Retirement Plan FOCUS Bulletin - Third Quarter
What's new at Fulton Financial Advisors?
Our Volunteer work
The Retirement Plan Services team joined the rest of Fulton Financial Advisors in a series of volunteer projects designed to improve our communities and to further build our internal team and working relationships. By all accounts, the entire team found these projects to be rewarding and we hope we changed a few lives for the better in the process. A few of the projects were:
Wish Warriors - We sponsored a child with Spinal Bifida to ride in the Mother’s Day convoy and raised $1,932.04 in the process.
Water Street Mission – organized a personal care drive, providing 13 boxes of items and raising $525.
Central PA Foodbank – collected 295 pounds of food for the Food Bank.
American Red Cross – organized a blood drive at our home office.
The ARC – created gift themed baskets for a silent auction.
Bell Socialization Services – created 100 personal care kits.
Common Wheel – collected and donated 28 bikes for this charity.
Maintaining a Better Plan
Data Loss Prevention Techniques
One of our priorities is making sure that the data related to your plan and your participants is protected. We monitor our security and practices when it comes to sharing sensitive data with you. However, what happens when you are sending information to us? It’s also essential at that stage to be mindful and protective of sensitive data. To that end, we have a couple of suggestions:
First, simply look over emails carefully before sending them to us to see if there is any critical data (such as Social Security numbers, Date of Birth, etc.) and assessing whether that data is necessary to send. If it isn’t, then simply remove the data. If we need more information – we will ask. This is the one of the few times where “less is more”! In some cases, it is necessary to send private information to us. For example, we may require private information on an enrollment form. In those situations, we recommend that you use our encrypted email system to protect the data. As a reminder, the system we use is Zixcorp. Below are the simple steps to securely send emails to us:
- Visit https://securemail-fult.com/s/login?b=fult
- Use the username and password you’ve previously setup when receiving secure emails from us
- Click on “Compose” to prepare an email
- Attach any applicable files
- Click “Send”
- It’s that easy!
Or, if you would like another alternative – simply send an email to your contact at Fulton and ask them to send you an encrypted email. Once you open that secure email – you can respond to us and the email will automatically be encrypted (along with attached files) when you reply. These tips don’t just apply to working with Fulton and your retirement plan – consider applying this approach to your other service providers as well!
Industry & Legislative Changes
Changes to Hardship Rules
The recent Budget Act has made a few changes regarding Hardship Distributions. These changes are currently slated to become effective on January 1, 2019. However, the industry is awaiting further guidance from the Internal Revenue Service. Currently, it appears that the following changes will be available next year:
Loans before Hardships: Under the Safe Harbor provisions of hardship withdrawals, a participant was previously required to take a loan from the plan (provided the plan allowed for loans) before they could request a hardship. This provision is slated to be removed and will allow for a participant to take a distribution without first taking a loan from the Plan.
Six Month Suspension: Current provisions require that a participant have their contributions suspended for 6 months after taking a hardship withdrawal. The Budget Act directs the Internal Revenue Service to remove this provision and allow for a plan participant to continue making contributions.
Additional Sources Available for Hardship: Currently, a participant can only take a hardship from their own deferrals and was limited to the amount of contributions that were made (earnings were not permitted to be taken). The Budget Act allows for participants to take earnings on their own contributions. In addition, participants will be permitted to take distributions from qualified non-elective contributions (QNEC) and qualified matching contributions (QMAC). These changes will not be available until 2019 and we are awaiting further guidance on this topic. We’ll certainly keep you updated.
Don't take our word for it
Using a Payroll Provider as your 401(k) Provider is an awful idea
Ary Rosenbaum is one of my favorite thought leaders when it comes to 401(k) plans. He values the notion of protecting clients at all stages and providing them with an uncompromising level of service. To that end, he has strong opinions in the way that payroll providers attempt to provide complex products such as 401(k) plans as a side business. Please click here to read more.