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Our Credentials

Our Credentials

Those letters after our names are more than just alphabet soup. Our firm has a strong commitment to achieving the highest level of professional qualifications available in our business. We actively encourage our staff to pursue continuing education and to earn credentials in the qualified plan field.

Not only do the credentials indicate our commitment to maintaining the highest levels of knowledge, but also in performing the highest levels of service for our clients.

Each of these designations requires extensive education, testing, discipline, knowledge and experience. Not only is initial study and examination required but, professionals must comply with ongoing continuing education in order to keep the credentials. This gives our clients confidence that our capabilities continue to be cutting edge and up to date with the ever changing IRS regulations.

Following is a list of the certifications earned by our professional staff.

EA - Enrolled Actuary

Becoming an Enrolled Actuary is an extremely long and difficult process. Only an elite few are successful in completing the course of study and multiple examination process. The mathematical skills necessary to successfully pass the examinations are possessed by only the most gifted and diligent mathematicians. The Enrolled Actuary designation is required to provide certification for defined benefit plans.

MSPA – Member, Society of Pension Actuaries

Membership in the Society of Pension Actuaries is limited to Enrolled Actuaries who have actively practiced for a minimum of three years. This elite group of members is active in providing and attending continuing education for practitioners in the field as well as lobbying and providing professional expertise in the crafting of legislation for Congress.

CPA – Certified Public Accountant

Many people are aware of CPA designation, and many people know that CPAs do more than prepare tax returns. CPAs study a rigorous college curriculum which includes many types of taxation, accounting, auditing and a variety of skills in this very technical area. In addition, graduates must take a series of difficult examinations and have experience in the field before petitioning for the CPA designation. Having a CPA on staff at Pension Strategies brings an enormous benefit to our clients and their own tax professionals as we are able to assist in technical questions that bridge the gap between tax and qualified plans.

APM – Associated Professional Member

Pension professionals who have at least three years of experience in pension-related matters and a significant professional designation may petition for an APM designation through the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA). Attorneys and CPAs are among the professionals who may achieve this designation as an indication of their specialty in the qualified plan area.

QPA – Qualified Pension Administrator

The Qualified Pension Administrator designation was created by ASPPA to recognize professionals who are qualified to perform the administrative functions of qualified plan administration. QPAs assist employers, actuaries and consultants in performing functions such as determination of eligibility for benefits, benefit computations, plan record keeping, trust accounting, and disclosure and compliance activities as required under current pension law. An individual who has at least two years of experience in pension-related matters and who completes the prescribed ASPPA examination series may apply to the ASPPA board of directors for the QPA designation. This individual has both defined benefit and defined contribution expertise. The designation is awarded after 6 exams.

CPC – Certified Pension Consultant

The Certified Pension Consultant designation is awarded by the board of directors for ASPPA to individuals who have at least three years of experience in plan consulting and demonstrate competence in various aspects of pension and related employee benefits consulting through completion of the prescribed examination series. Both defined benefit and defined contribution expertise is required as well as a wide variety of other pension design techniques. The designation is awarded after 8 exams.

JD – Juris Doctorate – Law Degree

The designation of juris doctorate is conferred after 3 years of rigorous post baccalaureate study in law school. Although the practice of law is a broad discipline, the field of qualified plans or ERISA is a narrow and technical tax area where legal expertise is particularly helpful. There is often no specific education in law school for the field of ERISA taxation, so most legal professionals learn these disciplines through years of training, research and experience. It is invaluable to Pension Strategies having an attorney on staff.

APA – Accredited Pension Administrator

The Accredited Pension Administrator is earned by the successful completion of four study courses and examinations covering all aspects of defined contribution plan administration. The APA is maintained by completing 15 hours of continuing education credit. The designation is awarded by the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA).

QKA – Qualified 401(k) Administrator

The Qualified 401(k) Administrator designation recognizes retirement plan professionals who work primarily with 401(k) plans. QKAs come from a variety of professional disciplines and assist employers and consultants with the recordkeeping, nondiscrimination testing and administrative aspects of 401(k) and related defined contribution plans. The ASPPA offers this designation to candidates who have passed a series of 4 exams.

Pension Strategies Commitment to Education

All of our professional staff members complete continuing education every year as part of our firm’s commitment to staying up to date on new developments in the qualified plan area.