2016 ASPPA Spring Virtual Conference

ASPPA’s 2016 Spring Virtual Conference, scheduled for Thursday, April 21st, promises to once again offer an efficient and cost-effective way to stay up-to-date with the latest developments affecting qualified retirement plans. The 2016 Spring conference will bring together some of ASPPA’s most highly rated speakers, namely: Ilene Ferenczy, Managing Partner of the Ferenczy Benefits Law Center, LLP; Brian Graff, Chief Executive Officer of the American Retirement Association; Craig Hoffman, General Counsel of the American Retirement Association; Adam Pozek, Partner and Consultant at DWC ERISA Consultants, LLC; and Sal Tripodi of Tri Pension Services.

The agenda will focus on some of the most important issues faced by pension professionals. Each session will be led by one of our experts, however, our other speakers will participate in the discussion to broaden the coverage of each topic. And attendees will be able to submit questions throughout the day, which will be covered, as time permits, either as part of the relevant session or by the concluding “Ask the Experts” panel.



9:30 to 9:35 a.m.                     Welcome
+                                               Craig Hoffman


9:35 to 10:50 a.m.                   Session 1: Washington Update and Late-Breaking Regulatory Developments
+                                               Brian Graff and Craig Hoffman

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Developments in Washington continue to have a profound impact on the design and administration of retirement plans. Congress is considering a number of pension-related proposals that could significantly affect qualified retirement plans. The DOL is finishing work on a number of regulatory initiatives including the “conflicted advice” regulation, an update to the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction program, as well as revisions to Form 5500. At the same time, the IRS is expected to soon issue guidance on mid-year amendments to safe harbor 401(k) plans, hardship distribution substantiation and retroactive amendments to defined benefit plans. Learn how ASPPA’s Government Affairs Committee is responding to these initiatives. Session learning objectives include:

  • Be updated on the political climate in Washington and legislative initiatives relating to retirement plans.
  • Identify the IRS and DOL regulatory initiatives that will affect qualified retirement plans.
  • Ascertain how ASPPA’s Government Affairs Committee is responding on behalf of members.


10:50 to 11:10 a.m.                 Break


11:10 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.         Session 2: Compensation Conundrums
+                                               Sal Tripodi

The definition of “compensation” chosen for a qualified retirement plan can have a profound impact on the plan’s operations. It affects 415 limits, discrimination testing, benefit formulas, and potentially coverage testing, as well. IRS examiners report it is the most common operational defect they find when auditing a plan. This session will provide an overview of available options and alternative elections. Attendees will learn how to achieve the plan sponsor’s objectives while avoiding practical pitfalls. Session learning objectives include:

  • Examine the qualification requirements affected by the compensation definition.
  • Discover available options and elections and their impact on plan design and testing.
  • Identify common operational mistakes and how to correct them under EPCRS.


12:25 to 1:00 p.m.                  35-Minute Lunch Break


1:00 to 1:50 p.m.                     Session 3: Professionalism and Ethics Case Studies
+                                               Adam Pozek

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Pension professionals often find they are faced with difficult scenarios that may test their professionalism and ethics. Using case studies, this session will focus on real-life examples of challenging ethical and professional decisions that practitioners in the pension field often face. ASPPA’s Code of Professional Conduct, as well as IRS “Circular 230,” will be considered by our speaker panel in resolving the issues presented. Session learning objectives include:

  • Identify common ethical issues faced by pension professionals.
  • Apply the ASPPA Code of Professional Conduct to ethical dilemmas.
  • Evaluate the role of IRS “Circular 230” in determining the ethical way to proceed.


1:50 to 2:10 p.m.                    Break


2:10 to 3:25 p.m.                     Session 4: Hot Topics in Plan Operation and Administration
+                                               Ilene Ferenczy

Plan operations and administration is a challenge for the most seasoned pension professional. There are some common issues that seem to rise to the top. Led through this discussion by Ilene Ferenczy, our panel of expert speakers will give their views on a potpourri of problem areas tha

t are commonly faced by plan administrators. Topics to be covered include: employee identification in a world of shared employees, PEOs and independent contractors; merger mania – dealing with short plan years, transition testing under IRC §410(b)(6)(c)and similar issues; IR

S determination letter cutbacks – what’s a plan sponsor to do; and dealing with deferred deposits (and other fiduciary breaches) under the DOL Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program. Session learning objectives include:

  • Determine how to distinguish between employees and non-employees.
  • Appraise (and resolve) issues created by merging employers and plans.
  • Be able to recognize and properly correct late deposits.


3:25 to 3:45 p.m.                    Break


3:45 to 5:25 p.m.                     Session 5: Ask the Experts
+                                               All

Our panel of industry experts will answer the hard questions submitted by attendees. Use this opportunity to get some help with those thorny problems that linger in your office. Attendees are encouraged to submit their questions in advance of the Virtual Conference to give our speakers time to consider and research their answers.


5:45 to 7:00 p.m.                   Recorded Repeat of Session 1: Washington Update and Late-Breaking Regulatory Developments


7:00 to 7:20 p.m.                   Break


7:20 to 8:35 p.m.                   Recorded Repeat of Session 2: Compensation Conundrums