ASC Spring 2010 Newsletter

In this issue:

5500 Government Forms – Your Top 10 Questions Answered

Users are now filing hundreds of forms daily using ASC’s EFAST2 web based program. Our support team has identified the most common questions from users, putting together the following tips to help your filings go smoothly.

1. When the Signer for the Plan Admin and Plan Sponsor are the same, the form instructions direct filers to sign only once, as the Plan Administrator. The 5500 checklist should have the Signer Name and Email Address entered for the Plan Administrator only. Then check the box “Sponsor Same as Administrator”. 2. EFAST2 errors –The DGEM system validates each form and schedule, searching for errors that will prevent the form from being accepted by the DOL, known as Schema errors, as well as other coding that may indicate lesser errors. DGEM prevents users from filing forms that contain Schema errors as the EFAST2 system will not accept form submissions with these errors. Schema errors begin with “’http://efast.gov:” Other errors identified in the Validation step may be ignored and the form filed/received by the DOL, though the user may be required to file an amended form at a later date. To file an amended form, edit the form, indicate it is amended, re-Validate the form and then re-Invite the signer. A complete listing of the DOL’s EFAST2 error codes may be found under the Download page in DGEM. 3. Check the Status on all your 5500 forms regularly to insure forms are being signed by your Plan Sponsors and Plan Administrators, they have been sent for filing, and have been accepted by EFAST2. To do this, use the FIND command to list all forms, or all in a certain status (e.g. Pending signature, Filing Received by EFAST with Errors). If EFAST2 returns a status of “Filing_Received”, “Filing_Received by EFAST with Errors”, or “Processing_Stopped”, then the annual return/report is considered filed. However, filings with a status of “Filing_Received by EFAST with Errors” or “Processing_Stopped” must be corrected through an amended filing. 4. “Processing_Stopped” with an error code I-104 or P-227 referencing a missing or invalid User ID or PIN is the most common error we are seeing from EFAST2. This error is caused either by a signer entering the wrong User ID and PIN or not properly completing the IREG registration process with the DOL. Until the IREG process is completed, the User ID and PIN are considered inactive. The signer should have finalized the registration by clicking on a link in the email received from IREG and creating a password. To fix it, the EFAST2 service center recommends that the signer go back to http://www.efast.dol.gov. Click on “Login”, then “Forgot Password” to finish the steps. Once completed, it is highly recommended that the user logs in and goes to the User Profile page. On this page, the user can verify that they have the correct 4-digit PIN that they were assigned. Also, the user can verify their roles that are check-marked. The role of “Filing Signer” needs to be selected for their User ID and PIN signature to be considered “valid.” To speak with the EFAST2 Help Desk directly, call them at 866-GO EFAST (866-463-3278). 5. Use the Browse option – rather than Edit – from the Manage Plan Documents screen to review a form that has already had the Invite Signer email sent, or that has been filed. The DGEM 5500 system is status driven, where statuses are set by user action, to maintain the integrity of the data record. As a result, choosing to Edit a form resets it back to Draft status. This deactivates the Signer email link, and a new one must be sent by re-Validating and re-Inviting the Signer. To return to a Filed status on DGEM, users must contact ASC support. The DGEM status does not affect the filing status with the DOL of course, but would be reflected incorrectly on our system reports 6. 5500 IREG or Invite Signer emails not being received by the signer – When your Plan Sponsors report that they have not received an email, first check the email address entered in to the 5500 form to make sure it is accurate. Next, ask your client to check their SPAM folders to see if they blocked it on their end. Finally, if they can’t find it and the email address looks fine, enter your address in as a cc in the 5500 form, then re-do the Invite Signer step. Double check that you receive your copy and have them check for theirs again. 7. The 5500EZ and the new Form 8905-SSA forms were released by the IRS in early May. The 5500EZ form and roll forward functionality are currently available on DGEM. We will program the 8905-SSA form next and notify you when it is available. These IRS forms will be printed and filed via paper, rather than electronically. 8. The 2010 5500 Forms have been released by the DOL. We are currently working on our submission package for the required vendor testing and approval. Plans terminating in 2010 must be filed on 2010 forms; filing on 2009 forms is not allowed. Users who want to file their forms now will have to use the DOL’s I-file website. It is important for users to obtain Filing Author credentials before completing the 2010 Form 5500/5500SF on the EFAST2 website. 9. EFAST2 DOL Relief and E-Signature for TPAs in DGEM – Users who wish to take advantage of the recent relief provided by the DOL to sign for their clients may begin doing so in DGEM immediately. For details on how to handle emails addresses and signatures, please refer to FAQ #128 on our website. FAQs may be reached by clicking on the FAQ button at the bottom of any page while in DGEM, as well as when logged in to our support site. 10. For Help on 5500s:
  • Review the “Form 5500 User Guide” that may be found under Help Guides on the DGEM Download page.
  • Watch the 5500 videos posted on our support website under the Training tab. Here we provide a general 5500 video, as well as an EFAST2 specific recording. http://csc.asc-net.com/csc/asc_client/videos/Form5500TrainingVideos/Form5500TrainingSeries.html
  • Search the 5500 FAQs on our website. (see screenshot for sample below)
  • Refer to the DOL’s EFAST2 FAQs found at: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-EFAST2.html
  • Contact Support by clicking on the “ASCi Support Request” button at the bottom of each DGEM 5500 web page, or directly via our website at http://www.asc-net.com using the Login button in the upper right to post a question. If you have a question on a particular form, remember to include the name of the form.
5500 Form

What’s New with DV Direct & Daily Valuation?

