Distributions: An Overview

Distributions are a common element in plan administration, and PensionPro provides the tools necessary to easily track and process them. However, to a first-time user, getting started with Distributions can seem like a daunting task. This article aims to provide a simplified look at how PensionPro handles Distributions and what considerations must be made when using them for the first time.


This article assumes that the reader is already familiar with creating and using Projects in PensionPro. If this is not the case, consider starting with with Projects: An Overview.


Tier Availability: Business


Article Contents




Distributions in PensionPro


Before diving into setting up Distributions, it can be helpful to understand the ways in which they can be used. The following sections highlight some of the functionality associated with Distributions in PensionPro.



Distribution Projects

A Distribution Project has all of the same functionality as any other Project, which allows a standard workflow to be followed and tracked as the Distribution is processed. However, there are a few extra features that pertain specifically to Distributions. Most importantly, the Distribution tab contains a new category of Views, which will store all Distribution-related information. This includes:


  • The participant's personal, employment, and contribution information
  • Vesting sources
  • 1099 data



PlanSponsorLink Tracking

Basic information pertaining to the Distribution can be made available on PlanSponsorLink so that Plan Sponsors can see—at any time—whether or not a Distribution has been completed. Additional statuses can optionally be applied to a Distribution, allowing the Plan Sponsor to more closely track it through multiple stages of processing.



Employee Census Integration

If an employee census was provided during a Plan's Annual Administration, a participant's census data can be pulled in to the Distribution when it's launched. Alternately, for participants who are not included on an employee census in PensionPro for any reason, this information can be supplied in a spreadsheet template when Distributions are added via Power Tool.



Web Collection

In the event that the Plan Sponsor will be expected to provide any documentation before the Distribution can be processed, Web Collection via PlanSponsorLink can be enabled for the Distribution Project. This will also ensure that the Distribution request is reviewed and approved by the Plan Sponsor before the work is performed.



Preparing for Distributions


There are a few settings that will need to be configured before Distributions can be used. After reading through the following explanations for these features, refer to the articles Distributions and Distribution Preferences for specific instructions on their use.



Project Templates

A Project Template will need to be created to contain the workflow for the Distribution. This Template uses the Distribution Project Type, which provides it with the additional functionality discussed in the previous section.



Distribution Fields

Distribution Fields determine what information is useful to the Distribution. These fields can be added, removed, and reordered within Field Groups. When a Distribution is launched, a Field Group—the customized list of Distribution Fields—is applied.



Association Rules

The requirements for a Distribution may be dependent on the Plan Type and the Reason for distribution. There can be many combinations of Plan Type and Reason, and each combination may determine what Project Template should be used, what Distribution Fields are required, and which Fee should be applied. Rather than trying to remember the correct settings for every combination, Association Rules can be created prior to launching Distributions. By using Association Rules, PensionPro will automatically apply the desired Template, Fee, and Field Group to a new Distribution based on the chosen Reason and Plan Type.



Distributions vs. Projects


In PensionPro, a Distribution is essentially a specialized Project. However, there are times when PensionPro groups the two together, and other times when it distinguishes the two entirely. The following is a list of areas in PensionPro where no distinction is made and the two are found together, as well as a list of areas where Projects and Distributions are considered separate entities:



Grouped Together:

  • Templates for Distributions are managed alongside other Project Templates.
  • Dashboards contain both Project and Distribution Tasks.
  • The Field Update Power Tool for Projects also applies to Distributions.
  • Column Selections & Filtering (such as in Blast Email) based on Projects also apply to Distributions.


Considered Separate:

  • Projects and Distributions are added via different menu options.
  • Projects and Distributions open in different tabs.
  • The Plan tab provides different Views for Projects and Distributions.
  • Project and Distribution Preferences are separated.
  • Distribution List Values are distinct from Project List Values. Project Status and Distribution Status values are maintained individually.
  • Projects and Distributions are reported on separately.
  • Merge Document Templates are specific to either Projects or Distributions.
  • Distribution nodes in Fetch are a subset of Projects.
  • Bulk creation of Projects and Distributions are performed in different Power Tools.
  • Projects and Distributions are separated into different tabs on PlanSponsorLink.



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