Swerdlin & Company has been in business for more than three decades. We provide exceptional ESOP and KSOP administration, 401(k) recordkeeping, actuarial and cash balance plans, as well as administrative services for all types of qualified and nonqualified retirement and Cafeteria/Section 125 plans.
Types of plans we service include:
- Cross-tested and profit sharing
- Defined Benefit
- Cash Balance
- Cafeteria Plans (FSA, HRA, Dependent Care)
When you work with Swerdlin, you can count on us to keep your plan compliant, help you manage the costs, and resolve the challenges you face as your business changes and grows. Our experts are skilled at problem-solving and building relationships. We want to be a long-term partner, not simply a vendor. You can rely on us to take the best possible care of your greatest asset—your employees.
As you assess your current service provider, please consider the following:
- Are your questions answered quickly and accurately?
- Is your service provider accessible?
- Are your employees, and your company, receiving the maximum benefits available under new laws and regulations?
- Are you receiving adequate communication from someone you trust?
- Are your retirement plans consistent with your company's goals?
How We Serve
Swerdlin & Company's service is personalized to each client. Our team brings extensive experience to each and every client. Our focus is to provide clear and effective communication to both plan sponsors and participants. Whether your organization is large or small, and no matter how complex the challenges, Swerdlin can help create better retirement outcomes for your plan participants.
Our consultants research, analyze, and interpret the laws as they relate to retirement plans. We offer virtually every type of retirement plan available. If a customized plan design better accomplishes your company goals, then we are the right choice as your plan consultant. Our administration and recordkeeping services help ease your workflow by managing the paperwork associated with your retirement plans.
Swerdlin & Company manages both the technical and administrative processes for employees, creating a seamless connection to their benefit plans. We initiate and maintain effective communication programs that keep everyone informed about changes in regulations, legislation, and other relevant matters. Plan sponsors have a fiduciary obligation to inform and educate employees about their retirement plan options. Providing the right messages at the right time can often overwhelm a human resources department. When Swerdlin manages this responsibility, the result is a benefits plan that is better understood by its participants and therefore more likely to achieve success.
Please review our Case Studies to see how Swerdlin has addressed some of the unique challenges our clients have faced.
ESOP, KSOP, and 401(k)
Swerdlin & Company has provided defined contribution plan services for more than three decades, including ESOPs, KSOPs, and 401(k) all serviced under one roof. Our goal is to simplify the administrative process, making it as flexible as possible.
Our service model includes:
- An experienced team of administrators, led by a senior consultant who serves as the client's contact.
- Established service standards managed by assigned team members.
- A thorough understanding of each retirement plan and each client's individual needs.
- Consistent communication that includes onsite client visits, newsletters, emails regarding new laws and regulations, and workshops.
- A commitment to being proactive. We create a timeline with our clients each year which outlines the status of all deliverables for the coming plan year.
- An in-house call center available to plan participants of 401(k)s and ESOPs. When needed, calls are escalated to a consultant for immediate attention and resolution. Our center is bilingual, with both English and Spanish representatives available. All calls are recorded for security.
While technology is an important part of our recordkeeping and administration services, we believe it's the knowledge and experience of our staff that sets us apart from other firms. Our teams have the training and expertise needed to interpret complex laws and regulations governing defined contribution plans. Swerdlin requires all technical and operations staff to attain appropriate professional designations, participate in relevant professional organizations, meet annual continuing education requirements, and acquire the skills needed to use the latest online research software.
Additionally, to ensure our clients are well informed on the status of their plans, we provide a customized and thorough annual plan report which includes plan statistics related to fees, usage, and plan operations, as well as recommendations for improvements to the plan.
Larger ESOPs and KSOPs
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are best serviced by firms who specialize and focus on these types of plans. Swerdlin & Company specializes in third-party assistance for both ESOPs and KSOPs, offering the depth of expertise required to manage "all of the moving parts" and meet the necessary compliance requirements. With clients in over 40 states and well over 100 ESOPs, Swerdlin has a true national presence in the ESOP arena. In fact, we are among the nation’s largest providers of ESOP/KSOP administration and recordkeeping. Our ESOP team members serve on the board of our local ESOP Association chapter and on the committees for the National ESOP Association. We are frequent speakers at the local and national conferences for both the ESOP Association and the NCEO.
Our ESOP team offers comprehensive services, including annual ongoing administration, education, communication, repurchase liability studies, and consulting. Our full-service recordkeeping and administration services includes full integration with our in-house call center and internet services, which works especially well for KSOPs. We work closely with your team of service providers, including valuation firms, trustees, attorneys and accountants. This approach ensures that nothing falls through the cracks and eliminates duplication of services which could generate additional fees for the client.
Consulting and Planning
Keeping up with new laws and regulations related to retirement plans is one of Swerdlin's greatest assets. Our consultants analyze and interpret the laws for their impact on each of our client's retirement plans. When necessary we make modifications to keep all of the plans we administer compliant.
