ASC Newsletter (15-01)

In this issue #15-01:

ASC Valuation’s Spring Release Coming on June 1st

Mark your calendars for ASC Valuation’s Spring Release scheduled for June 1st. In addition, the Spring Update Webcast is scheduled for June 11th at 2pm eastern. You’ll receive an email with links to download the System Update Memo describing the new features and sign up for the webcast. Some exciting enhancements are noted below:
  • Defined Benefit – Cash Balance design enhancements, new SOA Mortality tables with generational projection scales, and new PPA present value and benefit comparison reports
  • Daily Valuation – Enhancements to the Fees and Expense module
  • Gemini Web portal – Advisor/Sponsor reports for plan values across multiple plans
  • DC401k – Plan Statistics report reflecting participation rates
  • Compliance Testing – ADP/ACP options to perform ATM calculations after the ACP, as well as the ability to combine HCE data for multiple/related plan testing that is not permissively aggregated

Deadline for Pre-Approved PPA Defined Benefit & Cash Balance Plans

Officially, June 30, 2015 is the deadline for sponsors submitting applications for pre-approved PPA defined benefit and cash balance plans. However, Principals of ASCi, Charles Lockwood, J.D., LL.M. and John Griffin, J.D., LL.M. have been in touch with the IRS and it looks very likely this deadline will be extended. As we receive more information we will continue to update you.

Cloud Server Now an Option for Your ASC Valuation System

cloud-banne-620x300 Thinking of running the ASC System via a server “in the cloud”? If so give us a call! ASC now runs on MS Azure Cloud Server. For some companies, running ASC on an in-house server makes sense; for others running ASC on a cloud platform may be better. Currently a number of ASC clients have set up ASC on ‘cloud servers’ and we recently tested configurations on the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform. Azure provides full server infrastructure, meaning you can choose to run only ASC Software or all your applications on your Azure server. This gives you convenient remote access to all your favorite programs, making working from home or other remote locations as simple as bandwidth. The MS Azure platform also offers easy scalability, allowing you to save money initially, then upgrade quickly when you need it. While an IT consultant is still necessary to manage your server remotely, in-house server hardware costs would be eliminated and maintenance reduced. Azure provides security and backup ability as well. Contact sales@asc-net.com for more info.

Automate Your Plan Valuation & Testing Tasks!

600x600-Automate-Nearly-All-of-Your-Annual-Plan-Valuation-and-Testing-Tasks Imagine the time you’d save if you could automate even half your plans or half your tasks! Well, many ASC users are doing just that and even automating much more. Many users are familiar with the wizards that can be used to manage the plan database in batch (e.g. roll forward, copy, delete), to produce year end census request files, and to perform all the compliance tests for a single plan in one run. Additionally, users have contracted us to write small custom wizards for them to do such things as standardize plan spec coding, export employee data across multiple plans, and calculate plan participation rates. Taking scripting many steps further, many ASC offices have automated nearly all of their annual plan valuation and testing tasks for a large group of their plans. In addition to saving time, wizards also provide for standardization of your processes, highlighting the tasks being performed that are outside the norm. With this time savings on “normal” plans, your consultants can focus on the challenging plans or clients. Feedback from ASC clients who have implemented wizards in their office also note they now have more time to deliver value added services (e.g. evaluate effectiveness of a plan), suggest alternate plan designs/features). Wizards can also be written to perform different tasks based on plan features (e.g. Safe Harbor plans). Plans may be pulled out of the wizard for a user to perform a specific task (e.g. complex new comp allocation), and then placed back in the rotation to complete testing and reporting. Another benefit is that these wizards typically run unattended until completion, allowing the user to perform other tasks when they are running. In addition, wizards can be set up to run at night or on the weekend when workstations and the server would otherwise be sitting idle. Here is an example of how a wizard can be used to automate valuation tasks in stages: Stage 1: Data Validation – Census data is validated via the employee data checks, then Eligibility is calculated, followed by match and safe harbor true-ups. If no data errors are found, the plan continues processing. Profit Sharing allocations may also be performed at this stage if they need advance verification. Stage 2: Allocations and Testing – Once data is validated, calculations are run, testing is performed, and reports are produced for review. Reports can include valuation reports, employee statements, compliance testing, and even custom reports that your office or ASC may have written with Reporter. Stage 3: Wrap up – Once reports are approved, the wizard can pick up the plan for wrap up work if needed. This often includes exports of data to be fed back to internal systems, or for further analysis by a consultant (e.g. HCE, Key, and ownership data; deferral and participation rates; testing results If you’d like to discuss the possibilities, contact our Sales team: sales@asc-net.com or (800) 950-2082 x1.

