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2021

October 19, 2021

BPAS Launches Innovative Tool to Prevent Fraud

Utica, NY (October 19, 2021). BPAS, a leading national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts, has launched BPAStify – an innovative, new fraud prevention tool that is part of the firm’s overall security efforts.

Under BPAStify, a participant requesting certain assistance through the Participant Service Center or other means may require additional scrutiny using a live video identity verification process via smart phone, tablet, or computer. When complete, the recording will be shared with the client’s HR team, who will verify that the caller is truly the employee in question and provide approval to BPAS.

“A few months ago, I was at the airport standing in the TSA Security line,” said Paul Neveu, BPAS CEO. “When I got to the front, the agent asked me to step aside because I’d been randomly selected for additional scrutiny. While waiting, something dawned on me: This situation is analogous to what we’re dealing with in DC plans, with thousands of people running through the airport each day. Like the TSA, recordkeepers have an obligation to invoke additional security measures to protect assets, whether driven by facts, random selection, or behavior. That’s when the idea for BPAStify hit me like a bolt of lightning. I brought the idea back for our people to figure out.”

In the wake of well-published data breaches in 2017 and 2018, retirement service providers across the U.S. have fought a range of new fraud threats within workplace retirement plans. Firms have implemented a bevy of new measures to galvanize their programs, including multi-factor authentication, added security questions, changes to electronic payment polices and other confidential or proprietary measures.

“We started experimenting with this concept a few months ago,” said Joe Buczek, Manager of the BPAS Participant Service Center. “In most call centers, the overwhelming majority of calls are innocuous. However, a small number of calls can raise attention either because of behavior, or facts that seem strange. When we decide to invoke BPAStify, we notify the caller that the account has been flagged for additional scrutiny. The caller’s reaction tells you something right away. When you’re dealing with the real participant, there is almost always an immediate willingness to cooperate; they appreciate the added vigilance to protect their account. In cases where there is a refusal to cooperate or some technological reason why the caller can’t participate, it’s a big red flag. We freeze the account and initiate additional security measures to protect the plan assets.”

A key element of BPAStify is not only authentication and review by the employer, but the fact that, in the event of a fraud attempt, the recording itself could be used by law enforcement to identify and prosecute fraudsters. Considering the dollars at stake, this is something BPAS makes clear on the recorded calls.

“We will continue to refine the BPAStify program and build additional technology around it,” added Linda Pritchard, SVP of BPAS Operations. “There is only one individual who has the right to access an account or attempt to withdraw assets – the actual participant. If we suspect an outside individual may be attempting to gain access to an account, including possible cases of family fraud or domestic fraud, or see situations that just don’t stack up, BPAStify will jump into the ring. We’re pleased to add this new tool to our arsenal of security measures. We have no higher imperative than to protect plan assets for our customers. BPAStify is a real game changer.”

“BPAS focuses on improving technology and developing programs to ensure that participants are knowledgeable about the importance of retirement savings,” added Chrissy DeCaria, Relationship Manager at BPAS, who plays a lead role in the firm’s security initiatives. “We understand how important it is to protect accounts, and we work to educate participants on their vital responsibilities in this process. BPAStify is one more piece of the puzzle. I think participants will appreciate this level of service; anyone who has experienced a fraud attempt will understand why it’s so important. We look forward to using this program when we get that feeling that something just doesn’t sound right. Peace of mind for all parties is a beautiful thing.”

About BPAS

BPAS is a national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts. We support 4,200 retirement plans, $110 billion in trust assets, $1.3 trillion in fund administration, and more than 510,000 participants. With our breadth of services, depth of creative talent, and financial resources, we are well-positioned to help our clients solve all their benefit plan challenges without the need to engage multiple providers. One company. One call.

BPAS services: Plan Administration & Recordkeeping, Actuarial & Pension, Collective Investment Trusts, Fund Administration, Fiduciary Healthcare Consulting, IRA, VEBA HRA, Health & Welfare Plans, and Institutional Trust.

