Principal Offers 403(b) Sponsors a Chance to Practice

They say that practice makes perfect--and for non-profit employers that sponsor 403(b) retirement plans, Principal Financial Group is offering to give them a chance to "practice."
In 2010, 403(b) plan sponsors will face rigorous new reporting requirements including submitting a full Form 5500 and, for larger plans, an independent plan audit. The Principal Financial Group is offering to give them a practice run by sending expanded Form 5500 packets now, along with life count and audit packages, to make the transition to the new reporting requirements easier.
The Principal is providing 403(b) plan sponsors with:
  • 2008 Life Count Package: helps determine if plan is large enough to require an audit and needed for the full Form 5500;
  • Audit Package: gives the plan sponsor a snapshot of the data we provide to help them with future audits including financial information necessary for a limited scope audit;
  • Form 5500 Sample Packet: helps familiarize plan sponsors with the type of information they will need to verify and what missing data they will need to provide for a full Form 5500 report.
These reports are just part of a comprehensive set of tools from The Principal to help plan sponsors get a head start in meeting several new reporting requirements. According to an announcement, other tools include:
  • a white paper: “The Road to Transparency: Form 5500 Annual Reporting, 403(b) Plans and Fair Value Measurements (FAS 157);”
  • a Form 5500 Quick Reference Guide;
  • a review of Value and Reporting of Retirement Plan Assets—FAS No. 157;
  • a “plain language’ fiduciary handbook: “Understanding and Managing Fiduciary Responsibility.”
“For the first time, ERISA 403(b) plan sponsors will face the same financial reporting and auditing requirements as 401(k) plans,” said Aaron Friedman, national non-profit practice leader for The Principal, in the announcement. “We’re helping them ease into the hefty new reporting requirements by providing financial data and reports a year in advance, along with user friendly directions. They will have a clear picture of what data they will need to collect and how to report it when the time comes.”