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MoJo last won the day on January 30

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About MoJo

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  1. Yes, but.... His research (first point) references the regs on "segregation" and his questions references the "deadline" - of which there actually is none for "depositing." That is a fiduciary issue. Hence, my comment relating to the DOL's treatment - in at least one case - of the postmark issue (and if it ain't segregated, it can't be deposited)..
  2. While I agree this is "still" the rule, I had to deal with a client that mailed a check to Vanguard ON PAY DAY, and the DOL still hit them up for a delay in segregating assets - arguing the company (a 160 employee HVAC contractor) could have used electronic means to ensure DELIVERY within 3 days. Still shaking my head, but....
  3. I am really surprised that these type of "uncooperative" TPAs seem to survive. When I worked for a TPA and we had advisors who spread their book around, we used to tell them (the advisors) to add a request of TPAs in the RFP process (or what ever selection process they used). The request was to provide the names and contact information of any business LOST that went to one of the other TPAs being considered in the search. Failure to provide any was disqualifying. Providing names that said the transition was painful to another provider was disqualifying. Stopped the belligerence almost immediately. This is a small industry and unfortunately the number of true "professionals" is even smaller. Time to call them out on it.
  4. I actually was allowed to enter a plan early - by mistake - and my employer was a TPA (and as it turns out, not necessarily a "good one.") The issue - as you point out, Austin, is the PRECEDENT. If an employer had previously NOT allowed in those inadvertently allowed to participate and refunded money, and then allowed one who "technically" was an NHCE but would be an HCE going forward, I would think an auditor/investigator might ask questions. It may be (and I believe it is) "technically" ok to do this, but do you want to set the precedent - or have been inconsistent. In my experience, "inconsistent" is harder to explain than "oops."
  5. Interesting topic - and one that depends on State law. Where I've practiced, the Separation Agreement is COMPLETELY revocable up until the Court orders the divorce/dissolution. Indeed, the Judge or Magistrate is REQUIRED to ask the parties if they have read the Agreement, if they have any questions about the Agreement (or have they discussed it with their attorney), did they sign it voluntarily and without coercion, and if they still agree to the terms of the Agreement "today." If so, the Court will enter the decree of divorce - which at that time fixes the property rights of the parties. If the Agreement calls for a DRO, and one party dies AFTER the decree of divorce but before the DRO is issued, it will still be issued, and the estate of the deceased steps into the shoes of the decedent. If the party dies BEFORE the divorce decree is issued, the Separation Agreement (unless already part of an order of the Court - as in a "legal separation" proceeding) is OF NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER (they haven't "verified" it as discussed above), and the parties are still "married" at time of death. Go to probate court....
  6. Um, I just feel compelled to say: We don't have earthquakes or hurricanes, but we have an abundance of fresh, drinkable water - which is why I stay in the midwest/Great Lakes states....
  7. Someone ought to explain that to the DR bar in CA - because I get 4 or 5 of these for CORPORATE plans a month....
  8. Just to get back to the OP's query and the very correct commentary concerning the reasonableness of the fee. We currently charge either a flat fee of $250 or an hourly rate of $150 (depending on our service agreement with the plan) for complete QDRO outsourcing service (the "Q" determination, letters, etc., everything up to an alternate payee requesting a distribution - which is handled as a regular distribution). I think that is low. Average time to complete is about 5 hour - with half of that being "professional" time, and half being more clerical/systems related. Factor in risk, and the price could, and possibly should, be $700 - but market forces being what they are, I think that wouldn't fly.
  9. Just curious here, why is it necessary to join a plan to the domestic action? I work for a service provider and we get these ALL THE TIME "naming" us as the contact for the plan and we respond with - absent a DRO determined to be qualified, go to you know where.... Fundamentally, a DR court has no jurisdiction over a plan except through a QDRO. People seem to forget that the service provider and the plan are not the same - and we service in a non-fiduciary capacity (and in many cases don't even hold the assets - the TRUSTEE does) so serving us is really just inappropriate. Some enterprising attorneys has agreed - but then get an injunction or other device AGAINST THE SERVICE PROVIDER (if they have jurisdiction over them) to not process a distribution pending the outcome. That, at least, makes legal sense to me.
  10. 2/5. Operate the plan on a cash basis.
  11. What exactly do you mean "being run through payroll"? I get "reimbursements" through "payroll" but they aren't considered comp for plan purposes.
  12. I'd restate immediately (even for free - as we do) because: 1) it's easier to use our document; 2) the plan sponsor probably no longer has reliance on the old provider's opinion letter; 3) the plan sponsor may be in breach of contract (pretty much everyone I worked for had a provision in their contract that said you could only use the document (which was copyrighted) only as long as you were a client); and 4) "maintenance" amendments would no longer apply and the plan could potentially get out of compliance.
  13. Have you considered negotiating a contract modification? The company I work for (also in the group annuity plan business) would rather change (older) contracts than lose a client.
  14. First, neither of our document (major modifier Relius, off-the-shelf ASC) have any provisions for POAs. In fact, I've never seen such a provision in a document. Second, an appropriately drafted POA puts the agent in the shoes of the grantor of the power (participant), and so the agent may act consistent with the powers granted - which is a STATE LAW issue - and I'm not aware of anything in ERISA or other federal law that would allow a plan fiduciary to ignore a "properly drafted" POA. Third, we get POAs all the time, and we do review them (as a courtesy to our clients) and specifically look for a specific grant of authority to manage plan assets. Sometimes that is difficult to ascertain. We prefer a POA that specifically mentions retirement plan assets and authorities listed in dealing with it (some may allow investment selection - as in the case of a financial advisor with a POA, and some with respect to a distribution or other actions). We are cautious with respect to things like distributions - and seek to verify specific authority to do so (not just a "general" power to do anything the grantor/participant could do). We provide our analysis to the sponsor who makes a final determination (usually consistent with our analysis). Just as an aside, we recently got one from Germany - written in German along with a provided English translation. It was unique to say the least, and we actually had to find someone to verify the English translation was accurate - and then still rejected it because it didn't contain sufficient specificity. We got an earful from the German lawyer - apparently the POA would have been more than sufficient under German law to allow the agent to do anything they darn well pleased. We didn't see it that way.
  15. Sorry, but I disagree. The money spent in configuring a compliance mechanism is money that needed to be spent. If the industry had self-policed, the burden wouldn't have been so great, and would have been incremental over time instead of all at once - but it is money that needed to be spent. The White House report pegged the losses to participants at $17 BILLION, ANNUALLY. The costs are a pittance - even if halve or even quarter that number.