A Fortune 100 manufacturing firm with a decades-long history of acquisitions had just four staff members managing retirement plans for more than 100,000 employees worldwide. In all, the company was managing more than a dozen pension and 401(k) plans for diverse employee populations including managers, union members and international employees. At different points in time, the company had offered both traditional defined benefit pension plans and pension equity plans, and some employees had accumulated benefits under both types of plans.
In short, the company’s vast size, combined with the complex nature of its benefit offerings and ongoing acquisition deals, created a never-ending list of issues requiring close coordination with the plan recordkeeper — which the understaffed corporate team didn’t have the capacity to manage.
SBA was engaged to bring ongoing project management oversight to the plans. The SBA team organized weekly, bi-weekly and monthly team calls with the client and recordkeeper and instilled a rigorous, integrated approach for managing activities including:
- Participant issue resolution
- Year-end contribution validation
- Ongoing evaluation of plan and business changes on nondiscrimination testing
- Review of regulatory and discretionary plan document amendments
- Benefit transition support for acquisitions, plant closings and executive transitions
- Plan-level reporting and government filings
- Participant communications
- Preparation of calculations and supporting documents for plan audits
- Ongoing process improvement initiatives
With SBA’s help, the manufacturers is well positioned to react to requests from upper management. Benefits are managed proactively rather than reactively, and the company has reduced the frequency of plan errors, creating a better participant experience. When issues do arise, they can now be addressed in a timely manner because of the bandwidth SBA has freed up for both internal and outsourced staff.