January is the most popular month of the the year for funding retirement accounts. If your plan is classified as an employee benefit plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, make sure that you have a current ERISA fidelity bond. ERISA section 412 requires that every fiduciary of an employee benefit plan and every person who handles funds or other property of such a plan shall be covered by a DOL (Department of Labor) compliant fidelity bond. A plan must be bonded for at least ten percent of the amount of funds that it contains, subject to a maximum bond amount of $500,000. For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2008, the maximum required ERISA fidelity bond amount is $1,000,000 IF the plan contains employer securities (i.e., ESOPs).
Civil and criminal penalties can AND HAVE BEEN applied for failure to fulfill this very basic statutory requirement. Non-compliance is no joke! If your plan suffers a DOL (EBSA) audit and it does not have the required ERISA fidelity bond, what happens? Where no plan loss has occurred the responsible fiduciary will likely be assessed the “twenty percent fiduciary penalty” under ERISA Section 502(l). Where a fiduciary breach resulted in damage to the plan, the ramifications can be severe. Failure to purchase the appropriate fidelity coverage, leaving the plan unprotected against an act of dishonesty by an individual who should have been covered by the fidelity bond may spread personal liability for the act to a plan sponsor, member of management or other party serving in a fiduciary role even if that party had NO fault for the loss.
Visit www.ERISA-Bonds.com for information on ERISA fidelity bonds, the costs and available case law. Surety One, Inc. offer ERISA/DOL compliant bonds for ALL types of structures, i.e., labor union, multi-employer, non-qualifying assets, etc. No one is turned away. We offer terms to EVERYONE!
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Surety One, Inc.
National Fidelity & Surety Bond Underwriter
(787) 333-0222 or (800) 373-2804