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Responses to the RFP:


  • Describe in detail how your system processes Required and Minimum Distribution under 401(a)(9) and Section 457.
    • Response: During the fourth quarter of the year, Ascensus will identify RMD eligible participants and work with the employer to take appropriate action. The employer will determine who receives an initial RMD and ensures all necessary RMDs are distributed. RMD processing for employees who receive an RMD in year one will be noted in subsequent years and will be automatically processed by Ascensus in December each year under negative consent (10% federal withholding and any applicable mandatory state tax is applied).Requests for RMDs follow the same processing timeline as withdrawals noted above. All RMD processing is scheduled for completion by the third week in December each year.
  •  Describe how your system processes daily transfers/exchanges(including frequency/limitations). Are confirmations set?
    • Response: Employee-level transfers/exchanges are accepted into the system via the web or voice response system 24 hours a day. If the request is received after market close, it will pend until the following business day. Both the sell and buy side are traded same day and subsequently post in the overnight cycle into the recordkeeping system (viewable in the employee account on settlement date).   The trade team ensures that redemption fees and trade restrictions (blocking) are established at a fund level in accordance with the fund’s policy in the system. The recordkeeping system will prevent exchanges from being accepted into the system if they violate the trade restrictions established.  2 Transfers can be completed by percentage or an exact dollar amount. Transfers completed via the web, call center, or have confirmations generated as the transaction is completed.
  •  Describe in detail how your system handles federal and state tax reporting.
    • Response: All required state and federal income tax reporting will be completed. Information returns are produced and distributed to all employees who take a reportable distribution during the year. The appropriate state (quarterly and/or annual) and federal (Form 945, 1042, W3) reconciliation returns are filed by their respective deadlines.  The information returns are mailed directly to the employees no later than their required federal deadline. Although loans are not considered distributions, employees who have defaulted on their loans during the calendar year will receive an IRS Form 1099-R from Ascensus.
  • Do you provide an administration manual?
    • Response: Yes, the administrative manual is posted to the employer website. The manual will include administrative information and step-by-step procedures, forms, and contact information.
  • Do you prepare tax reporting forms (e.g., IRS Form 1099-R) to recipients of distributions from the plan?
    • Response: Yes.
  • Describe your capabilities and time frames for  monitoring maximum deferral limits under Section 457(b)(2) and the catch-up provisions under Section 457(b).
    • Response: 415(c) and 402(g) testing is provided by the plan’s third-party administration firm.
  • What other administrative services do you provide?
    • Response: Ascensus offers extensive administrative services, including:
      • Dedicated websites for financial professionals, employers, TPAs, and employees with account inquiry and transaction processing
      • Promotional communication materials for enrollment/education meetings
      • Targeted communication pieces
      • Enrollment presentations
      • Ongoing employee enrollment reminder materials
      • Roth 401(k)
      • Contribution tracking/calendar
      • Eligibility tracking
      • Paperless loan and distributions
      • Delinquent loan reporting
      • Employee-level customized enrollment kits (standard offering)
      • Personalized rate of return on website and statements
      • Auto enrollment, deferral increase, and rebalancing features
      • Educational webcasts and forums on retirement legislation and issues hosted by an ERISA compliance subject expert
      • Optional enrollment meeting support by our Regional Education Specialists through Total Benefit Communications, an Ascensus company
      • Monitoring Required Minimum Distributions
      • Fee disclosure reporting
      • Managed accounts through Morningstar® Retirement ManagerSM, Stadion, NextCapital, and Franklin Templeton
      • Investment Fiduciary Program through Mesirow Financial
      • Online retirement calculator and plan enrollment
      • Email statement delivery option
      • Online enrollment and beneficiary designation
  • Describe the standard reporting package that you would provide the employer (provide examples).
    • Response: From a fiduciary standpoint, we offer two critical reports for financial advisors and employers:
    • Plan Health report—Customizable and on-demand, our digital Plan Health Report uses helpful illustrations to provide a broad overview and analysis of a plan’s performance, including: Plan design, and Plan demographics, showing a breakdown of employee rates and asset allocation by age, Investment performance, Fund fact sheets, Insights and benchmark pages with metrics to help compare plan activity to averages across our platform
    • Benchmarking report—Ascensus has partnered with Fiduciary Decisions Insights (FDI) an independent, third-party company to help demonstrate the value employers receive with Ascensus’ services and fees. The FDI benchmarking report includes a comparative analysis of: Plan fees, Plan design features, Employee success measures, Employer and employee services
    • Other reports include:
      • PayrollSync—This report captures changes requested by participants for deferral changes, new loan requests, loan payoffs, and hardships. The client can schedule this report and review necessary changes prior to payroll submissions.
      • Monthly Plan Confirmation—A report available to employers via the employer website at the end of each month, containing:‒Contributions invested during the previous month. This enables the employer to review and confirm the amount invested equals the amount sent to the trustee. This feature ensures that rollover contributions have been submitted for processing and that loan payoffs are properly reported.‒Employee activity—The employer can confirm that all requests submitted have been received and processed accordingly.‒Missing contribution elections, which allow the employer to review employee information and determine if the employee has completed an enrollment form.‒Enrollment notification—This alerts the employer of employees who have met their age and service requirements for the plan and who are eligible to join on the next plan entry date. Specific dates are outlined for updates/changes to employee information and for actual production of enrollment forms.
      • Quarterly Plan Administration Report—Summary of plan and employee financial transactions 
      • Plan Year-End Package—Audit support package for large plans
      • On-demand reporting via employer website‒Over 40 available reports that can be generated either on-demand or scheduled to run automatically.
  • Describe any Employee portal provisions.
    • Response: The employee website provides a user-friendly, online web application to help employees with any questions or issues related to their plan accounts, as well as robust overall retirement planning resources. Some of the key benefits of the site include:
      • Retirement goals, outlook monitoring 
      • Access to robust, online financial wellness program
      • Integrated managed account solution
      • Employee message center
      • Fund performance, fact sheets, and prospectus
      • Savings rate changes and auto-rebalancing features
      • Connectivity to Financial Finesse financial wellness hub
      • Benchmarking report
    • Employee website services and transaction capabilities include:
      • Plan investment information and education (advice, managed accounts, articles, and commentary)
      • Account balance information (total, by fund, by source, vested balance)•Investment direction information and changes
      • Fund exchanges
      • Loan rules, interest rates, modeling, and request (if applicable)
      • Withdrawal amount, request, and status updates (if applicable)
      • Electronic copy of quarterly statements and on-demand statements
      • Easy enrollment process (online/mobile)
      • Custom personal rate of return
      • Online prospectus and fund fact sheet
      • Auto-rebalance enrollment and maintenance
      • Online beneficiary monitoring

