SAL TRIPODI - TRI Pension Services
Your Employee Retirement Income Security Act Resource

In-House Seminar Topics

Any topic listed can be adjusted to a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced level. Suggested minimum and maximum times are provided for each topic. An "hour" for this purpose should be read as a typical credit-hour for continuing education purposes (e.g., 2 hours would be 100 minutes of instruction). The appropriate time will depend on the number of issues you wish to discuss within that topic, and the detail desired. When constructing an agenda, use the suggested times to total 8 credit hours (400 minutes) for actual instruction time in a full day (8-hour) seminar, or 4 credit hours (200 minutes) for actual instruction time in a half-day (4-hour) seminar. Remember to allow for lunch, breaks and participant questions. A topic may not be listed on your agenda with less than the minimum suggested time allotted.

  • Our most popular choice – "What's New" in pensions – This can be the entire agenda or one requested topic. (+)
    2 to 7 hours
  • Ethics & professionalism regarding employee benefits practice
    1 to 2 hours
  • Fee disclosure rules
    2 to 4 hours
  • Types of plans – basic ERISA definitions.
    1 to 3 hours
  • Organization of the ERISA legal requirements – statutes, regulations, rulings, notices. DOL and IRS allocation of authority. Research techniques.
    1 to 2 hours
  • Plan design – What is the right type of plan? What plan features are "red flags" for more involved administration?
    2 to 6 hours
  • Eligibility rules – Suggested time for minimum age and service requirements and entry date rules (When does an employee become a participant?).
    2 to 4 hours
    1 to 2 hours for break in service
  • Accruing benefits – allocation of employer contributions allocated. What are the options? How should the plan define compensation, allocation of forfeitures, allocation of earnings? How can the following factors impact allocations – compensation, social security benefits, age, service? What is a 401(k) arrangement and what are the design features in such a plan, including automatic enrollment features? Defined benefit plan accruals; differences between cash balance plans and traditional defined benefit plans (recommended for intermediate and advanced).
    2 to 5 hours for defined contribution plans, including profit sharing plans, money purchase plans, stock bonus plans, 401(k) arrangements, Roth 401(k) vs. pre-tax 401(k)
    1 to 3 hours for defined benefit plans
    1 to 2 hours for 401(k) plan issues only
    1 to 2 hours for Roth 401(k) issues only
    1 to 2 hours for automatic enrollment issues only
  • Vesting of benefits – measuring years of service and breaks in service, when should a forfeiture occur, vesting schedule options, missing participants or beneficiaries, termination of the plan, cash-out rules.
    2 to 4 hours for vesting schedules, measuring year of services, excluded years, amendment of vesting schedule
    2 to 4 hours for break in service, forfeitures, cash-out distributions
  • Limiting contributions or benefits under §415
    1 to 3 hours for defined contribution plans
    1 to 3 hours for defined benefit plans
  • Top heavy rules.
    1 to 2 hours for determination of key employees and calculation of top heavy ratio
    1 to 2 hours for calculation of minimum benefits
  • Identifying highly compensated employees.
    1 to 2 hours
  • Testing coverage, Ratio test, Average benefits test, 40% minimum participation test (defined benefit plans only), Qualified separate lines of business.
    1.5 to 3 hours for ratio test
    2 to 4 hours for average benefits test
    1 to 2 hours for permissive aggregation
    1 to 3 hours for disaggregation concepts
  • Nondiscrimination testing (other than 401(k) and 401(m)). How to identify a safe harbor plan under the 401(a)(4) regulations. What type of plan designs are "red flags" for more complicated nondiscrimination testing. Compensation definition. Uniform points plans. General nondiscrimination testing. Cross-testing. Use of target benefit plans. (If requesting this topic, please list what aspects of testing the group is most interested in discussing, and set time guidelines that are within the suggested time parameters below.)
    3 to 6 hours for defined contribution plans, depending on which topics are desired
    1 to 3 hours for defined benefit plans
    2 to 3 hours for separate discussion just on cross-testing of defined contribution plans
  • 401k nondiscrimination testing. Effect of matching contributions, employee after-tax contributions. Testing options. Determining whether benefits, rights and features are nondiscriminatory. Safe harbor 401(k) plan designs. (If requesting this topic, please list what aspects of testing the group is most interested in discussing, and set time guidelines that are within the suggested time parameters below.)
