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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

Diagnose Your Retirement Plan’s Health Amid COVID-19

As a 401(k) sponsor, how would you describe the health of your company retirement plan today?  Is it thriving, seriously ill or somewhere in between?


 
With the events of this year – COVID-19 and the new SECURE and CARES Acts – the annual plan assessment that is always important has become more essential.  For employers whose plan year-end is December 31, now is the time to begin your review to ensure adequate time to implement changes to improve or restore plan health.

1. What Constitutes a Healthy Plan?
In defining plan health, many 401(k) experts turn to behavioral economist Schlomo Benartzi, who suggests a thriving plan is one in which 90 percent of participants are enrolled, the average deferral rate is at least 10 percent, and 90 percent of participants are invested in a portfolio that is managed appropriately for their age.  In today’s blog, we’ll focus on engagement rates.

2. Information Gathering
To assess the health of your plan, you’ll need important data.  Rely on your recordkeeper to provide enrollment and savings rates.  Due to COVID-19, review data from a year ago as well as current data.  You’ll also want to request information on loans and hardship distributions, again requesting current and prior year information.

3. Increasing Rates of Participation and Savings

After learning whether involvement in your plan has grown, remained the same or dropped, consider plan design features that could encourage participants to increase or – if impacted by COVID-19 – rebuild their engagement.

Consider automatic enrollment and re-enrollment.  With automatic enrollment, new participants are automatically enrolled upon reaching eligibility at a plan-defined deferral rate.  Now may also be the time to consider re-enrollment for all eligible participants, also at a plan-defined deferral rate.  In both cases, participants must be provided notice in advance and may change the deferral rate or opt out.  Most do not opt out.

Employer matches also encourage participation, as employees want to make sure they receive the money employers are offering and they may only do so if they defer to the plan at the rate necessary to receive the maximum match. 

Matches can also be used to leverage higher savings rates.  Employers can “stretch” matches to encourage larger deferrals. An employer willing to contribute 4 percent of pay might stretch out the rate at which deferrals would be matched, contributing 50 cents to match every dollar up to an 8 percent deferral rate (thus incentivizing participants to contribute 8 percent of their pay) rather than making a dollar per dollar match up to a 4 percent deferral rate (and thus incentivizing only a 4 percent participant contribution).  Plans using a stretch match may need to undergo discrimination testing, so employers should seek guidance from Third Party Administrators as part of their consideration.

Another measure to encourage higher savings rates is automatic escalation.  Participants who were automatically enrolled and remain in the default deferral may be escalated annually.  Once again, they must receive advance notice of the escalation and have an opportunity to change their contribution rate or opt out of deferring altogether.

There are tax incentives to encourage automatic enrollment adoption.  With passage of the SECURE Act, employers who first adopt automatic enrollment January 1, 2020 or later may take a $500 per year tax credit for three years after implementation.  Additionally, the SECURE Act allows employers adopting auto escalation in a safe harbor automatic enrollment plan to escalate participant deferrals up to as much as 15 percent after their first year in the plan.

4. Considering CARES Act Distributions and Loans

With enactment of the CARES Act, employers have had the choice to adopt policies that would allow participants affected by COVID-19 to take larger loans and hardship distributions.  It has been a hard choice for many sponsors, who recognized the difficulties faced by those who experienced illness or financial adversity due to the pandemic yet were concerned about participants depleting retirement savings.

As part of the analysis to determine plan health, sponsors will want to look at whether participants took COVID-19 loans and distributions, if they were available, or if participants took other loans or distributions.  In considering the steps explored above to improve plan health, employers also should take a close look at financial education programs available through the 401(k) plan.  A best practice is to offer broad financial education and encourage its use.  Such education can help participants adopt prudent practices in all aspects of their financial lives, to include building savings outside the retirement plan to help them weather times of adversity as well as increasing their retirement plan savings.

 

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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