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Plan termination, and Summary of Material Modifications


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So, suppose a calendar year plan is terminating in March. The plan must, of course, amend for SECURE and SECURE 2.0 - (CARES amendment was done way back).

I believe that technically, since the amendment is ADOPTED in 2024, and there is a 210 day period following the end of the PLAN YEAR IN WHICH THE AMENDMENT IS ADOPTED (hence 210 days into 2025) that no SMM is required. Now, employees were previously notified if certain provisions applied - QBAD's, for instance, albeit not in a formal SMM.

If I'm correct, this makes the plan termination process easier, because the SMM's can be wildly variable with the voluminous possible changes, and are a royal PIA.


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This is not an official opinion but I tend to agree with you. I cannot remember ever doing an SMM for compliance provisions on an accelerated for basis for a terminating plan. Usually if anything that impacts administration and a participant's benefit - timing and/or form - there is some other place where that gets communicated, such as a notice of plan benefits and/or a distribution election package. The relevant provision affecting participants are the RMD ages, and if you're dealing with only DC plans or small DB plans that are likely only paying out lump sums then those don't matter at the plan level - they'll get all that from the IRA provider. 

Kenneth M. Prell, CEBS, ERPA

Vice President, BPAS Actuarial & Pension Services


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Some suggest that a revision (whether a restated SPD, or a summary of material modifications) need explain only those plan provisions that are “material”.

“Material” is awkward legalese for “it matters” (to inform some choice a participant, beneficiary, or alternate payee could make).

If a plan is amended to discontinue contributions and get ready for a single-sum final distribution, some provisions included in an otherwise boilerplate plan amendment might never apply.

Peter Gulia PC

Fiduciary Guidance Counsel

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



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