    4 to 7 hours, depending on topics and detail desired
  • Controlled groups, affiliated service groups, leased employees.
    3 to 6 hours, depending on topics and detail desired
  • Plan loans – tax issues, qualification issues, prohibited transaction issues, administration issues.
    1-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours depending on extent of detail desired
  • Anti-assignment rule issues - QDROs (procedure; legal requirements; tax issues); protection from creditors; bankruptcy; payment of plan expenses.
    1 to 4 hours, depending on topics and detail desired
    1 to 2 hours for just QDRO issues
    1 to 2 hours for just assignment of benefits, without QDRO discussion
    1 to 2 hours for just exclusive benefit rule and a focus on plan expenses
  • Determination letter process; remedial amendment period
    1 to 3 hours depending on detail desired
  • Distributions – consent requirements; administrative procedure; notices to employees; timing of distributions (when distributions are permitted and when they are prohibited); withholding; direct rollover option; automatic IRA rollovers; joint and survivor requirements; minimum distribution rules. Taxation of distributions – reporting income; 1099-R issues; rollover vs. payment of taxes; income averaging election; recovering after-tax contributions; illiquid assets; premature distribution penalty; post-death issues; surviving spouse vs. nonspouse beneficiaries, including rollover options available to each; distribution of employer securities. Distribution restrictions under profit sharing plans, 401k plans, pension plans. Hardship withdrawals.
    1 to 3 hours for consent and procedural requirements for making distributions
    1 hour on QJSA rules and different forms of payment
    1 to 3 hours on rollover rules and withholding
    1 to 2 hours on basis recovery
    1 to 2 hours on premature distribution penalty
    1 hour on income averaging for lump sum distributions
    1 to 3 hours on minimum distributions
    1 to 2 hours on post-death distributions
    1 to 2 hours on QDROs
    1 to 3 hours on distribution restrictions (including 401(k) distribution rules)
  • Mergers and spin-offs of plans – effect on qualification rules and administration of plan. Reporting requirements. Corporate reorganizations. Successor sponsorship. Termination of employment.
    3 to 7 hours depending on topics and detail desired
  • Title I of ERISA – reporting and disclosure requirements (+); preparation of SPD; employee benefit statements; information requests and penalty for not responding; enforcement of ERISA - DOL audits, DOL civil actions, participant claims; fiduciary status; fiduciary duty and liability; participant-directed account; investment manager agreement; proxy voting; amendment procedure; investment policy statements; allocation of duties and responsibilities under the plan.
    1 to 3 hours for reporting and disclosure requirements
    1 to 3 hours for fiduciary responsibility
    1/2 hour to 1-1/2 hour for participant-directed account balances
    1 to 1-1/2 hours for ERISA enforcement
  • Termination of the plan – qualification issues; determination letter; termination procedures; additional defined benefit plan requirements under Title IV of ERISA.
    2 to 3 hours
  • Deduction limits for the employer. Consequences of overcontributing or undercontributing.
    2 to 3 hours
  • Tax consequences of plan disqualification.
    1 to 2 hours
  • Resolution of plan disqualification. Rev. Proc. 2008-50 (Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System): SCP, VCP) and Audit CAP. Audit issues targeted by IRS. Options at the audit stage.
    2 to 4 hours
  • Life insurance in the plan
    1 to 2 hours
  • Prohibited transactions, statutory exemptions, class exemptions created by DOL
    2 to 4 hours depending on detail desired
  • Current developments update
    2 to 6 hours
  • Benefit rights upon reemployment following military service period (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA))
    1 to 3 hours
  • Tax-sheltered annuity programs under 403(b)
    2 to 5 hours depending on detail desired
  • IRAs, SIMPLE plans, SEPs
    1 to 3 hours for IRAs
    1 to 3 hours for SIMPLE plans
    1 to 2 hours for SEPs
  • Nonqualified deferred compensation, rabbi trusts, special problems for tax-exempt organizations (section 457 plans)
    1 to 4 hours depending on detail desired

Seminar Quick Links


TRI Pension Services(303) 470-7964
Sal Tripodi on Linkedin
TRI Pension Services on Twitter