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BusinessHub

SWBC's BusinessHub blog is a one-stop resource for business owners and company decision makers.

 

Preparing for a 401(k) Audit: Yes, They Really Do Exist

As a business owner, the word ‘audit’ tends to send chills down the spine and upset the stomach. But did you know that if your company offers a retirement plan to your employees your Plan Sponsor—party designated to administer a retirement plan, usually a company—should be conducting a plan audit?

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Why More Americans Are Delaying Retirement

I am several years away from retirement, and while I sometimes daydream about the day that I'll officially retire from the "rat race" (particularly on those long, tough days at the office) and trade my suit and tie for hunting gear, I recently learned that many Americans are delaying retirement. I found this surprising, so I sat down with Reuben Escobedo, Retirement Plan Specialist at SWBC, who has nearly 17 years of experience in the financial and retirement industry, to learn more about this trend and find out just why so many Americans are delaying their exit from the workforce.

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Department of Labor Fiduciary Ruling: 5 Things You Need to Know

The Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Ruling is good news for employers and their employees. The primary benefit of the new legislation is that investment professionals that offer investment recommendations for retirement plans will be held to the fiduciary standards as defined by ERISA.

While you may believe your existing investment advisor has served in this role, this is less common than most employers would think. Use the five questions listed below to confirm that you are taking advantage of the protections offered by the new legislation.

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Six Steps to Building Your Company's Succession Plan

Your business is important to you, and changes to it can make any business owner and employees feel uneasy. But, in order to sustain a successful business after you depart, you must plan accordingly and surround yourself with the right tools, resources, and an educated advisor to build a solid succession plan.

Here are the top six steps to guide you in your preparation to build your company's succession plan.

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Retirement Savings Options for Small Business Owners

Owning your own business is exciting, rewarding, and hopefully lucrative. One potential challenge for small business owners is to put a plan in place to begin building their own retirement savings. Then, tack on the difficulty in matching employee benefits offered by large companies and you can have some big shoes to fill.

Retirement plans, in particular, can often suffer in small businesses. According to a TD Ameritrade survey of self-employed Americans, 55% are behind in saving for retirement, by about $335,000 per person. That's a $1.7 trillion shortfall just for self-employed baby boomers!

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Retirement Plan Sponsors: Avoid These 3 Conflicts of Interest

Being a retirement plan sponsor comes with great responsibility—and risk.  As a plan sponsor, you have a fiduciary duty to ensure your plan service providers—investment advisors and recordkeepers—are meeting the standards of professional responsibility, as defined by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)—whether or not you know the ins and outs of ERISA or Securities and Exchange (SEC) laws. If you are in an executive or leadership position in your company, the responsibility falls on your shoulders. As such, many plan providers entrust the management of their retirement plan and fiduciary responsibility to an investment advisor. Performing due diligence is a critical and mandatory component of your risk management strategy. As a plan sponsor, you should also implement processes and procedures that ensure you avoid conflicts of interest.

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Recruit, Retain, Retire: The Employee Lifecycle

As a business, you have numerous responsibilities when it comes to your employees. You hire them, train them, compensate them, and each of those tasks comes with several other associated tasks. Often times, those tasks also come with a lot of paperwork.

Today, I'd like to bypass the majority of responsibilities you have as an employer and focus on three key areas that are critical to your bottom line.

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How to Conduct Due Diligence on Retirement Plan Advisers

As our nation’s corporate retirement plans gain increasing attention from regulators, it is important for plan sponsors to document the due diligence they perform to monitor the health of their plans. While this due diligence typically takes the form of fee benchmarking and various types of plan reporting, an effective way to evaluate those consultants providing advisory services to retirement plans has proved elusive.

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Learn the Ins and Outs of Retirement Plan Agreements, Practice Standards and Minutes

As a sponsor of a corporate retirement plan, you have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that your retirement plan provides the best possible benefit to your employees. The due diligence your employees are owed ensures that decisions made on their behalf have been vetted and undergone a certain level of scrutiny to arrive at the appropriate action.

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The 4 Items You Should Request in an Investment Advisory Services Request for Information

When it comes to choosing a prospective investment advisor for your employees' retirement plan, thoroughly investigating the potential advisor and performing comprehensive due diligence of their firm should be a formal step in your search.

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