The READYSAVETM mobile app includes innovative features to educate employees and encourage healthy saving behaviors through consequence-based decision aids as they act in their accounts. The discovery and development process included over 1,000 surveys and concept testing of designs, and we continue to use data and analytics and user feedback to inform future app enhancements.  The READYSAVE participant mobile application launched in July 2020. Additional updates to features and functionality will occur iteratively.

  • Available on READYSAVE today:
    • Branded interface
      • Secure biometric login, including Face ID and Touch ID
        • Available in Spanish
        • Registration and enrollment
        • Multiple plan selector
        • Total balance
        • Balance by Fund
        • Fund Fact Sheets and prospectus
        • Balance by money type
        • Vested balance
        • Rate of return
        • Change savings rate
        • Retirement Outlook tool
        • Behavioral prompts and consequence-based guidance
        • Activity history (last 90 days)
        • Financial literacy content
      • Features/functionality under development:  
      • Asset allocation screen
      • Fund details (performance, expense ratio, benchmarks and Morningstar rating)
      • Model details (model make-up, rebalance dates and performance)
      • Change future investment elections
      • Enrollment enhancements, including Managed Account adoption
      • Transfer funds
    • Describe your standard participation statements and documents(provide samples).
      • Response: The employee statement offers branding capabilities for the employer logo and contains the following sections:
        • Your Account in Review (activity for the period)
        • Your Loans in Review (if applicable)
        • Your Vesting in Review
        • Your Plan Information (for messaging by the employer or financial professional)
        • Your Asset Allocation (current asset balances and future investment elections)
        • Your Investment Activity
        • Your Investment Performance Summary (includes the participant’s personal rate of return, along with the funds’ performance data)
        • Financial professional contact information (if applicable)
        • Annual Lifetime Income Disclosure
        • Employees have the option to request a free paper copy of their statement be mailed to the address on file on the employee website. Employees can request a statement for a select time period at any time via the employee website.

Example statement

  • Do you issue Participant statements within 30 days after quarter end?
    • Response: Yes. Participant statements are available within 15 calendar days after the quarter-end.
  • Does your fund transfer confirmation statement illustrate the number of shares liquidated/purchased along with corresponding share prices?
    • Response: Yes.
  • Describe  your process for  administration of employee loans against accounts to  include interest rates and payback  schedules.
    • Response: Ascensus’ loan processing capabilities include the ability to:
      • Model loans on the employee website incorporating the plan loan rules. The system will pre-populate the plan rules in the loan modeler for the employee to determine the appropriate terms of their loan.
      • Submit loan requests on the employer and employee websites.  Once the employee loan has been modeled, the request can be submitted directly on the website.
      • Process residential loans. The recordkeeping system has the ability to service loans that extend past five years.
      • Monitor loan status. The employer receives a periodic report which displays loans that are in a delinquent status so the appropriate action can be taken.
      • Provide loan documentation on the employer/employee website. The loan documentation is available on the website for any open loan including the promissory note and amortization schedule.
      • Deem or offset delinquent loans and provide applicable tax reporting.
      • Navigate changes in the regulatory landscape in a timely and effective manner.  ‒CARES Act: To support employers in an unprecedented time, Ascensus was able to quickly update our recordkeeping system to efficiently implement the temporary plan provisions on coronavirus loans.
  • Additionally, a plan employee may model a loan via the employee website and print paperwork for hardcopy submission. When submitted electronically, employers receive a notification via email of a pending loan request. This request will prompt the employer to review, approve, or deny the loan via the employer website. TimingLoan requests received via the web will be processed the   same day if approved prior to that plan's trade cut-off time of 3:00 p.m. ET for plans that include exchange-traded funds, or 4:00 p.m. ET for plans containing only mutual funds. The processing cut-off for loan requests remitted via paper is 2:00 p.m. ET. Checks are produced and mailed the next business day. Employers have the option to adopt Pass-Through Processing, which would not require their approval when an employee submits a loan request through the web. Loans for primary residence always require employer approval.