BPAS specialty practices: Auto Enrollment Plans, Multiple Employer Trusts/Plans, Plans with Employer Securities, Puerto Rico Section 1081 Plans, VEBA HRA Plans, Cash Balance Plans, Collective Investment Trusts, and Fund Administration.

BPAS subsidiaries: BPAS Trust Company of Puerto Rico, Global Trust Company, Hand Benefits & Trust, and NRS Trust Product Administration.

As a solutions-oriented national practice, we are committed to “Solving Tomorrow’s Benefit Challenges Today.” Visit bpas.com for more information.

July 13, 2021

BPAS Names New President and Executive Vice President

Utica, NY (July 13, 2021 ). BPAS, a leading national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts, announced today that Maryann Geary has been named President of its Plan Administration and Recordkeeping Services and David Ritchie has been named Executive Vice President of its Health & Welfare division.

Geary has led the company’s Plan Administration & Recordkeeping operations since 2008. Before joining BPAS, she was an owner of Alliance Benefit Group Mid-Atlantic, in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. She holds several designations in the retirement field from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, including Certified Pension Consultant, Qualified Pension Administrator, Qualified 401(k) Administrator, Qualified Plan Financial Consultant, and Tax Exempt and Government Plans Consultant. She is also an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent and is licensed to represent clients before the IRS.

“Maryann has played a vital role in the growth and development of BPAS, while setting the highest standards for the ERISA, technical, and plan design knowledge we possess as an organization,” said Paul Neveu, BPAS CEO. “She brings a keen understanding of technical requirements, combined with a practical approach to plan administration. Maryann has overseen various teams within BPAS, including our national team of Plan Consultants, the Plan Documents and Notices team, the Plan Conversion and Implementation team, TPA Services, and worked across the company on many collaborative projects. As President, Maryann will be able to work her magic in overseeing all operations and lead our administrative, trust, and operational functions of our Plan Administration & Recordkeeping Services.”

“It is a very exciting time to work in the retirement field due to recent legislation,” said Geary. “BPAS will continue to focus on providing unparalleled retirement administration and recordkeeping services with a focus on technology and outsourcing the HR functions for our Plan Sponsors to allow them to focus on growing their businesses.  I am thrilled to be able to lead the way with an amazing team of professionals at BPAS.”

Ritchie, who joined BPAS in 2013, is a national expert on VEBA HRA issues. With more than 20 years of industry experience, he is a leading authority on VEBAs, Consumer-Driven Plans, and COBRA Administration. In his new role, he will lead the company’s Health & Welfare service lines in operations, sales, staffing, service, and compliance.

Since joining BPAS, Ritchie has secured key partnerships to help expand the BPAS Health & Welfare business. The company’s VEBA offering is particularly popular with municipal/public-sector employers, schools and universities, and Taft-Hartley union groups.

“David has been instrumental to the growth of our VEBA and Health & Welfare lines of business,” said Paul Neveu, BPAS CEO. “In addition to his strong leadership skills and strategic thinking, he brings a keen understanding of GASB/OPEB mitigation solutions, union negotiation and bargaining, consumer-driven healthcare options, and COBRA administration. His leadership has been a driving force in expanding the BPAS national brand across a competitive marketplace and building our Health & Welfare practice. We offer one of the best solutions in the market. With Dave at the helm, we have the products, technology, staffing, and expertise to really lead the way.”

“With the continuous rising costs of both healthcare insurance and expenses, Health & Welfare plans are great tools for employers and employees looking to stretch their budgets and create a marketplace of informed consumers,” said Ritchie. We have a compelling story and can help employers enjoy significant additional tax advantages. I’m looking forward to expanding the BPAS brand and building our Health & Welfare business into a truly national brand.”

About BPAS

BPAS is a national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts. We support 4,200 retirement plans, $110 billion in trust assets, $1.3 trillion in fund administration, and more than 510,000 participants. With our breadth of services, depth of creative talent, and financial resources, we are well-positioned to help our clients solve all their benefit plan challenges without the need to engage multiple providers. One company. One call.

