Frequently asked questions

Looking for more details? Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about Simply Retirement by Principal®.

Man working on a computer.

General Information

What is Simply Retirement by Principal®?

Simply Retirement by Principal® is a product for startup plans with fewer than 100 employees. It’s designed to offer an easy-to-use, fully online experience that removes the friction that can occur with traditional onboarding—including chasing down paperwork, getting answers to service and expense questions, finalizing the investment offering, and selecting a fidelity bond. Our goal is to simplify and streamline this process, so you can focus on delivering value to your clients. Plan setup takes about a week, not 8–10 weeks, and most steps are fully digital and totally automated.

Backed by experience, this product combines more than 75 years of retirement expertise from Principal® with the digital technology and services of Ubiquity Retirement + Savings®. We’ve come together to help make retirement plans a reality for more small businesses.

Note: Simply Retirement by Principal® is available for use by third party administrators (TPAs) beginning Oct. 4, 2021. TPAs have the ability to create plans on their own and/or be included when a financial professional creates a plan.

Why did Principal create a digital product, and what does this term mean?

When we refer to Simply Retirement by Principal® as a digital product, it means that everything is online, from designing the plan to onboarding and administration.

We created a digital product for several reasons. One of our goals was to provide a simple strategy for small businesses to establish a 401(k) plan and help their employees save for retirement—helping to address a need for the thousands of small businesses who don’t currently offer their employees a retirement savings plan. We also wanted to provide a simple plan for TPAs and financial professionals to quote and establish small business retirement plans efficiently and easily—so they can spend less time managing paperwork and more time helping clients navigate the process.

Who is Ubiquity and why is Principal® working with them?

Ubiquity is a leading fintech company that was selected over peers because of their tenure and experience in the industry. A couple key facts about Ubiquity:

  • 22 years of digital 401(k) plan technology experience—used by more than 10,000 small businesses*.
  • Simply Retirement by Principal® uses Paradigm RKS, Ubiquity’s cloud-based, proprietary recordkeeping system.

We were intentional about our choice to work with Ubiquity. After exploring and evaluating a variety of technology options, we selected Ubiquity for its established presence as an innovator in the digital retirement space. Our vision with small businesses starting a 401(k) plan has always been to deliver the best possible digital retirement solution, and Ubiquity’s proprietary recordkeeping system is a forward-thinking, future-ready solution that will allow for growth and enhancements to help meet our customers’ needs in the long term.

*As of June 2021.

Who is Wilshire Associates, Inc., and how do they fit in?

Wilshire & Associates, Inc. will be the plan’s 3(38) investment fiduciary responsible for selecting and monitoring the plan’s investment options. Wilshire Associates, Inc. is an independent investment management firm that manages capital for more than 600 institutional investors globally, representing more than $8 trillion of capital.

TPA Compensation and Fees

Is Simply Retirement by Principal® part of the Principal TPA EdgeSM program?

Simply Retirement by Principal® is not included as part of the Principal TPA Edge program, and there’s no compensation from Principal for establishing the plan. Simply Retirement by Principal® plans will, however, count towards qualifying for TPA Platinum status. Here are some of the differences you may notice with Simply Retirement by Principal® compared to the Principal TPA Edge program:

  • You will use a different website and process to get quotes and establish the plan.
  • The onboarding transition plan is much shorter and streamlined. A plan can be completed and up and running in as little as a week.
  • Ongoing plan administration is different. Simply Retirement by Principal® plans will be managed using the TPA portal on Ubiquity’s website (available 1/1/22).
  • Ongoing support is provided by Ubiquity. You can call 855-472-0472 for help.
  • Making changes to the plan is efficient. It doesn’t require completing a Plan Provision Checklist (PPC) and pulling in a Client Services Associate at Principal. The process is automated on the Ubiquity TPA portal, meaning less manual processing and paperwork. (available 1/1/22)

If you have questions about Simply Retirement by Principal® plan administration and the Simply Retirement by Principal® TPA dashboard, please contact Ubiquity at 855-472-0472.

How will the TPA be compensated? Will the TPA compensation options be the same as they are for the Principal platform?

You will bill your fees directly to the plan sponsor. There are potentially three components to your fees that can be included in the Simply Retirement by Principal® fee proposal (if you choose) which will provide more transparency to the business owner and a “view” of the total cost:

  • One-time set up fee (billed directly to the employer and collected by the TPA outside of plan assets)
  • Annual base fee (billed directly to the employer and collected by the TPA outside of plan assets)
  • Annual per head fee (billed directly to the employer and collected by the TPA outside of plan assets)

In addition to your fees, Ubiquity will pay the TPA $35 for each participant distribution and loan.