Swerdlin clients have on-demand access to our consulting group. We are always available to answer questions for our clients and their advisors.
Examples of some of our consulting projects:
- Plan development, projections, design, and installation
- Plan takeover and redesign
- Preparation of comprehensive employee benefit statements (not limited to retirement)
- Participant communication and implementation of communication strategy
- Compliance resolution and repair of operational errors
- ESOP repurchase liability studies
- Special studies
- Plan terminations
Administration and Recordkeeping
Swerdlin provides comprehensive recordkeeping and administration services, as well as regulatory compliance services to keep our clients in compliance with all laws and regulations.
Education, Communication, and Employee Meetings
Swerdlin & Company ties the technical and administrative processes together to provide a clear message to your employees. We initiate and maintain communication regarding changes in regulations, legislation, and other matters, which results in a more effective employee benefits program. Swerdlin cares about your company, your retirement plans, and your employees. Our priority is providing you with the personalized service you deserve. All communications, written and verbal, are provided in easily understood terms. As a result, you have a thorough understanding of your plans and how they impact your company and your employees.
As a plan sponsor, you have a fiduciary obligation to inform and educate your employees about their retirement plan options. We understand that it can be difficult and time-consuming to provide the level of communication that meets this obligation. We are here to help with employee meetings, easy-to-understand presentations, written materials, and online education which help you satisfy this aspect of your fiduciary responsibility. Swerdlin also helps plan participants better understand their benefits through our preparation of Comprehensive Employee Benefit Statements. These statements highlight the major provisions of all your benefits and compensation programs, as well as the amount being spent on your employees to provide these company-paid benefits.
Defined Benefit and Cash Balance Plans
Swerdlin's team of consulting actuaries and experienced analysts are devoted to providing a full range of high-level services for sponsors of defined benefit, cash balance, and retiree medical plans. Our clients range in size from one to several thousand employees and include publicly traded, privately held, and governmental entities.
Our expertise includes qualified plans of all types, both traditional DB plans and hybrid plans like Cash Balance plans. Additionally we provide consulting and valuation services to sponsors of nonqualified and Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERPs). Our annual services include the following:
- Annual funding valuations: Calculation of contribution requirements & recommended funding, funding projections and forecasts, funded status (AFTAP) certifications, discrimination testing, meetings with plan sponsors.
- Annual ERISA reporting: Form 5500 series, IRS filings, Forms 5300 series, 1099–R, PBGC premium and other filings and notices.
- Annual FASB/GASB accounting reports: Calculation of annual pension cost, preparation of year-end disclosures, curtailment, and settlement accounting.
- Benefit calculations when employees retire or terminate, benefit distribution forms, election and payment processing, benefit estimates, call center services, consulting on plan provisions, QDRO consulting and calculations, plan termination consulting, and regulatory filings.
- Participant communications: All required notices and communications, personalized benefit statements, including comprehensive employee benefit statements, also referred to as "hidden paycheck".
- Consulting and onsite meetings with clients, including employee meetings when requested.
Additional Actuarial Services
Swerdlin's team of actuaries provide consulting services for the following:
- Long-term retirement financial planning, including funding and accounting forecasts and consultation on the development of funding policies.
- Plan freezes and terminations (cost, contribution, and timing analysis), plan amendments, participant communications and notices, PBGC and IRS timelines, filings, and notices, annuity and lump-sum options.
- Preparation of health actuarial studies for self funded plans.
- Expert witness testimony requiring actuarial expertise: For example, value of life calculations in wrongful death suits or pension calculations for divorce settlements.
Special Project Consulting
Our credentialed consultants offer support to clients looking for expertise in a variety of special projects. Clients rely on this team's ability to communicate complicated information in an "easy to understand" format. Examples of some of these projects are:
- Plan redesign, including consulting and designs to assist companies in meeting their financial and/or benefits goals, changes from traditional defined benefit to cash balance or defined contribution plans, assistance with employee communications, from written materials to face-to-face meetings.
- Retirement incentive programs, including the design of "early retirement window" programs.
- Corporate restructuring, including retirement plan analysis and consulting related to merger, acquisition, or spin-off.
- Compliance and audits, including plan sponsor compliance reviews and assistance with IRS, Department of Labor (DOL), and PBGC audits.
- Union or executive benefit negotiations, including benefit adequacy and cost.
- Implementation and administration of nonqualified plans that provide supplemental pension benefits for key executives.
- Services for charitable annuities, charitable remainder trusts and other tax-qualified arrangements.
Retiree Health and Welfare Plans
Swerdlin's actuarial consulting team also provides services for companies that sponsor post-retirement benefit plans, including medical, dental, prescription drug, life insurance, and so forth. Our consulting team offers:
- FASB/GASB accounting reports: Calculation of annual OPEB cost, preparation of year end disclosures and net OPEB liability, including curtailment and settlement accounting.
