Lincoln Expounds on 403(b) Service Features

July 28, 2008 ( - In May, Lincoln National Corp. unveiled a suite of services designed to help 403(b) sponsors comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations.

During a Webcast on Monday for 403(b) plan sponsors, John Arant, Head of 403(b) Markets Growth, and Jim Racine, Assistant Vice President and Director of Customer Support Strategy, expanded on details of the Lincoln 403(b)e SURE Advantage offering (See Lincoln Puts Out 403(b) Service Suite ). The offering provides a combination of Lincoln Financial experts, products, and tools, Arant said.

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The experts provided include plan document experts, implementation and conversion teams, salaried education consultants, administrative professionals, dedicated account managers, and customer support specialists. Products offered include Lincoln’s multi-fund variable annuity, Lincoln SmartFuture mutual fund program and Lincoln Alliance mutual fund program for large plans. Lincoln also offers annual program reviews and help with fiduciary obligation solutions.

In addition, the 403(b)e SURE Advantage offering includes Lincoln’s UNIFIER Service, a common remitter services allowing plan sponsors to send one wire and one remittance file to Lincoln Retirement Services Company for multiple vendors, offering single or multi-carrier compliance monitoring, and providing consolidated plan reporting.

According to Racine, the UNIFIER service consists of three levels:

  • InfoShare – available to all Lincoln Financial clients, providing a secure Web site, sample ISAs, a sample non-ERISA plan document, a 403(b) timeline, and multi-carrier contribution limit compliance monitoring;
  • Common Remitter – InfoShare plus common remitter services, multi-carrier compliance monitoring and ISAs, and an online salary reduction agreement (available in 2009) – available at no additional fee if over $3 million in assets and over $100k in flow to Lincoln Financial; and
  • Monitor4Me – employer branding and automated salary reduction compliance – no additional fee if over $1million in flow to Lincoln Financial.

In addition, monthly feeds from providers will provide sponsors with participants’ account balances, highest outstanding loan balances, hardship withdrawals, and in-service withdrawals. Racine pointed out this will help not only with plan transaction monitoring but consolidation of data for new Form 5500 reporting requirements and reporting of a consolidated view of the entire plan to sponsors as well as participant level reporting.

The feeds from providers also enable the establishment of plan history for the IRS or other auditors.

To request service , self register for Groupnet and UNIFIER rep will contact you.

To help participants, Arant noted that the 403(b)e SURE Advantage offering includes Lincoln's LifeSpan education program which provides:

  • plan awareness,
  • enrollment support,
  • investment education,
  • pre-retirement planning,
  • income management, and
  • advice.

Arant reminded sponsors that if programs are not in compliance by January 1, 2009, it will result in the disqualification of the plan and immediate taxation for participants, including interest and penalties.

Lincoln is providing clients with a 403(b)e SURE Advantage Plan Sponsor Readiness Kit, which provides a detailed overview of new regulations, a regulations event timeline, a plan sponsor self assessment, a follow-up meeting to develop action plan, and additional info or resources that may be needed.

More about Lincoln 403(b)e SURE Advantage is here .