Plan Fees

What are the plan fees, and who pays them?

The business owner pays:

  • $500 one-time setup fee.
  • $135 per month recordkeeping fee ($405 billed quarterly).
  • Financial professional and/or TPA fees if the business owner chooses to work with one. The TPA will bill the business owner directly for their fees. If the financial professional chooses to be compensated through a flat fee, this fee will be billed to the business owner.

The participant pays:

  • $6 per participant, per month recordkeeping fee for each participant with an account balance over $100. This is deducted from participant accounts monthly. The business owner may elect to pay it quarterly on behalf of the participants.
  • If the financial professional chooses to be paid out of plan assets, this fee will be deducted quarterly from participant balances in the plan on a pro-rated basis. (TPA fees must be billed directly to the business owner.)
  • Custodial and investment fees, which are charged against participating employees’ accounts (those vary by investment and range from 0.03% – 0.94%, as of July 31, 2021). Custodial fees are up to 0.055%.

Financial professional fees

Financial professionals (if the business owner chooses to work with one) have the choice of being compensated through a flat fee or basis points as approved through their firm-level rules of engagement. (Simply Retirement by Principal® includes firm-level rules of engagement through the digital quoting and purchase process). They have the ability to choose 25bp, 50bp or 75bp, or a flat fee not to exceed 50bp annually.

What happens if the company grows beyond 100 employees?

Plans with 100 or more employees may be subject to an independent audit requirement. Ubiquity, as the recordkeeper, provides the TPA with access to annual reporting necessary to assist with the TPA and auditor’s efforts. Special reporting may be subject to Ubiquity’s hourly rate of $195.

Creating a plan design/proposal online

Can you provide me a summary of the Simply Retirement by Principal® quoting process?

On the TPA landing page, you will have the option to:

  • Create a Plan Proposal (How do I get a quick pricing proposal?)
    • You will be asked to enter in a few details, including the option to add your own fees (one time set-up fee, annual base fee, annual per head fee) and/or logo. You will not be required to complete the plan design for a quick pricing proposal.
    • When you print or email the price quote, you will also receive a checklist to walk through the plan design features with the business owner.
    • When you are ready to complete the plan design, you will navigate back to the simplyretirement.com TPA homepage and select “Create a Plan” from the top navigation.
  • Create a Plan (How do I complete the full proposal with plan design details?)
    • If you're working with a financial professional:

      The TPA owns all aspects of the plan design and the financial professional selects the investment lineup and inputs their compensation. If the TPA initiates the process of creating the plan, they will be asked to provide the financial professional’s name and email. The financial professional will then be prompted to complete the investment selection and send it back to the TPA to present to the client for approval.

      If the financial professional initiates the process, they will insert their information, send it to the TPA to insert their information, and then the quote will be sent back to the financial professional to present to the client for approval.

    • Ubiquity Payroll (K)onciergeTM will then assist the plan sponsor in setting up their payroll and will help them with the submission of their first payroll.
    • Once a week, the TPA will receive an automated email that shows where each of their Simply Retirement by Principal® plans are in the implementation process.

What information do I need to create a plan online?

When creating a plan, the TPA owns all aspects of the plan design and the financial professional (if applicable) selects the investment lineup and inputs their compensation. The TPA will have a variety of plan design options available for eligibility, vesting and matching contributions that will allow the recordkeeper, Ubiquity, to provide the day-to-day administrative service aspects of the clients’ plan design. TPAs will need to provide the following data to create a plan through Simply Retirement by Principal®:

  • TPA sales contact’s full name and email
  • TPA operational contact’s full name, email, phone number and ZIP code
  • TPA firm name
  • TPA Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • TPA logo for proposal (not required)
  • Client contact’s full name and email
  • Client company name
  • Client state of residence
  • Client EIN
  • Financial professional contact’s full name and email (for investment selection and fees, if applicable)
  • TPA setup fee, annual base fee, and annual per head fee to be included on the proposal, if desired (not required)
  • Number of employees at client firm that would be eligible for the plan
  • Plan design selections around:
    • Plan effective date
    • Roth contributions
    • Eligibility and entry requirements
    • Auto enrollment option
    • Safe harbor
    • ER contributions (if applicable)
    • Vesting
    • Loans and hardship withdrawals

How long does it take to answer the questions and create a plan online?

On average, 15 to 20 minutes is a reasonable estimate for creating a plan online, but your experience may vary. There are about 15 questions to answer (there may be a few more, depending on which options are selected).

If you close out of the online questions before saving your plan, you’ll see a button at the bottom of your screen that says “You have a plan in progress.” As long you have the website open, you can click this button to pick up where you left off. If you want to leave the site and come back later, you’ll need to finish the questions, save your plan design, and save the link to be able to return and edit your answers. Plan designs are saved for 30 days.

