After almost three years of steady and persistent work, WVBankers is pleased to announce the offering of a comprehensive retirement plan solution to our member banks who are currently providing (or for those who wish to provide) a 401(k) plan arrangement for their employees. This Multiple Employer Plan (MEP) will go live on Jan. 1, 2021, launching with at least five participating employers. MassMutual will provide the MEP platform, a company with many years of experience in MEPs, and a workforce that is not only based in West Virginia but is ready to assist our West Virginia banks. Together with Graystone Consulting as our investment manager and Metro Benefits as our plan administrator, we have been able to design a first-class retirement solution that will provide benefits to participating banks as well as their participating employees. These benefits include:
- A smooth and seamless installation process. MassMutual’s seasoned and dedicated transition team will ensure that the plan installation is seamless to all participants. The team will manage the prior plan review, contact the prior record keeper, and schedule the asset transfer. MassMutual will also ensure the shortest possible blackout period for your employees.
- Reduced administrative burden. Metro Benefits will serve as the ERISA 3(16) operational fiduciary and assume many of the administrative duties on behalf of the adopting employer. Participating banks can then focus on other business priorities knowing that knowledgeable retirement professionals handle the daily operations of the plan.
- Fiduciary risk mitigation. Fiduciary investment duties will be outsourced to the plan investment manager, Graystone Consulting, in an ERISA 3(38) arrangement. In this capacity, Graystone Consulting will assume a majority of the investment responsibilities.
- Cost efficiencies. Aggregating bank-sponsored plans into a single plan creates economies of scale. Employees who participate in the MEP will have access to the same low-cost investment funds that large banks can offer. Because the MEP will be treated as a single retirement plan, it will file a single IRS Form 5500, undergo a single audit, and determine ERISA bonding requirements based on aggregate MEP assets.
- Attractive benefits. Adopting banks will be able to offer competitive retirement benefits to their employees that can more easily compete with larger companies in recruiting and retaining workers.
- Higher level of service. Metro Benefits will help participating banks customize their plan design specifications and options within the MEP to meet the needs of your employees, and MassMutual’s Workplace Solutions team will work with you to conduct education sessions to help your employees reach their retirement goals, as well as offer assistance with the enrollment process.
As the plan sponsor and administrator, WVBankers assumes much of the fiduciary and legal risk, but because we have hired an ERISA 3(38) investment manager and an ERISA 3(16) plan administrator, much of that risk has been outsourced. A board of trustees will govern the MEP within the West Virginia Bankers Association Products & Services Corporation, comprising representatives of the participating banks. The board of trustees will be responsible for establishing an investment strategy and for monitoring and evaluating the performance of the service providers.
Participating member banks will continue to have the fiduciary responsibility to choose and monitor the MEP, to forward contributions to the MEP, and to review periodic reports on the management and the administration of the MEP.
If your bank is spending too much time supporting your retirement plan or if you are concerned about your fiduciary risk, I encourage you to reach out to me to discuss our retirement solution to better serve your needs.
By Sally Cline