BPAS services: Plan Administration & Recordkeeping, Actuarial & Pension, Collective Investment Trusts, Fund Administration, Fiduciary Healthcare Consulting, IRA, VEBA/HRA, Health & Welfare Plans, Institutional Trust.

BPAS specialty practices: Auto Enrollment Plans, Multiple Employer Trusts/Plans, Plans with Employer Securities, Puerto Rico Section 1081 Plans, VEBA HRA Plans, Cash Balance Plans, Collective Investment Trusts, and Fund Administration.

BPAS subsidiaries: BPAS Trust Company of Puerto Rico, Fringe Benefits Design, Global Trust Company, Hand Benefits & Trust, and NRS Trust Product Administration.

As a solutions-oriented national practice, we are committed to “Solving Tomorrow’s Benefit Challenges Today.” Visit bpas.com for more information.

July 07, 2021

Benefit Plans Administrative Services Expands in Midwest

Utica, NY — July 6, 2021 —BPAS, a national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts announced today its acquisition of Fringe Benefit Design of Minnesota, Inc. (FBD), a provider of retirement plan administration, actuarial, and benefit consulting services with offices in Minnesota and South Dakota.

BPAS, a subsidiary of Community Bank System, Inc., provides daily valuation, actuarial and employee benefit consulting, cafeteria plan and institutional trust services through its various subsidiaries on a national scale. It has offices in Utica and Syracuse, NY; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA; Houston, TX; Boston, MA and Puerto Rico.

“We are very excited about joining forces with BPAS,” said Kevin Miller, FBD President/CEO. “We feel that combining our highly skilled administrative team, industry-leading technology, and operating efficiencies provided by BPAS, and the investment selection/monitoring provided by The E-Valuator software will make this an industry-leading package that will compete extremely well in the retirement plan industry.”

The acquisition will give BPAS a profile of revenues of approximately $110 million, administration of more than 510,000 retirement plan participant accounts, 4,200 employer clients, and some $110 billion of total assets in trust.

“This transaction represents a very attractive opportunity for us,” said Community Bank System President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark E. Tryniski. “Our employee benefits and trust business is the largest of our non-banking businesses, and plays a significant role in our overall growth strategy for our financial services businesses on a national level.”

According to Paul Neveu, BPAS CEO, “We have known FBD for years, and have worked with them in several capacities. They have an impressive team of experts, including numerous plan consultants and relationship managers. Through this transaction, we’ll provide FBD clients with the latest technology and features while they continue to work with professionals they know and trust on a local basis. This combination gives BPAS a significant Midwest office – allowing us to bring our unique mix of services to many new advisors and trust companies, while augmenting our services to existing clients and partners there. State-of-the-art technology with local service and a strong focus on relationships and accountability — that’s a win/win in today’s world.”

“This affiliation adds exceptional depth and breadth for the benefit of our current and prospective clients,” added Maryann Geary, President of BPAS. “With this acquisition, we significantly expand our retirement offerings on a national level, including the Association and Group Plan space.  We are excited to combine with FBD and committed to growing our capabilities in the region and nationally.”

About BPAS

BPAS is a national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts. With our breadth of services, depth of creative talent, and financial resources, we are well-positioned to help our clients solve all their benefit plan challenges without the need to engage multiple providers. One company. One call.

The BPAS family of services includes: Plan Administration & Recordkeeping | Actuarial & Pension | Healthcare Consulting | IRA | VEBA HRA | Health & Welfare Plans | Fiduciary | Collective Investment Funds | Fund Administration | Institutional Trust

Specialty practices include: Auto Enrollment Plans | Multiple Employer Trusts/Plans (MET/MEP) | Plans with Employer Securities | Puerto Rico Section 1081 Plans | VEBA HRA Plans | Cash Balance Plans | Collective Investment Trusts | Fund Administration

BPAS subsidiaries include: Hand Benefits & Trust, NRS Trust Product Administration, Global Trust Company, and BPAS Trust Company of Puerto Rico.

