Clients that work with Fortress Financial Strategies have access to the expertise of Cetera Retirement Plan Specialists (CRPS) which is First Allied's in house TPA or Third Party Administrator.
Cetera Retirement Plan Specialists(CRPS) philosophy has remained the same since day one: offer world-class services and industry-leading products and strategies to companies seeking professional help with employee benefit administration. For over 20 years, we have embraced this philosophy and built a nationwide reputation for excellence.
Today, CRPS serves large and small companies nationwide and is one of the largest employee benefit consulting firms in California.
Whether you are a sole proprietor in need of a Defined Benefit plan or a large international corporation looking to offer your employees 401(k) or Cafeteria plans, we have the expertise to help you choose the ideal solution for your company and your employees. CRPS companies have offices in Chicago, New York, London, San Diego, San Francisco, and Scottsdale, Arizona.
While CRPS mirrors the professionalism of large firms, we differ in the service we provide our clients. Rather than using pre-set designs, our benefit specialists work closely with each case to design a customized plan that meets the clients’ specific needs and objectives. What sets CRPS apart is our knowledge, proven in our ability to craft plans that maximize benefits for employees who deserve to be rewarded while complying with statutory requirements which ensure non-discrimination.
In other words, CRPS is skilled at designing custom plans that best address your company’s specific needs.
CRPS works with clients of all sizes and business types and provides a full range of services, including services for plans under audit by either the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the U.S. Department of Labor.Our professional staff helps you identify solutions which make the most sense for your particular business. Based on your particular objectives, we may recommend simple solutions such as a plan that utilizes the IRS Safe Harbor rules, or more sophisticated solutions such as New Comparability testing, Multi-Plan integrated benefits testing or individually tailored Benefit Rate Grouping.CRPS fosters relationships with investment product vendors that are financially independent affiliated providers. Through our affiliates, clients also have access to a suite of proprietary investment solutions that can be tailored to meet each plan’s individual needs. This access to a wide variety of independent and proprietary products allows us to offer our clients the freedom to choose between an integrated or a la carte solution.We tailor the necessary documents to establish your plan and submit them to the appropriate federal agencies. We continually monitor and provide all of the ongoing administration for your plan, assuring continued IRS-qualified status.Once your plan is designed, we train your staff regarding the plan’s operation and benefits to your employees. We believe that our commitment to helping your employees understand and appreciate the benefits you provide enhances their retirement readiness and maximizes your investment in them.
A 401(k) plan allows employees to save for the future by deferring salary today on a pre-tax basis. Employers can choose to contribute to their employees’ 401(k) plans through matching contributions or profit sharing allocations. In addition to traditional 401(k) arrangements, we support plans that allow after-tax or “Roth” deferrals and can help you take advantage of the new automatic enrollment rules which can substantially increase employee participation and reduce testing failures that sometimes hurt your most valuable employees.
A Profit Sharing plan allows an employer to make contributions to employees’ retirement accounts. Contributions are discretionary on an annual basis and are based on individual compensation levels. We customize each Profit Sharing plan we work with to match the employee allocations to a level for each employee group that is tailored to your objectives and the rules provided by the IRS.
A Defined Benefit plan allows an employer to make contributions to fund the employee retirement based on a pre-defined plan formula. Deductible contributions for key employees and owners are frequently substantially higher on an annual basis in a Defined Benefit plan than a 401(k) or Profit Sharing plan.The annual contributions are based on a projected benefit at retirement (as determined annually by an actuary). Cash Balance plans are a type of Defined Benefit plan that express the benefits being provided as a dollar amount or percentage of pay and allow you and your employees to track their progress toward retirement more easily than a traditional Defined Benefit plan. Cash Balance plans are especially popular with businesses that have multiple owners. We frequently pair a Defined Benefit plan or a Cash Balance plan with a 401(k) or Profit Sharing plan to maximize retirement accumulations.
A Cafeteria/Section 125 plan allows employees to defer salary on a pre-tax basis to reimburse out-of-pocket medical, day care and/or insurance premium expenses. You, the employer, save payroll taxes on the funds that the employees defer into the plan.
COBRA allows employees to extend current health benefit coverage after separation from service, with insurance premiums paid by the former employee.
CRPS also administers the following specialty plan types:
The CRPS staff has decades of experience and is highly educated in the field of employee benefit plan administration. Key to the success of CRPS benefit plan administration is the leadership provided by our experienced management team, including:
Guy Hocker leads Cetera Retirement Plan Specialists as its Senior Managing Director. Prior to joining Cetera, Mr. Hocker held the role of President and COO of Benefit Planning, Inc., the Los Angeles office of National Investment Managers, Inc., a publicly held company. He has more than a decade of experience as a practicing ERISA lawyer, including substantial Internal Revenue Service/Department of Labor submissions and negotiations; complex plan designs (defined benefits/defined contribution combinations); niche designs (prevailing wage and non-profit); and comprehensive experience with qualified plan compliance practice management.
Mr. Hocker is a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA), the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA), and the Western Pension and Benefits Conference and is an associate member of the National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association (403(b) emphasis). His professional designations include ASPPA Certified Pension Consultant and ASPPA Associate Professional Member. He frequently speaks at industry events and has served as president of the Los Angeles NIPA chapter.
Mr. Hocker earned his law degree from William Howard Taft University and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Walter Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a licensed member of the California bar.
Tina Arruda serves as CRPS’ Vice President and oversees the administration and compliance aspects of CRPS’ retirement plans. Ms. Arruda has earned the designations of Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA), Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA), and Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) from ASPPA, as well as the designation of Accredited Pension Administrator (APA) from NIPA. Since obtaining these designations, Ms. Arruda has served on various Conference Planning Committees and the Education and Examination Committee for ASPPA where she was involved in the drafting of educational materials for the pension industry. Ms. Arruda has over 24 years of experience in the retirement plan industry.
G. Neff McGhie III is an Enrolled Actuary, a Member of the College of Practicing Actuaries (COPA) and a Member of the Society of Pension Actuaries (MSPA). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of COPA. He is a frequent speaker at Pension Professional Conferences. In addition, he is the editor of the Defined Benefit Pension Answer Book published by Aspen Publishers. His Bachelor of Arts is in Mathematics from California State University, Fresno.
(Required IRS Circular 230 Disclosure The IRS requires us to inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.)
Contact us today in Glendale, Arizona at 623-255-5180 so we can get to work for you.