A lot! There has been a significant amount of development occurring with DV Direct that we’re proud to introduce with the spring 2010 System Update. We expect the corresponding Gemini development to occur this summer. A few highlights of enhancements:
  • Investment profile functionality continues to be expanded. When master profiles change, we’ve added a way to globally change all affected plans and participants as well as initiate rebalances for affected participants. Also, the ‘Redistribute form Fund Percent’ function has been enhanced for additional flexibility.
  • Designated Roth Accounts: We’ve modified the Withdrawal Wizard to accommodate separate reporting (1099R) and added the programming required to allow Roth deferral elections to be made on Gemini in the same fashion as pre-tax withdrawals. This will soon be added to the existing ‘Change Deferral Election’ page in Gemini if the plan allows for Roth deferrals.
  • A Loan Summary report as well as a Plan Level Statement option were added and will also soon be available to plan sponsors on Gemini.
  • The new ‘Extract Web activity to transition file’ function is available, replacing the Nightly Function ‘Process IVR/Web activity to transition.’
  • Dollar transfers are now available in DVINQUIR as a pre-cursor to adding this to Gemini.
And, we’re very excited about the new Daily Valuation Payroll function. This function was created to increase the efficiency of importing payroll files for daily valued plans. It is designed to work in concert with Gemini Plan Sponsor. When uploading a payroll file through Gemini, the objective is for the sponsor (or payroll provider) to be responsible to:
  • Correct any critical data errors
  • Be alerted to and approve any errors that may cause potential problems, but those that will not prevent the payroll from being processed.
  • Initiate the process to load, split and output to transition (all done simultaneously). You will be alerted when the payroll file is loaded and ready for an ACH request or trading.
While the Gemini piece is still being developed, this function can be used in the meantime without Gemini: i.e. the payroll file may still be uploaded via Gemini, but the ASC user must initiate the process. Please contact ASC for full instructions.

Restate your DB Plans with ASCi

Ready for Defined Benefit EGTRRA Restatements?

TPAs begin restating DB plans on ASCi’s document system immediately. The IRS opened the period for restating pre-approved defined benefit (DB) plans as of May 1, 2010. All pre-approved DB plans must be restated onto an EGTRRA document by April 30, 2012. ASCi’s DGEM system is up-to-date including the EGTRRA-approved Volume Submitter DB document. If you are a current DGEM user you can start restating your DB plans at anytime. To sign-up for DGEM, email info@asc-net.com or click here to learn more.

Two Decades of dedication

Photo of Ken Joseph in front of his houseKen by his house and garden

An interview with Ken Joseph, ASC Support Team member for 23 years!

Ken Joseph has been a part of the ASC Support Team for 23 years. “The problem-solving nature of the work keeps it interesting and I’m always learning something new with the continual changes in technology.” Ken grew up in Los Angeles and currently resides there with his wife Faye in a 1928 house. Ken received his BA in history and political science from UCLA and MA in History from Cal State Northridge. Though he lived in Chicago and New Jersey from 1975 to 1987, he much prefers the mild Los Angeles winters. Ken’s first job was at Occidental Life Insurance Company (now Transamerica) working in the pension claims department where he first became familiar with the pension industry. He later spent a few years at a Chicago pension administration firm that had an in-house computer system that hosted one of the first pension software systems. In Chicago Ken taught himself programming and was eventually hired to work for a New Jersey based company where he did programming, support and new client training. During this time Ken also attended tradeshows, such as ASPPA, where he met and became friendly with ASC president Alan Gould. In 1987 Alan offered Ken a position at ASC and Ken accepted, returning to his home town of LA. He initially started out at ASC working on the support line for clients and helping to maintain the system programs. Now that hardware and software environments have become more complex, he spends more time dealing with problems related to installation and maintenance of client systems. He is also a resource for the other ASC support staff for solving problems that can involve determining whether client problems are related to coding, programming or other issues. About his long term stay with ASC, Ken says that ASC provides interesting work in a great, positive, independent working environment. He is still excited about work and views it as an intellectual exercise since there is always a piece of the puzzle to figure out. “I like a challenge and I find it gratifying to hit on the solution.” Q: What’s a big challenge facing the ASC support staff right now and how are you handling it? A: The complexity of the pension landscape, the new laws and compliance issues. The way we handle it is to simply make sure we are up to speed with the law through continuing education, by having weekly staff meetings where general issues are discussed and researched, as well as by maintaining good documentation of problem solutions for future use. Q: How do you manage stress on the job? A: I try not to get too frustrated and I maintain a sense of humor when the going gets rough. You have to keep everything in perspective. Q: Do you have a particular skill that you think has contributed to your working success? A: Yes – a good sense of humor! Q: What do you really enjoy about your work? A: I enjoy the problem solving, the feeling that I’ve make a difference by helping someone, as well as the social interaction with fellow employees. Q: What do you like to do outside of work? A: I enjoy gardening. I ripped out my lawn a few years ago and planted drought tolerant plants which made sense to me in dry Southern California. I work on the garden a lot since it requires more maintenance than a lawn. I also ride my bike every day and enjoy reading, visits to museums, politics, indie and foreign film, reading classic literature, sports and of course eating out at LA’s many ethnic restaurants. I also enjoy bird watching and photography. I just finished a nonfiction biography called The Lost City of Z about the British explorer, Percy Fawcett, who disappeared while exploring the Amazon in 1925. Q: Any other career interests? A: I actually love entomology. I wouldn’t mind going off to the Amazon and studying the wildlife there and possibly doing some writing. For now, I just watch the insects and spiders in my garden, including the black widows that I “trap and release”. Ken and his wife are contemplating a trip to Europe and perhaps a trip to Costa Rica with other family members in the fall. ASC salutes Ken for his long-time dedication and excellent service!