As a solutions-oriented national practice, we are committed to “Solving Tomorrow’s Benefit Challenges Today.” Visit bpas.com for more information.

Community Bank System, Inc. (CBU) operates more than 230 customer facilities across Upstate New York, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts through its banking subsidiary, Community Bank, N.A. With assets of over $13.9 billion, the DeWitt, N.Y. headquartered company is among the country’s 125 largest banking institutions. In addition to a full range of retail, business, and municipal banking services, the Company offers comprehensive financial planning, insurance and wealth management services through its Community Bank Wealth Management Group and OneGroup NY, Inc. operating units. The Company’s Benefit Plans Administrative Services, Inc. subsidiary is a leading provider of employee benefits administration, trust services, collective investment fund administration and actuarial consulting services to customers on a national scale. Community Bank System, Inc. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Company’s stock trades under the symbol CBU. For more information about Community Bank visit www.cbna.com or https://ir.communitybanksystem.com.

June 22, 2021

MP and BPAS Partnership Brings Integrated Technology

Boston, MA (June 22, 2021) – BPAS, a national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts, is partnering with MP, an HCM solutions company, to deliver integrated solutions for mutual plan-sponsor clients. The MP-BPAS partnership means 360-degree integration technology links and synchronized data between the plan sponsor, recordkeeper, administrator, and employees.

This new partnership will eliminate manual uploads, reduce data entry errors, and protect data integrity for employers choosing MP for comprehensive payroll services and BPAS for defined contribution (DC) plan administration. Data will be updated automatically between BPAS and MP whenever a change is made to one of the systems for full 360-degree automation to all parties.

“We are excited to support MP and BPAS clients in a new way,” said Jason Maxwell, CEO of MP. “We can now offer seamless, top-tier solutions for plan administration, as well as proactive and reliable HR and payroll services that will save our clients an enormous amount of time.”

Both MP and BPAS offer employers the option to customize and manage service providers across employee benefit, payroll, and accounting services. The two companies are now able to deliver an integration solution that optimizes the employee experience for its clients.

“BPAS is committed to executing and streamlining the plan sponsor experience,” said Paul Neveu, BPAS CEO. “We recognize that payroll providers and DC plan recordkeepers operate in a world of client choice. So, when we can create a partnership where two firms truly optimize the client experience and deliver refreshing new solutions to employers, we’re going to jump at it. It’s like we’re restoring the confident silence back into plan administration.”

MP serves clients across the nation with a high concentration in New England. MP and BPAS began working together through advisor partnerships in 2014. “We have earned our clients’ trust as they outsource their retirement plan needs to us,” added Neveu. “We’re proud of this partnership and are looking forward to a full rollout to clients. Plus, MP will now be a provider of choice for BPAS clients, serving their HR, payroll, and benefits administration needs.”

About MP

MP is a full-service HR and payroll services provider. Founded in 2004, it is headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts. The company serves clients from all industries and across all 50 states, helping them streamline human capital management to achieve their larger business goals. MP combines best in class technology with proactive and reliable customer service to help clients optimize performance. For more information, visit mp-hr.com.

About BPAS

BPAS is a national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts. We support 4,000 retirement plans, $100 billion in trust assets, $1.3 trillion in fund administration, and more than 500,000 participants. With our breadth of services, depth of creative talent, and financial resources, we are well positioned to help our clients solve all their benefit plan challenges without the need to engage multiple providers. One company. One call.

The BPAS family of services includes: Plan Administration & Recordkeeping | Actuarial & Pension | Healthcare Consulting | IRA | VEBA HRA | Health & Welfare Plans | Fiduciary | Collective Investment Funds | Fund Administration | Institutional Trust

Specialty practices include: Auto Enrollment Plans | Multiple Employer Trusts/Plans (MET/MEP) | Plans with Employer Securities | Puerto Rico Section 1081 Plans | VEBA HRA Plans | Cash Balance Plans | Collective Investment Trusts | Fund Administration

BPAS subsidiaries include: Hand Benefits & Trust, NRS Trust Product Administration, Global Trust Company, and BPAS Trust Company of Puerto Rico.

