Jostock & Jostock, P.C. regularly works with clients to determine the employee benefit plan which is best suited for that client’s unique set of circumstances and then in the drafting, implementation and management of the said plan regardless whether a defined contribution, defined benefit or hybrid plan is the best option.
Defined Contribution Plans: The marketplace is becoming predominately focused on 401(k) savings plans. We are well-versed in the design, operation, and fiduciary issues related to 401(k) and Roth 401(k) plans. We advise clients on the many complex issues they face regarding defined contribution plans.
Plan design can have a big impact on a company’s budget, compliance risk and business practices. We work with clients in the design and implementation of plan features constructed to (1) reduce administrative burdens and costs, (2) coordinate with other existing or terminating retirement arrangements, (3) increase participation and contribution rates, (4) address non-discrimination testing risks and (5) comply with new legislative requirements.
We assist clients in addressing 401(k) matters associated with merger, acquisition, divestiture and other corporate transactions. This type of work can also include plan terminations, spin-offs and mergers. A well-designed plan may not meet its full potential if participant communication is deficient. We assist clients in the design and implementation of effective participant communication programs for their 401(k) plans with more “user friendly” disclosures and processes, which help to streamline delivery and reduce confusion among participants.
Defined Benefit Plans: The law surrounding defined benefit plans is very complex and non-compliance can result in significant liability for employers. Congress has repeatedly changed the playing field for these plans. Our firm is extremely well-versed in the design, operation and fiduciary issues related to defined benefit plans. We assist clients in the design and implementation of plan features constructed not only to reduce plan costs and future liabilities, but also to comply with new legislative and regulatory requirements.
When selecting investment strategies and investment professionals, plan fiduciaries need to be particularly mindful of their ERISA obligations and responsibility. We also advise plan fiduciaries regarding their ERISA obligations and responsibilities when considering terminal annuities and investment programs designed to reduce funding volatility.
Parallel to our transactional work specific to 401(k) plans, we assist clients in addressing defined benefit plan matters associated with mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and other corporation transactions. This work also includes plan terminations, spin-offs and mergers. Our firm assists clients in the design and implementation of participant communication programs for changes to their defined benefit plans, helping to ensure successful plan execution and administration.
Hybrid Plans: Hybrid plans combine features of both defined benefit and defined contribution plans. A significant number of cash balance plans (one form of hybrid plan) have been established by converting a traditional benefit plan into a cash balance plan. For some employees close to retirement, the conversion to a hybrid plan may upset future expectations. This change in expectations has led to accusations of discrimination. The outcome of litigation in this area has been inconsistent and has increased the risk of sponsoring a hybrid plan. These issues have made crafting the proper hybrid plan a challenge.
Our firm understands these complex legal issues and the potential pitfalls surrounding hybrid plans and is experienced in helping clients manage the associated risks. We assist companies to strategically devise plans that mitigate risks while achieving their business goals. Our firm has extensive experience in design and implementation of cash balance and other hybrid plans, plan administration and reporting issues, appropriate plan documentation, integration of the plan into an effective employee educational program and supporting ongoing management of the plan.