage a new recordkeeper for your governmental 457(b) or 401(a) plan, the plan sponsor will be asked to complete, sign and return an authorized plan representatives form (APRF). The APRF designates the so-called “contact persons” and the plan sponsor from whom the recordkeeper may receive directions and instructions. Most human resource directors fill-in the names, titles and emails of two to four members of their human resources staff and return the form to the recordkeeper without much thought. Completing the form in this manner may not be a good idea for a number of reasons:

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Improving Administrative Service Agreements For Public Agency Retirement Plans

By Jeff Chang

Although many of our municipal and special district clients have sophisticated contracting and RFP departments, they often do not have balanced and well-negotiated administrative service agreements (ASAs) with their 401(a) and 457(b) recordkeepers. This is due in part to a lack of understanding of how ASAs differ from other local agency contracts and the fact that many such contracts are reviewed and “negotiated” when the contracting agency has little leverage.

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Public Agencies Need to Make Sure That Their Retirement Plans Keep In Step With Their MOUs and Employment Agreements

By Jeff Chang

Having worked with dozens of cities and special districts, we are familiar with the focus and attention placed on memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and management employment contracts – especially provisions relating to retirement benefits and compensation. Unfortunately, because responsibility for the maintenance of retirement plan documents often does not reside with the individuals handling the labor negotiations or the processing of increased employer contributions, it is fairly common to find the agency’s retirement plan documents have not been timely or properly updated to reflect retirement benefit changes or enhancements made in recent MOUs or employment contracts.

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Have You Developed All of the Policies and Procedures Needed to Properly Administer Your Governmental 457(b) or 401(a) Plan?

By Jeff Chang

If you are responsible for the administration of a public agency 457(b) or 401(a) plan, you know that these tax-favored plans are complicated and subject to myriad rules and requirements found in the plan document, the Internal Revenue Code (and related IRS guidance), and applicable state law (e.g., the California Constitution and Government Code, for California agencies). Although many people are intimidated by the typical sixty-plus-page plan document on their credenzas, those who serve as designated plan administrators and fiduciaries need to understand that the plan document often is just the beginning – the “quick-start guide.”

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Public Agency Plan Administrators Need to Keep Track of Participants Before They Go “Missing”

By Jeff Chang

Although “governmental” plans are not subject to ERISA and the guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), public agency plans in California are subject to ERISA-like rules and would benefit from following the DOL’s recent guidance on missing participants.

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