Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Benefit Policy Statement - New Value for Advisors

Over the last few years, as more and more professional Retirement Plan Consultants start to manage their practices as ERISA fiduciaries, the documentation process has become very important. Professionally, we have experienced the Investment Policy Statement (IPS) become a document as important to the plan file as the Plan Document, Adoption Agreement and other required documents. Various other policy documents are also normally required, but are often ignored. Some examples are a formal Loan Policy and a formal Funding Policy.

Specifically, cited in ERISA Section 402(b)(1) are requirements to have a written plan document (or documents) with a named fiduciary in charge, with the documents being required to do the following:

(b) Requisite features of plan
Every employee benefit plan shall—
(1) Provide a procedure for establishing and carrying out a funding policy and method consistent with the objectives of the plan and the requirements of this subchapter…

This requirement has been present since the beginning of ERISA, yet most plans simply don’t have one. This is a potential red flag for an auditor and impractical. Unified Trust Company is proud to announce the creation of a new Participant level document that will not only meet this ERISA requirement, but will also create a set of boundaries wherein each individual’s path to successful income replacement at retirement will be mapped out for them formally. This new document is called a Benefit Policy Statement (BPS). To view a sample of the Benefit Policy Statement, click here.

The purpose of this document is to give the participant formal notification of how the trustee intends to drive the process towards secure retirement for the participant. It will provide the Purpose, define the duties and responsibilities of all parties, provide what methods are used to determine Asset-Liability matching and more. Every participant will have their own BPS custom tailored to meet their individual needs. This document will be rolled out in conjunction with Unified Trust’s impending launch of The UnifiedPLAN®, the system of Defined Goal Investing that you’ve been hearing about from us for some time. The UnifiedPLAN® and its use of the BPS are enhancements to Unified Trust’s already successful, Unified Success Pathway™.

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