Employee Retirement Plans

Counsel Trust Company offers a variety of defined contribution plans. Profit sharing plans and 401(k) plans are the most common. Our team has the expertise and experience to help you determine what type of employee retirement plan is the best fit for your company or organization.

401(k) Services

401 (k) plans are a type of profit sharing plan that can accept both employer and employee contributions. Counsel Trust’s 401(k) open architecture program is not the typical mass-market, one-size-fits-all 401(k) program. Where the large financial services providers promote expensive single package plans featuring all the technology ‘bells and whistles’, our focus is on what really counts in a 401(k) plan: the investments.

After all, bells and whistles don’t mean much if your participants are confused, trying to design their own portfolios by sorting through hundreds of fund options and mountains of data they don’t understand. The result is that participants don’t have a successful investment experience and the plan does not pull its weight as a positive employee benefit that motivates and retains good employees.

The bottom line is that most 401k Plans:

  • Are unappreciated by employees – they need more help, not more fund choices
  • Offer too many confusing investment options and statistical data not understood by employees
  • Cost too much
  • Expose employers and plan trustees with too much liability

Counsel Trust has solutions to these issues. There are five key benefits that make our program distinctly better than the mass-market plans that most financial service firms promote today:

  1. We can create and manage portfolios for your plan, a simple and effective, single-choice model option for your participants (rather than expecting participants to be successful at sorting through a long list of funds to formulate and rebalance their own portfolios).
  2. We provide direct advice to your participants at no additional cost.
  3. We assemble and coordinate an expert team of service providers, including record keepers, custodians and fund companies.
  4. We assume the role of plan fiduciary, providing your plan’s trustees a critical level of liability protection under both ERISA 3 (21) and 3 (38)*.
  5. All fees and charges are up front and transparent. We do not accept internal fund fees or kickbacks from mutual fund companies that are often used by the 401(k) industry to obscure true plan costs.

*Department of Labor ERISA regulations place substantial fiduciary responsibility upon employers and plan sponsors, particularly relating to investment due diligence, employee communication/education and fee disclosures to plan participants. We assist you in developing a comprehensive employee retirement plan strategy for either defined benefit or defined contribution plans to assure that your company’s fiduciary responsibilities are met. See ‘What is an ERISA Fiduciary?’ section.

Traditional Profit Sharing Plans are more flexible and have higher contribution limits than SEP or Simple IRA Plans. The maximum contribution per employee is the lesser of 25% of compensation or $53,000. Employer contributions can be made on a discretionary basis year to year – a good option when business cash flow is inconsistent. Unlike 401 (k) plans, traditional profit sharing plans cannot accept employee contributions.

Profit Sharing plans can also feature vesting schedules and other more sophisticated options such as cash balance, age-weighting and comparability plans.