How do I get help if I have a question or need to make changes to the plan?

When you create a Simply Retirement by Principal® plan online and share a link to that plan with either the financial professional or the business owner, the link will be available for 30 days. You can make changes online anytime during that 30 days until the business owner submits the plan for purchase.

After the plan is purchased, your Simply Retirement by Principal® plans can be modified by making a request to the Ubiquity administrative team. Change requests may include plan provision changes, corrective refund requests, etc. You can contact Ubiquity via phone or email, or beginning Jan. 1, 2022, you’ll be able to request the changes digitally via the TPA portal through a built-in communication mechanism.

If you need help or have a question, you can call the Simply Retirement by Principal® dedicated phone number: 855-472-0472, or email [email protected]

Plan features

Are the plan design options restricted, and if so, how?

Yes. As a TPA, you’ll have a variety of plan design options around eligibility, vesting, and matching contributions that will allow the recordkeeper, Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, to provide the day-to-day administrative service aspects of your client’s plan design (saving you time when reviewing participant transactions like distributions and loans). When completing a quick quote, the TPA will receive a checklist that will outline the plan design flexibility available with Simply Retirement by Principal®.

With Simply Retirement by Principal®, we aim to make the upfront process streamlined and efficient for TPAs with a simple packaged plan. This allows the TPA to focus on their value proposition instead of completing lots of paperwork. Plan setup takes about a week, not 8–10 weeks, and most steps are fully digital and totally automated.

What vesting options are available for plan design?

The TPA will select the opinion(s) that apply while creating the plan online.

Vesting schedule options include:

  • Immediate (100%),
  • 4-year graded (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%),
  • 5-year graded (20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%),
  • 6-year graded (0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%), and
  • 3-year cliff (0%, 0%, 100%).

Are loans available with this plan?

Yes. If the business owner chooses to offer loans, participants can request to take one loan from their 401(k) plan balance and select a loan repayment schedule that best suits them (but is no longer than five years). Participants may repay a loan to up to 30 years if the proceeds are used to purchase their primary residence. Only one loan may be outstanding at a time. Loan repayments are made via after-tax payroll deductions. The interest portion (2 percentage points over the prime interest rate) of the loan payment is applied to the participant’s account.

Do participants have the option to defer Roth contributions with this plan?

Yes. If selected, business owners may choose to offer participants the ability to make Roth contributions in addition to pre-tax deferrals with this plan.

Are the investment lineup options the same as the Principal platform, and will financial professionals be restricted in what they can use?

Simply Retirement by Principal® offers three Wilshire 3(38) investment lineups to choose from depending on whether the business owner is working with a financial professional and which investments the financial professional is licensed to offer. For more information, see this page. There’s a listing of investment options under each asset class and you can click any investment option for fact sheets and other details.

Most clients work with a financial professional. If the TPA initiates the process of creating a Simply Retirement by Principal® plan, you will be asked to provide the financial professional’s first name, last name, and email. When you’re finished making the plan selections online, you will be prompted to share the plan with the financial professional via email. The financial professional will open the link, select the investment lineup, save the plan, and share it back to you via email so you can review and send it to your client for approval and purchase.

In limited instances where the TPA creates a plan and there isn’t a financial professional, the business owner will receive a pre-selected Wilshire 3(38) investment lineup, which is already factored into pricing. This allows you to continue focusing time and effort on your value proposition while utilizing the expertise of Wilshire & Associates to assist your client in selecting an investment lineup for the plan.

Onboarding

What payroll companies will you have integration with and how will they get set up?

Ubiquity offers 360-integration for all clients with a cloud-based payroll system through Payroll (K)onciergeTM and Enhanced Payroll services. Please visit https://www.myubiquity.com/payroll-integration/ for more information regarding Ubiquity’s payroll services

Who will help the plan sponsor with the first payroll submission?

As part of the implementation process, a Ubiquity team member serves as the Payroll (K)onciergeTM and meets with the business owner to review integration options, provides simple instructions, and assists the plan sponsor with their first payroll submission. There is no additional fee for this service as this is part of the Simply Retirement by Principal® plan sponsor experience.

How will plan implementation work, and will I still need to complete a Plan Provision Checklist for each plan?

Ubiquity follows a 7-step onboarding and implementation process. Each week, you will receive an email showing which stage each of your Simply Retirement by Principal® plans are at in the onboarding process. Please refer to the detailed implementation guide for more information on the steps, timing, and what you can expect.

