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403bidiot

A Cry For Help

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I have inherited a 403b plan administration duty for a smallish non-profit (150 Employees), and please forgive my ignorance in describing my need for help

Past plan documents specified a couple of vendors that employees were allowed to choose from. We are an erisa plan.

Our legal council drew up a rather boilerplate plan document to meet the new requirements that did take into account certain preferences we have.

 

My questions: how can i get good, inexpensive, advice on our options today and going forward about general questions? In the past i think too much advice was taken from the vendors (hence having an annuity as the primary vendor for 20 years!) ie who to use as vendor or vendors?

How can i find out what our options are for TPA as our HR and accounting departments are very thinly stretched already?

If we do not elect TPA what software options are available to help our staff monitor and report in compliance?

 

Thank you in advance

 

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I will make a general comment on the theme to your question that many plan sponsors are taking. This theme was occurring long before the economic crisis we all face now. But you ask where I can find "good, inexpensive, advice," these sentiments dovetail with the norm of 403b plan sponsors wanting plan support for "free."

 

Those that are 403b plan sponsor need to make some very hard decisions in the coming years. Those decisions involve either choosing to do it on their own and become the admin experts of their plan capable of answering the challenges put forth by the IRS and DOL. Which you already state "our HR and accounting departments are very thinly stretched already." OR

 

Understand that you get what you pay for and as it has been said by others TANSTAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch). Until plan sponsors make a choice and realize trying to find cheap, easy and fast solutions is not the right direction these issues will continue.

 

I commend you for understanding the past decision methods may not have been in best interest of all. I also can appreciate the challenges faced by non-profits in this economy.

 

I would suggest you start shaking your local tree of advisors; bank, accountant and/or attorney to see if there is a local presence that may be capable of offering objective consult to you. If not there are regional pockets of support. 403b does suffer from a lack of "experts," but there are good resources out there, finding them can be the challenge.

 

You have taken a good step to at least ask the question. You may want to provide those here at least the region you are located, that may shake some other possible resources for you to follow up with.

 

Thank you for allowing me to spring off of your specific question to address what I feel is a real issue for plan sponsors, and that is the hard choices they need to make.

 

Pat

 

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Thanks . Free is usually not free: of that i am aware.

I am in Honolulu

 

 

I will make a general comment on the theme to your question that many plan sponsors are taking. This theme was occurring long before the economic crisis we all face now. But you ask where I can find "good, inexpensive, advice," these sentiments dovetail with the norm of 403b plan sponsors wanting plan support for "free."

 

Those that are 403b plan sponsor need to make some very hard decisions in the coming years. Those decisions involve either choosing to do it on their own and become the admin experts of their plan capable of answering the challenges put forth by the IRS and DOL. Which you already state "our HR and accounting departments are very thinly stretched already." OR

 

Understand that you get what you pay for and as it has been said by others TANSTAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch). Until plan sponsors make a choice and realize trying to find cheap, easy and fast solutions is not the right direction these issues will continue.

 

I commend you for understanding the past decision methods may not have been in best interest of all. I also can appreciate the challenges faced by non-profits in this economy.

 

I would suggest you start shaking your local tree of advisors; bank, accountant and/or attorney to see if there is a local presence that may be capable of offering objective consult to you. If not there are regional pockets of support. 403b does suffer from a lack of "experts," but there are good resources out there, finding them can be the challenge.

 

You have taken a good step to at least ask the question. You may want to provide those here at least the region you are located, that may shake some other possible resources for you to follow up with.

 

Thank you for allowing me to spring off of your specific question to address what I feel is a real issue for plan sponsors, and that is the hard choices they need to make.

 

Pat

 

 

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thanks: yes i think so.

 

Are you committed absolutely to having a 403b? Depending upon your non-profits situation, you might consider another retirement plan, like a 401k or SEP IRA.

 

Here is an article that discusses questions around switching from a 403b to a 401k: http://www.ftwilliam.com/articles/403b20080411.html

 

 

 

A search for TPA 403b Hawaii turns little up: any advice on where to look?

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403bidiot --

 

Check out the thread on this site by Brian222golf on December 2 -- there is discussion about the folks at 403bASP and 401kASP, including an officer of that company (Olsen, I believe) involved in the discussion. In many circles this company is highly thought of.

 

Alternatively, and purely out of altruism, you understand, if you would just send me a plan ticket and put me up in a ######el for a couple of weeks, I am SURE we could come up with a fine plan!! ;)

 

JudyS

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