- Attestation services, including actuarial equivalence of prescription drug plans for Medicare Part D in order to apply to the federal government for retiree prescription drug subsidies.
Cash Balance Plans
A cash balance plan is a hybrid that combines a defined benefit and a defined contribution plan to achieve significantly greater retirement assets for business owners, highly compensated employees, and other designated employees.
Benefits to the employer include:
- Ability to contribute specific amounts for specific employees
- Tax savings opportunities
- Protection of assets from creditors
- An advantageous employee recruitment and retention tool
Benefits to employees include:
- Faster accumulation of retirement savings
- Increased contribution limits versus traditional DC plans
- Employer paid plan contributions and costs
- Professional asset investment management
- ERISA and, depending on the type of business, PBGC protected benefits
We offer consulting, plan design, and administration for cash balance plans. To learn more about how our customized cash balance plan services may benefit you, please contact us.
Administration of nonqualified plans (NQs) is a specialized service. Many providers steer away from these plans because of the complex issues involved. NQs allow for higher contributions and offer greater flexibility than a defined benefit or defined contribution plan but aren't restricted to the rules and requirements of qualified plans. NQ plans lose some of the benefits available to qualified plans, but the trade-offs can be beneficial under the right circumstances.
Swerdlin provides nonqualified plan administration and consulting for private and public companies, small and large. Our services for new and established nonqualified plans include:
- Supplemental Executive Retirement (SERP)
- Excess benefit
We have the experience needed to design a new nonqualified plan or improve an existing one. Our approach is to continuously monitor the NQ plan to make sure any changes to the dynamics of the company are reflected so the client's goals are still being met.
FSAs, HRAs, etc.
Health care costs have increased dramatically in the past few years. Many employers have reduced benefits or increased out-of-pocket costs for their employees. In order to maintain the morale of employees and provide them with a cost-savings benefit, many employers implement a cafeteria plan. Adding a cafeteria plan to your benefits package can benefit you as the employer by saving FICA taxes on all contributions made to the cafeteria plan. Swerdlin provides an analysis at the end of the plan year that shows your FICA savings versus the administrative fees you pay for the plan. In most cases, the FICA savings will be more than the cost to administer the plan. Swerdlin administers the following plan types:
- Premium Only Plan (POP) – This plan allows pre-tax deductions for the portion of insurance the employee is responsible for paying, including group health insurance premiums, dental and vision premiums, and cancer insurance. We have worked with several employers who are deducting these benefits pre-tax, but do not have a POP document in place. Per Internal Revenue Service regulations, you must have a plan document in order to provide this benefit to employees. Swerdlin can work with you to create this document for new or existing plans.
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) – The Medical FSA allows employees to make pre-tax deductions for their out-of-pocket medical expenses including deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, vision and dental expenses, over-the-counter drugs and medications (requires a prescription), gym memberships and weight loss programs (requires a note of medical necessity), and many others. Please contact Swerdlin for a complete list of expenses. Employees are also able to make pre-tax deductions for dependent daycare expenses through the Dependent Daycare FSA, including after-school care, summer camps, pre-k expenses, and care for an elderly parent.
- Qualified Transportation Plans – These accounts allow employees to make pre-tax deductions for parking and transit expenses incurred in order to travel back and forth to work.
Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA)
The goal of an HRA is to reduce your company's health insurance premium costs. An HRA combines a health insurance plan with higher out-of-pocket costs with a reimbursement arrangement for employees. For example, if you have a plan with a $1,000 deductible and no coinsurance, you could look at an alternate plan with a $2,500 deductible and 80/20 coinsurance. The premium costs for this plan will be lower, and through the HRA you can use the premium savings to reimburse those employees who use the increased deductible and co-insurance. Most employers find that a high percentage of employees do not meet the deductible.
In order to determine if an HRA is right for your company, Swerdlin will look at the total premium savings from an alternate health plan and estimate the amount of claims you will pay employees through the HRA.
Our in-house compliance team, led by an attorney and experienced actuaries, offers other resources which include:
- Form 5500 preparation, including preparation of unfiled forms for previous years
- Legal and regulatory compliance, including FMLA and COBRA
What does Swerdlin do differently for FSAs and HRAs?
- All services performed in-house
- Dedicated Account Manager
- Plan design and consulting
- Advice on implementing $500 rollover or 2½ month grace period
- In-house ERISA attorney with expertise in health and welfare
- Mid-year conversion of FSAs
- Detailed, customized enrollment kits for employees
- Employee welcome kits
- Annual compliance testing and Compliance Report
- Daily processing of claims
- Email confirming receipt of claim
- All participant calls and emails answered same day
- Participant website to view account balances, status of claims, and access all forms necessary for the plan, including plan highlights, claim forms, and FAQs
- Submission of claims via email, mail, fax, or online
- Participant inquiries via participant call center and email with Spanish speaking representatives
- Monthly account reconciliation, including updated balance report
- On-site employee enrollment meetings
- End-of-plan year payroll reconciliation showing final employee deductions