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COVID-19 Update

Alliant Wealth Advisors is an "essential business" under Virginia state law and we remain fully operational during the COVID-19 crisis.

To keep our clients, staff and colleagues safe we are currently holding all meetings via video conferencing. And we are alternating a small number of staff in our office while the majority serve you from their home.

Speaking of our office. Our headquarters in Prince William will relocate to the Signal Hill Professional Center at 9161 Liberia Avenue, Suite 100, Manassas, VA 20110 effective Monday, April 20, 2020.

Whether we are virtual or in person, we are here for you. Please keep safe.

Best Regards,

John Frisch, CPA/PFS, CFP®, AIF®, PPC®

President

A Better
401(k) Solution

  401(k) and 403(b) Plans Made Simple  


Secure Retirement by Design

Alliant Qualified Plans provides a consultative process backed by an ultra-high level of service and state-of-the-art technology. Learn More

Better Plans

We offer better 401(k) and 403(b) plans to help retirement plan sponsors improve their employees’ ability to build toward retirement, reduce the potential personal liability of their plan fiduciaries, and simplify plan compliance and administration.

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Our Differentiators

Better Plan Investments

We access the low-fee funds offered by institutional money managers.

Better Participant Experience

Better funds along with our professional investment management, broad financial education and mobile account tools result in more engaged, better invested, better prepared employees.

Reduced Liability for Plan Sponsor Fiduciaries

We accept delegation – and liability – for investment selection and monitoring under ERISA 3(38).

 

TOP 9 COMMON MISTAKES OF PLAN SPONSORS

The most common mistakes made by well-meaning companies and business owners include a failure to:

  • 1. Establish and follow written investment policies and procedures

  • 2. Understand sponsor fiduciary duties and potential personal liability

  • 3. Apply innovative plan design strategies to achieve employer/employee goals

  • 4. Monitor and replace poor investment options

  • 5. Understand and evaluate plan fees

  • 6. Administer the plan correctly, monitor periodically

  • 7. Identify conflicts of interest

  • 8. Provide employees the retirement tools they need

  • 9. Take action

  • Let’s start the conversation.


Going the extra mile

avatar The retirement-plan business is a competitive one. We deliver an “above-and-beyond” level of service that we believe all businesses should demand.

Joe Walsh heads Alliant Qualified Plans. His passion is working with employers to design and manage innovative 401(k) and 403(b) plans that meet organizational goals and employee needs. Joe’s expertise as a professional retirement plan consultant is backed by 30 years’ experience with money center banks providing clients with 401(k), investment management, pension, custody, and trustee services. This combination makes him a uniquely qualified advocate and partner for Alliant’s clients.

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  • CONFLICT FREE | Your Fiduciary

    CONFLICT FREE | Your Fiduciary

    Objectivity is the hallmark of our services and advice – we’re conflict free today and we’ll continue to be so, just as we’ve always been. As a retirement plan sponsor, you need to have absolute confidence that your provider is impervious to the influences of third-party financial institutions.

  • PEOPLE | Commitment to You, Your Employees

    PEOPLE | Commitment to You, Your Employees

    The ability of many Americans to retire has been questioned by the news media and government leaders, as well as individuals. It is with those concerns in mind that Alliant has developed a slate of distinctive retirement plans, each with its own unique set of qualities.

  • OUR BEST | We Do Things Right

    OUR BEST | We Do Things Right

    Beginning with your goals, we help you strategically design both 401(k) and 403(b) plans to benefit your organization and your employees.

  • A LEGACY OF TRUST | Your Needs are Important to Us

    A LEGACY OF TRUST | Your Needs are Important to Us

    For more than a quarter of a century, Alliant Wealth Advisors has built a proud tradition of integrity, trust and financial excellence.

Latest News

2018 isn’t over until the data’s scrubbed!

Retirement sponsors know it: while others are ringing in the new year, January is a time for 401(k) plan administrators to assemble, scrutinize and validate prior-year data for plans with a December 31 year-end date. Diligent information scrubbing is important. “Clean” data will result in accurate testing and tax filing. A lack of attention to detail can result in tax-filing errors, the need for voluntary corrections, regulatory audits, and – worst-case – plan repayments, fines and penalties.