You will not have to complete a Plan Provision Checklist (PPC). We’ve digitized this process to create a more streamlined and efficient onboarding experience resulting in less paperwork for the TPA. As a result, while many plans require an 8-10 week process to onboard, Simply Retirement by Principal® plans only take about a week or so.

What happens after the business owner submits the plan for purchase?

Once the plan sponsor clicks the “Complete your purchase” on the “Review Your Plan” page, they’ll be redirected to the Ubiquity Retirement + Savings® website, where they will:

  • Set up their login credentials.
  • Verify and provide details about their business.
  • E-Sign required documents.
  • Pay a $500 one-time plan setup fee (non-refundable).

After the plan sponsor signs all the required documents, they’ll be able to configure their account to activate their plan:

  • Add a contribution funding account.
  • Add their company’s payroll schedule(s).
  • Complete their application to use ACH for payroll contribution processing.
  • With the plan now active, the Payroll (K)onciergeTM will be available to help them successfully enter or upload their employee data (census) and process their first payroll contribution.

What enrollment support will be provided to eligible employees?

Once the plan is set up and employee data (census) is entered onto the website, eligible employees will receive a welcome email from Ubiquity inviting them to enroll in the plan by setting up their online accounts. Participants can use their online account to make deferral elections, select their investments, view their balance, request loans and distributions, and review plan notices and disclosures.

Participants also receive information regarding the financial wellness program in their welcome email, which will provide guidance regarding how to access the online financial wellness tools and resources. Ubiquity provides online access to a range of instructional videos, webinars, guides, and checklists, including an enrollment kit for employees to assist with the day-to-day management of plan functions. Ubiquity’s Customer Success Team can be reached by phone, email, or chat for additional support.

What is the participant experience with Simply Retirement by Principal®?

Participants will have a simple-to-use online dashboard on the Ubiquity website. As soon as they’re enrolled, they’ll get a welcome email with a link to get started. On their first visit, they’ll set up their online account, view their personal information, and confirm their investment selection. If they’re not sure which investments to select, they can take a brief quiz to see their suggested asset allocation. They can also review their current allocations and make updates. Every time they log in, they’ll see their personal dashboard with their investment balance, deferral percentage and contribution history. If they have questions, they can check out the resources, tools, and frequently asked questions.

Plan administration

Where will I go to view reports and complete administrative tasks for Simply Retirement by Principal® plans?

TPAs will have access to a TPA portal on the Ubiquity Retirement + Savings® website. The TPA portal includes a dashboard with basic client information and plan purchase status. The dashboard will be available Oct. 4, 2021. Available Jan. 1, 2022, the TPA portal will provide easy access to the information you need to manage day-to-day tasks. For example, on the TPA portal, you will be able to:

  • View plan details such as balance, participation, and outstanding tasks.
  • Manage participant entry, rehire, and vesting.
  • Review rollovers, loans, and distributions, including the ability to view uploaded supporting documents as necessary (e.g., hardships, residential loans, etc.).
  • Review loan statuses.
  • Upload reference documents (e.g. Summary Plan Descriptions, plan compliance test results, Summary Annual Reports).
  • Access global and plan-specific reports and plan activity.

Can I view my Simply Retirement by Principal® plans on the Principal TPA dashboard? Will I be able to see any information regarding those plans on the website?

When you want to manage your Simply Retirement by Principal® plans you will need to navigate to your Ubiquity TPA Dashboard.

How will I review loans and distributions?

TPAs can navigate to Ubiquity’s TPA portal to review participant loans and distributions in their Simply Retirement by Principal® plans.

Who will approve loans/distributions? Who will review vesting at the time of distributions?

TPAs can approve participant loans and distributions from their TPA portal where they’ll be given the opportunity to modify participant vesting.

Will you have downloadable data reports that are formatted for our testing systems, such as Datair, Relius, etc.?

TPAs can download a Comma Separated Value (CSV) file from your Ubiquity TPA portal with annual census data necessary to perform annual ADP and ACP testing.

Support

How can I get support to set up my plan?

Every new plan is assigned an Implementation Specialist by Ubiquity to ensure the plan is set up correctly, and to help process the first employee census and payroll contribution.

Implementation Support

[email protected]

855-910-4015

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. PST

How do I (and my clients) get support after my plan is set up?

Ongoing support of Simply Retirement by Principal® plans is provided by Ubiquity.The following Customer Success Teams are available:

Employer Support

[email protected]

855-401-4357, Option 1

Monday–Friday, 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST

Employee Support

[email protected]

855-401-4357, Option 2

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST

TPA Support

[email protected]

855-472-0472

Monday–Friday, 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST

Financial Professional Support

[email protected]

855-401-4357, Option 4

Monday–Friday, 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST