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Annual administration of a retirement plan is the process of correlating the plan design and the plan sponsors data to determine appropriate coverage, contribution and reporting requirements under the Internal Revenue Code.


From a functional point of view this process consists of and requires:

  1. Annually gathering complete census and trust data.

  2. Analyzing that data.

  3. Reviewing dates of hire and termination to determine plan entry, vesting and distributions.

  4. Performing the annual compliance testing functions.

  5. Preparing the annual plan valuations.

  6. Communicating contribution options and/or requirements.

  7. Preparing annual employer and sometimes employee reports.

  8. Preparing annual 5500 tax returns and all associated attachments for signature and filing by the employer.

  9. Review fiduciary compliance issues from a document, operational and investment point of view and advise the plan sponsor of concerns.


The most important annual function, however, is also the one most often overlooked, it is to take a conceptual view of the plan(s), think about the goals and aspirations of the plan sponsor and ask whether the plan is serving those ends. A plan design that solved a retirement plan issue for a small employer, may inadvertently create problems as that employer grows. These problems can often be avoided if an overview of the employer and the employer’s evolving business is maintained.

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