Service providers known as Third Party Administrators are the recipients of the data assembled by employer plan sponsors. Using this information, TPAs conduct discrimination tests, identify allowable profit-sharing contributions, complete the IRS Form 5500 for the employer’s signature, and prepare participant communications. The quality of the TPA’s work can depend upon a plan sponsor’s diligence. Additionally, an employer’s workload can be eased by the TPA, so employers will want to question the year-end data collection processes of potential service providers.

Third Party Administrators should provide guidance to employers on the data needed for their 401(k) plan. The following is a general guide to information that may be requested, along with tips to assist with accurate collection and explanations of the data’s importance.

Employee Census Data

Time Period Covered – While there can be exceptions, plan sponsors normally provide census data for individuals employed during the 401(k) plan year. A Third Party Administrator should provide guidance if a plan’s design requires information for another time period.

All Employees – Plan sponsors must provide the TPA with census information for all individuals employed during the time period covered. This includes all employees regardless of whether they became eligible to participate in the 401(k) plan. It also includes all employees who became eligible to participate, even if they chose not to make plan contributions.

All Employment Date Information – Employers must provide significant dates related to employment, including the day employees began work, any termination dates and any re-hire dates.

All Payroll Information – All payroll information – earnings, withholdings and 401(k) elective deferrals should be provided. Earnings include all taxable compensation and each compensation category – regular earnings, bonuses, other special compensation – should be presented separately. This information should be for earnings that were paid during the time period covered, not earned during the time period and paid after the time period ended.

Plan Data

Recordkeeping Information – Optimally, a Third Party Administrator can access plan data maintained by the plan’s Recordkeeper, either because plan administration and recordkeeping are integrated or because the Recordkeeper provides a portal where TPAs can access plan information. Data collected can include financial and investment information as well as participant data: number of eligible participants, eligible participants making contributions, terminated participants and participants who received distributions during the plan year.

Company Data

Operational Information - Third Party Administrators generally ask plan sponsors to verify company data annually. This can include the form of business (corporation, LLC, etc.), the payroll schedule, and the amount of the fidelity or ERISA bond.

Ownership Information – Each year employers need to identify certain company employees meeting IRS definitions. Highly compensated employees are those earning above $120,000 (2018). Key employees are officers earning above $175,000 (2018), those owning more than 5 percent of the company, those owning more than 1 percent of the company with an annual salary above $150,000 (2018), and family members of owners.

Control Groups – Employers need to identify any affiliated organizations or companies owned by the owners of the sponsoring employer along with the percentage of ownership. Employee census information on employees at these companies may also be needed.

Why It’s Important

Complete and accurate information is necessary to ensure there are no discriminatory practices that could invalidate a 401(k) plan. Third Party Administrators use this information to conduct tests that vary depending upon each plan. Testing can confirm that a plan meets coverage tests and does not exclude from eligibility more employees than allowed under ERISA. Plans must also pass Average Deferral Percentage (ADP), Average Contribution Percentage (ACP) and Top Heavy tests, if plans are not “Safe Harbor” plans. These tests can show that highly-compensated and key employees are benefitting within allowable limits when compared to non-highly-compensated employees, or identify corrective actions. TPAs also should check to make sure that employee deferrals did not exceed IRS allowable limits; if so, refunds are necessary.

If a profit-sharing contribution for the just-ended 401(k) plan year will be made, complete data is necessary for the TPA to provide accurate non-discriminatory contribution alternatives for a plan sponsor’s consideration.

Be warned: identifying compensation is an area where many mistakes are made. Plans define compensation differently. Not all plans include bonuses in their definition of compensation. Some plans base employer matches or profit-sharing contributions on compensation paid when an employee is an eligible participant, other plans base these contributions on all compensation paid to an employee.

Written by Laurie C. Wieder, PPC®, Vice President, Alliant Wealth Advisors Qualified Plans Division 


This blog is written to help make the lives of plan sponsors easier in the process of meeting legal requirements under ERISA for their defined contribution plans. Please understand that reading this blog should not alone take the place of a one-on-one consultation regarding the needs of your specific plan, and hence cannot be a guarantee against fiduciary breaches.

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