The Employees' Retirement Nest Eggs

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This is an example of what we have done for a client's corporate retirement plans.

A growing Southern California based engine parts manufacturer was transitioning into a professional executive group from being family operated for almost 40 years. The company sponsored 401(k) Plan has been offered for 15 years and had a small mandatory match but the Plan was never effectively promoted or communicated to the employees. The new Vice President of Human Resources knew the value of the 401(k) and was committed to maximizing its use by the employees to build their retirement nest eggs. The HR VP also wanted to find additional retirement opportunities for the newly hired executive group.

The new VP HR was a key company advocate and was dedicated to improving the 401(k) Plan communications, education, investment offerings, participant services to ultimately benefit the employees. The VP HR was also aware of the need for improved plan compliance. When we began working with the Company, the 401(k) participation rate was 28%.  Enrollment / re-enrollment meetings were not being held, investment policy statements (IP|S) and the retirement committee necessary to approve and review the IPS were non-existent. There was no review or benchmarking of investment performance or fees.and there was no focus on enhancing participant services or educating the trustees.

We worked closely with the VP HR and other key people at the Company to engage the employees directly and consistently, . Webinars were held for sales people in the field. A review and benchmarking of all plan investments, fees, administration and record keeping was done resulting in an enhanced investment menu, lower fees and more stream lined administration and record keeping processes. These efforts contributed to the annual independent plan audit running more smoothly and with less billing time.

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An investment policy statement was drafted and approved by the Plan trustees and the new retirement committee.

Educating the trustees and retirement committee on fiduciary, compliance and legislative issues now occurs on a regular basis. Participant services have be enhanced to include one on one investment education access as well as access to web-based services to facilitate better long-term decisions to reach retirement goals.

In the second year, the highly compensated employees hit their employee contribution limits. This lead to a review of and implementation of a  nonqualified deferred compensation plan for this group. This new Plan gave key employees an additional means to save for retirement and a robust financial planning tool. 
A long term incentive bonus program was created for the key employees, and this group was given the opportunity to elect to defer some of this entire bonus, along with their regular and sales compensation, to their accounts in the nonqualified deferred compensation plan.