As a solutions-oriented national practice, we are committed to “Solving Tomorrow’s Benefit Challenges Today.” Visit bpas.com for more information.

February 16, 2021

BPAS Creates Solutions Squad as a Resource to Plan Sponsors and Service Providers

Utica, NY (February 16, 2021). BPAS, a national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts, has created a special solutions-focused consulting team as a resource to plan sponsors and the retirement plan industry on technical matters.

The BPAS Solutions Squad consists of expert professionals in Defined Contribution, Defined Benefit, and Health and Welfare plans, as well as TPA services.

“With the flurry of mergers and acquisitions in recent years, business models are changing,” said Paul Neveu, BPAS CEO. “While there’s considerable technical depth within the industry, some providers are narrowing the services their in-house compliance teams provide, causing gap situations that need to be solved at the client level. We saw how it was adding burdens to Plan Sponsors and knew we had the resources to help.”

While the core focus of BPAS remains on recurring engagements, the expertise of the Solutions Squad allows BPAS to dive in, review complex situations, and work with other parties as an additional business line. BPAS understands that a range of factors and simple miscommunication among parties can give rise to compliance problems for employers. “We understand the sensitivity of these situations, the need for confidentiality, and discretion,” added Neveu. “The key is to identify what went wrong, review possible remedies and take action — not just let the situation fester.”
Maryann Geary, Executive Vice President of BPAS, agreed, saying that BPAS has seen situations where an administrative or operational error occurred and the correction methodology was outside of the provider’s wheelhouse. “There are matters like coverage testing across controlled groups, complex year-end allocations or true ups, or where calculations were done wrong for several years as a result of problems with compensation or the benefits formula,” she said. “There are also jump-ball situations when a plan moves from Provider A to B, where an employer ends up in ‘no-man’s land’ as neither provider is willing to handle certain compliance work. The BPAS Solutions Squad can bring great value to these cases, either as a resource to the employer or to one of the providers.”

“There are also cases where an employer simply wants to fix a spot issue rather than move the entire relationship,” added Vince Spina, President of BPAS Actuarial & Pension Services. “It’s understandable, but with the biggest vendors, they see risk everywhere. They often say no to requests that move from administration into the consulting realm. Our actuarial and DC teams are willing to review situations to see where we can be of assistance. Consulting is what we do for a living. We’ll take a look, have some dialogue. Often, we find a better way to solve the problem.”

The BPAS Solutions Squad can also provide resources to help in working with legal counsel, accounting firms, and IRS and DOL regulators. Naturally, BPAS reserves the right to determine what situations make sense for the Solutions Squad, including timing, scope of engagement and potential fees.

About BPAS

BPAS is a national provider of retirement plans, benefit plans, fund administration, and collective investment trusts. We support 3,800 retirement plans, $100 billion in trust assets, $1.3 trillion in fund administration, and more than 450,000 participants. With our breadth of services, depth of creative talent, and financial resources, we are well-positioned to help our clients solve all their benefit plan challenges without the need to engage multiple providers. One company. One call.

BPAS services: Plan Administration & Recordkeeping, Actuarial & Pension, Collective Investment Trusts, Fund Administration, Custody, Transfer Agency, 3(16)/3(38), Healthcare Consulting, IRA, HSA, VEBA, Consumer-Driven Health Plans.

BPAS specialty practices: Auto Enrollment Plans, Multiple Employer Trusts/Plans, Plans with Employer Securities, Puerto Rico Section 1081 Plans, VEBA/HRA Plans, Cash Balance Plans, Collective Investment Trusts, and Fund Administration.

BPAS subsidiaries: BPAS Trust Company of Puerto Rico, Global Trust Company, Hand Benefits & Trust, and NRS Trust Product Administration.

As a solutions-oriented national practice, we are committed to “Solving Tomorrow’s Benefit Challenges Today.” Visit bpas.com for more information.