Put ASC’s Expertise to Work for You

The latest FREE webcasts from ASC’s Support team. Boost your knowledge with the Support Team’s FREE webcasts for 2015! All webcasts are designed to help you get the most out of the ASC software so you can work and run your business as efficiently as possible. All webcasts are recorded and may be viewed at a later date. Click here to see the 2015 Support Team Webcast Calendar. To access System Support recorded webcasts log into the Client Support Center (CSC) and go to the ‘Training’ tab.  See the screenshot below.  You’ll find recordings about all the ASC systems and recent enhancements relevant to you.  If you don’t’ know your CSC login, email support@asc-net.com. Screenshot of Support Recordings Stay Industry-Current With Industry Experts, Charles and John ASCi offers a full range of topics presented by ERISA experts, Charles Lockwood, J.D., LL.M. & John Griffin, J.D., LL.M.. ASCi’s IRS approved Webcasts qualify for ERPA, NIPA, ASPPA, Enrolled Agent and JBEA continuing education credit. Click here to see the 2015 ASCi Webcast Calendar. Need CE Credits? Earn What You Need, When You Need 24/7 ASCi’s recorded CE webcasts are available all the time, 24/7, so you can get the information and the CE credit you need at times that are convenient for you. Click here for a full selection of recorded CE credit webcasts.

Missed the 403(b) IRS Sign-up Deadline?

If you made the Pre-Approved 403(b) Plan Document sign-up deadline of April 30th, you are guaranteed to receive your letters from the IRS first. However, if you missed this deadline, you can still sign-up (click here to sign-up now). The sooner you sign-up the less likely your IRS letter will be delayed. The following new pre-approved 403(b) plan types will be offered through ASCi’s fully web-based Document Generation and Management System (DGEM) for easy preparation and delivery to your clients!
  • FULLY FLEXIBLE 403(b) PLAN – This fully flexible plan is designed for 501(c)(3) organizations and “electing” church plans (i.e., church plans that have elected to be covered by ERISA) that are subject to Title I of ERISA. The plan allows a wide range of adoption agreement selections, including funding through annuity contracts and/or custodial accounts, designation of eligible employee by category, numerous contribution options for salary deferrals, matching contributions and employer contributions, vesting schedules, several distribution options and other features. The plan is similar in design to the ASCi PPA volume submitter 401(k)/profit sharing plan.
  • SIMPLIFIED 403(b) PLAN – This plan is designed as a simplified version of the Fully Flexible 501(c)(3) Plan. The plan includes the more common design options and provides a more streamlined adoption agreement.
  • SALARY REDUCTION ONLY 403(b) PLAN – This plan is designed to allow salary reduction contributions only. The plan is intended only for employers who intend for the plan NOT to be subject to Title I of ERISA, as provided under Department of Labor regulations. Among the conditions for exemption from ERISA are: the plan is funded solely by salary reduction agreements; participation is completely voluntary, the plan rights are enforceable solely by the employee or beneficiary; the employer’s involvement is limited to certain enumerated activities; and the employer receives no direct or indirect compensation other than reimbursement for the direct expenses of performing its duties.
  • GOVERNMENTAL 403(b) PLAN – This plan is designed for State-sponsored educational organizations described in Code §170(b)(1)(A)(ii) (relating to educational organizations that normally maintain a regular faculty and curriculum and normally have a regularly enrolled body of pupils or students in attendance at the place where educational activities are regularly carried on). For example, public colleges, universities, high schools and elementary schools may use this plan. The plan is designed as exempt from Title I of ERISA. This plan also can be used by dual status 501(C)(3)/governmental organizations.
  • NON-ELECTING 403(b) CHURCH PLAN – This plan is designed for churches and church-related organizations that have not elected to be covered by ERISA. The plan can cover ministers. The plan does not allow for the use of retirement income accounts under Code §403(b)(9) since IRS procedures require plans with a retirement income account option to adopt a separate plan. See our Retirement Income Account Plan below.
  • RETIREMENT INCOME ACCOUNT 403(b) CHURCH PLAN – This plan is designed to allow for the use of the special provisions available to church-related organizations under Code §403(b)(9). IRS procedures require provisions allowing retirement income accounts to be contained in a separate plan. The provisions of Code §403(b)(9) allow retirement income account plans to avoid application of certain IRS and ERISA requirements for 403(b) plans.
We expect the IRS will finish its review of the pre-approved 403(b) plan documents and open the period for restatements by adopting employers in 2016 or 2017. Until then, ASCi’s existing 403(b) specialty document in DGEM is available for any who wish to order. These new offerings expand ASCi’s high quality DGEM System. ASCi also offers prototype and volume submitter PPA defined contribution, volume submitter defined benefit, cash balance, ESOP, and 457(b) plans for both governmental and tax-exempt entities.