Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 1. General Provisions

Education Fund Established -- Allocation Of Employer Contributions -- Educational Program Requirements

19-3-112. Education fund established -- allocation of employer contributions -- educational program requirements. (1) (a) The board shall establish an education fund to be used to educate and inform system members in a manner consistent with the provisions of this section.

(b) For the ongoing educational services and communication services established pursuant to this section, from the employer contributions made pursuant to 19-3-316, 0.04% of the compensation paid to all of the employer's employees who are members of the system must be allocated to the education fund established in subsection (1)(a). The board shall from time to time review the sufficiency of this amount and recommend to the legislature the adjustments that it considers appropriate.

(2) (a) The educational services must provide system members with impartial and balanced information about plan choices, benefits, and features. The services must be provided in a variety of formats. Plan comparisons must, to the greatest extent possible, be based upon historical rates of return on investments or benefits available in each retirement plan.

(b) If educational services are conducted by a contractor, the board shall monitor the performance of the contract to ensure that the services are conducted in accordance with the contract, applicable law, and the rules of the board. A contractor hired to provide the educational program provided for in subsection (3) may not be the same entity contracted to provide other services for the defined contribution plan or the university system retirement program.

(3) The board shall offer an ongoing transfer educational program to provide new system members with information necessary to make informed plan choice decisions. The program must include but is not limited to information on:

(a) determining the amount of money available to transfer to the defined contribution plan;

(b) the features of and differences between the defined benefit plan and the defined contribution plan, both generally and specifically, as those differences may affect the member;

(c) the expected benefit available if the member were to retire under each of the retirement plans, based on appropriate alternative sets of assumptions;

(d) the rate of return from investments in the defined contribution plan that must be achieved to equal or exceed the expected monthly benefit payable to the member under the defined benefit plan, assuming the same time period in each plan;

(e) the historical rates of return for the investment alternatives available in the defined contribution plan;

(f) determining retirement income needs and comparing determined retirement income needs to each plan's possible or expected benefit;

(g) use of supplemental retirement savings programs to enhance retirement income;

(h) the plan choices available to employees of the university system pursuant to 19-3-2112 and the comparative benefits of each available plan; and

(i) payout options available in each of the retirement plans.

(4) Ongoing educational services and communication services must be provided after members have made their initial retirement plan choice. These services must continually provide members with information about their chosen plan, alternatives within their chosen plan, and decisions necessary for retirement preparation. The services must include but not be limited to information concerning:

(a) rights and conditions of membership;

(b) benefit features within the plan, options, and the effects of certain decisions;

(c) planning for retirement, including coordination of contributions and benefits with supplemental retirement savings programs;

(d) significant plan changes; and

(e) contribution rates and plan funding status.

(5) The board shall also establish a communication program to provide plan information to participating employers and the employer's personnel and payroll officers and to explain their respective responsibilities in conjunction with the retirement plans.

(6) This section does not prohibit a contracted plan vendor or vendors from providing system members with information and tools necessary to understand the available investment alternatives and to appropriately manage their selected retirement plan.

History: En. Sec. 41, Ch. 471, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 12, Ch. 329, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 282, L. 2013.