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Stokes, Bhagwandin Author Article in ‘The NAPPA Report’ on Missing Plan Participants

November 7, 2018

St. Louis Partner Jennifer Stokes and Denver Counsel Sarah Bhagwandin authored an article in the October edition of The NAPPA Report. Their article, “The Search for Missing Participants in Governmental Plans,” examines the challenges presented by retirement plans for participants considered missing for a variety of reasons, including failing to respond to a plan notice, cash a benefit check, make a benefit election or update their contact information. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Labor (DOL) and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) provide varying guidance regarding the effort that must be undertaken to locate a missing individual in order to distribute their benefits. Plan sponsors are advised to create their own procedures for locating missing participants using the various procedures provided by these agencies as a guide. “The guidance from all three agencies requires steps a plan sponsor must take to meet its duty to search for missing participants,” they wrote. “In each case, the plan sponsor must determine whether its efforts have been reasonable or whether additional steps are warranted.”