Time To Make A Move

January 29, 2015

Let’s think of your employee benefit plan as a chess match. 
Your plan can come up against many obstacles (i.e. your opponent’s moves).  Some of the most prevalent moves your opponent can use against your plan are the following, along with defensive moves you can make:

  1. Having deficiencies in the internal controls of your plan.  This is like starting out the chess match with no PAWNS.  Your PAWNS are your first line of defense just like internal controls are for your plan. 
  2. Having late remittances. This is like letting one of your opponent’s pieces get too close to your KING.  The KING is the most important piece on your board. When your opponent gets too close to him, that changes the game.  Protect your KING.  As such, not getting the proper amount of dollars into your plan timely can be a game changer as well, especially if the government discovers this.
  3. Not understanding the value of your third party providers (“TPA”).  The TPAs involved with your plan are like the QUEEN on the board.  The QUEEN is the most powerful piece.  She can move all over the board in a straight line in every direction.  Similarly, your TPA  can move in many directions to help service your plan and get you the correct information to make the right decisions.
  4. Skipping some steps during a plan merger.  Don’t be like the KNIGHT hopping all over other pieces during the match.  If so, it’s just like hopping over some valuable steps during the merger process.
  5. Evaluating if your plan needs to follow controlled group requirements.  Think of this as your BISHOP.  The BISHOP can only move on a diagonal or adjacent line.    Are there any adjacent relationships that qualify under the controlled group requirements? You may need to evaluate if there are any other companies related to the plan sponsor.
  6. Giving consideration to see if a wrap plan is a good move for your health and welfare plans.  This is similar to your ROOK.  During the chess match, you may want to castle your KING, to protect him.  The ROOK makes that happen.  As such, considering a wrap plan could be a great move to protect your plan.

Just like in chess, having a strong defense can be the best offense for your plan.  Your plan needs to have various strategies that are several moves ahead in this game.  At EisnerAmper, we are the chess master helping you navigate through those strategies and moves. 

The links below provide the insight you need to avoid a Checkmate. 

The Importance of
Internal Controls

Chess Pawn

Untimely Contributions

Chess King

Best Practices for
Working with TPAs

Chess Queen

Plan Merger Checklist

Chess Knight

Controlled Group Testing
(White Paper)

Chess Bishop

Wrap Plan Documents

Chess Rook



From the AICPA:
Plan Advisory – Monitoring Outsourced Functions

Click the image on the left to access the AICPA’s  plan advisory discussing best
practices for monitoring your plan’s TPAs 


EisnerAmper  Compensation and  Benefits Blog


  Benefit Plan Annuities


  SEC Filings


  Offshore Funds


  TPA Journal Entries


  408b2 Disclosure Guide


  DOL Letters to Plan Sponsors

Click here for full blog content

EisnerAmper Fiduciary Library

Click here for access to the firm’s library of information for Plan fiduciaries.

Pension Services Group Professionals
Diane Wasser
Joe Berkovits
Courtney Alexanderson
Kriste Naples-DeAngelo
Denise Finney
Brenda DeSaro


Employee Benefit Tax Professionals
Peter Alwardt

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