Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Posts Tagged ‘Human Resources’

Fully Funded Retirement in 10 Years: A DB Plan for Now

Posted by William Byrnes on December 17, 2012


Your small business clients are faced with the increasing likelihood of higher taxes in 2013 and beyond; those aiming to reduce the slope of the fiscal cliff next year will want to take a closer look at the benefits of a defined benefit plan. …. read our strategy article at http://www.advisorone.com/2012/12/13/fully-funded-retirement-in-10-years-a-db-plan-for

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Do Your Clients’ International Assets Create Criminal Tax Exposure?

Posted by William Byrnes on August 12, 2011


Retirement plan sponsors face increasing regulatory scrutiny and significant liability as plan fiduciaries. Can you leverage off these fiduciary concerns and generate advisory business for your firm?

There are a couple of key approaches you can use to address sponsors’ concerns about their fiduciary responsibilities and sell to the plans and their sponsors.

Believe it or not, there are a number of plans that don’t use an advisor—with the plan sponsor choosing to go it alone to save a few dollars. As reported in a previous edition of the Advisor’s Journal, a significant of number of employee retirement plans (19%) don’t use an outside investment advisor.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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Plan Clients: Where are the Advisory Margins?

Posted by William Byrnes on July 28, 2011


A significant of number of employee retirement plans don’t use an outside investment advisor, often because of the cost. Demonstrating your firm’s flexibility and splitting fiduciary responsibility for the plan could be the key to securing those underserved plans. Customizing your level of service gives these plans what they need—advice—while allowing you to prune services that aren’t cost effective for your firm.

According to the Retirement Plan Survey 2011, released by Grant Thornton LLP, Drinker Biddle & Reath and Plan Sponsor Advisors, greater than 50% of plans use a limited scope investment advisor and 14% of plans use an outsourced investment advisor. Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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The Perils of Top-Hat Plans

Posted by William Byrnes on July 22, 2011


An executive top-hat plan can be a great way to become desirable to highly qualified executives or supplement a business owner’s compensation. However, these plans are accompanied with a significant downside. Because the plans are generally unfunded, major events at the sponsor, like a sale or insolvency, can decimate a plan and leave participants empty handed. The effect on a top-hat plan when a sponsor liquidates its assets is illustrated by a recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals case. Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

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Retirement Plan Approved and Prohibited Investments

Posted by William Byrnes on February 15, 2011


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Discusses retirement plan investments with regards to client retirement planning.  Provides types of investments retirement plans can and cannot make.

What types of investments can a retirement plan make?

Although there is no list of approved investments for retirement plans, there are special rules contained in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) that apply to retirement plan investments.

In general, a plan sponsor or plan administrator of a qualified plan who acts in a fiduciary capacity is required, in investing plan assets, to exercise the judgment that a prudent investor would use in investing for his or her own retirement.

In addition, certain rules apply to specific plan types.  For example, there are different limits on the amount of employer stock and employer real property that a qualified plan can hold, depending on whether the plan is a defined benefit plan, a 401(k) plan, or another kind of qualified plan.

Read the entire analysis at AdvisorFYI.

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Enhancing Executive Compensation: 162 Bonus Plans

Posted by William Byrnes on December 31, 2010


An employer who does not want to, or cannot, institute a qualified pension or profit-sharing plan, or who does not want to extend benefits to all of its full-time employees, can use a “Section 162 plan” to meet its executive compensation needs.   A Section 162 plan leverages life insurance to provide supplemental compensation to select employees while also allowing the employer to take an income tax deduction for the premium payments.

In a Section 162 plan, an employer applies for, and pays premiums on, a life insurance policy on its employee’s life. The employee, however, owns the policy and has the right to appoint beneficiaries; the employer does not take an interest in the policy’s death benefit.

As an example of Section 162 plan and its tax advantages, … read this complete article at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For in-depth analysis of Section 162 plans, see Advisor’s Main Library: Section 15 C—Executive Bonus – I.R.C. �162 Plan

We invite your questions and comments by posting them below or by calling the Panel of Experts.

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Nonqualified Pension Plans and Life Insurance

Posted by William Byrnes on November 18, 2010


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Provides information on one additional planning tool that many wealth managers find useful for affluent clients who own a small business.  Gives an overview of the nonqualified plans as well as proving a common use of life insurance to fund plan obligations well into the future.    

Simply a nonqualified pension plan is a retirement plan that does not meet the requirements under the tax code and federal employment law to be considered qualified, and therefore the nonqualified plan is treated differently for tax purposes. [1]

What are some of the advantages of using a nonqualified plan over a qualified retirement plan? [2] 

  • Flexibility and selectivity—because the plan is not subject to requirements under the qualified plan rules, employers have much more control in terms of who may be included and the varying terms of each individual participant. 
  • Vesting and contingencies—nonqualified plans allow for the employer to exclude all amounts not met by vesting conditions or contingencies that the employee must achieve to obtain the benefit.  Say for example, that the retirement funds become available to the employee after 10 years of faithful service to the company.  If the employee does not work for 10 years, no benefits have thus accrued and the employee has no benefit under the plan. 
  • Cost savings through minimal reporting requirements—since nonqualified plans do not usually fall within major regulatory scope of qualified plans, the cost to administer these plans is generally less than some alternatives.

How are nonqualified plans treated for tax purposes?  Read the entire blogticle at AdvisorFYI.

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The Department of Labor Releases Final 401(k) Disclosure Rules

Posted by William Byrnes on November 9, 2010


Fee disclosure rules for 401(k) plans were expected out of the Department of Labor in early 2011, but the Department beat its own estimates, releasing a final rule on plan fee disclosures on October 14, 2010.   The rules impose significant disclosure requirements that are important for everyone associated with self-directed employee retirement plans, including employees and their advisors and plan fiduciaries.

The new rules apply to plan years beginning after November 1, 2011. Although plan administrators have over a year to comply with the new requirements, the disclosure requirements are very extensive—the release that includes the regulations is over 150 pages long—and will require significant action on the part of most plan fiduciaries, so time is of the essence.  Read this complete article at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For in-depth analysis of 401(k) retirement plans, see Advisor’s Main Library: Section 17.5  401(k) Plans.

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