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Become a Subject Matter Expert Volunteer

Being a member of RPA is a rewarding experience! You will work with other dedicated retirement plan professionals to educate and train the next generation of administrators, consultants and actuaries. As an expert in a particular area/specialty/topic, you will have the chance to share your knowledge and hone your skills. Furthermore, your role will encourage you to stay current, which is essential in our swiftly changing industry! Being a member of RPA can ensure that you stay technically proficient and current. SMEs receive up to 25 ASPPA CE credits annually for verified volunteer work on the committee.

Position Summary

As a SME you can participate in either the credential or noncredential education roles within the RPA: 

  • Acting in a SME role for Credentialed Education, you will be responsible for maintaining up-to-date certificate and credential programs as well as the education that supports them as it relates to your assigned topic.
  • Acting in a SME role for Non Credential Education, you will be responsible for developing training content as it relates to your topic, including but not limited to, topic outlines, course PowerPoint presentations and learner knowledge checks and case studies.
  • You will also be interacting with other ASPPA committees to accomplish common goals. A SME should anticipate dedicating approximately 5-10 hours per month (or additional hours during specific time periods) with a minimum three year commitment.

Essential Functions 

With regard to assigned subject matter, the SMEs will:

Credential Education
  • advocate for the assigned topic to ensure material is appropriate to the examination and well covered throughout the designation;
  • review exam questions on your topic and assist TECs to write new questions;
  • review text material on your topic;
  • stay current with topic material and update RPA leadership on changes necessary to reflect new laws and regulations;
  • assist with overall quality control;
  • work closely with TECs/SMEs to enhance education of topic for various credentials;
  • participate in as needed quarterly SME conference calls;
  • respond to inquiries from RPA staff and other volunteers on an as-needed basis;
  • travel to one to two meetings per year; and
  • participate in other RPA functions as needed.
Non-Credential Education
  • assist the Non Credential Education Taskforce develop training content outlines;
  • develop all course training materials including but not limited to PowerPoint presentations, course story boards, training knowledge checks, identify course reference materials, and develop case studies;
  • review training materials and content with a specific eye to training the learner with practical applications;
  • work closely with other Non Credential Education SMEs and Content Manager to enhance training courses applicable to your topic;
  • participate on monthly or as needed conference calls to accomplish goals;
  • respond to inquiries from RPA staff and other volunteers on an as-needed basis;
  • participate in other RPA functions as needed.

Qualifications/Skills and Knowledge Requirements

  • Current ASPPA, ACOPA, NTSA or NAPA member; up-to-date on all continuing education requirements for any ASPPA designations held by the individual;
  • Minimum three (3) years technical retirement plan experience;
  • Must demonstrate in-depth technical expertise and a thorough understanding of the practical application of relevant law and formal/informal guidance;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Work requires continual attention to detail, ability to establish priorities and meet deadlines;
  • Must be able to work in a shifting environment with ability to juggle and prioritize multiple, competing tasks and demands and to seek supervisory assistance as appropriate; and
  • Ability to make minimum three year commitment to position.
Performance Measures

While the term of a SME is normally three (3) years, leadership will review a SMEs performance on an on-going basis and reserves the right to replace or reassign a SME at any time. 

SME Topic List
  • Actuarial Valuations/Methods
  • Business Entity Types/Leased Employees
  • CODA/Safe Harbor 401(k)/ADP-ACP Testing
  • Compliance Programs/IRS/DOL/PBGC
  • Coverage Testing/QSLOB Rules
  • Daily Recordkeeping/Plan Administration Tasks
  • DB Types & Characteristics / 415 Calc
  • DC Types & Characteristics / Allocation methods, nondiscrimination tests
  • Deductibility of Contributions/DB and DC
  • Distributions (QKA, QPFC)
  • Distributions (QPA, CPC)
  • Document Issues/Guidance Affecting Amendments/Restatements
  • Eligibility/Participation & Vesting Rules
  • ESOPs
  • Ethics & Professional Responsibility
  • Fees and ERISA 404
  • Fiduciary Responsibility/Liability/PT
  • Investment Issues/Inv. Policy Statements/Types/Risk & Return Analysis
  • Loans to Participants/Hardship Withdrawal
  • Nonqualified Plans
  • Plan Closings/DB Plan Terminations/PBGC/Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Plan Design
  • Reporting & Disclosure, SAS 70/SARs/Form 5500
  • Tax-Exempt & Governmental Plans: 457 & Governmental Plans
  • Tax-Exempt & Governmental Plans: ERISA 403(b)
  • Tax-Exempt & Governmental Plans: Fiduciary
  • Tax-Exempt & Governmental Plans: Non-ERISA 403(b)
  • Tax-Exempt & Governmental Plans: Religious Organizations and IRAs (Rollover, Roth and Traditional)
  • Top-Heavy Rules

Supplemental Information 

SMEs will not be permitted to take ASPPA exams or teach ASPPA courses during their tenure and for one year after their tenure has ended as their work may include coverage of topics and texts directly related to exam and training development. SMEs may teach non-ASPPA course material provided RPA leadership is notified in advance. By submitting an application you agree to adhere to the RPA Committee & Subcommittee Member Confidentiality and Nondisclosure policy. You will be required to sign this document before joining RPA.

This description is based on RPA management’s current assessment of the requirements and functions of the SME as of the date of this description. It is a general guideline and not an exhaustive list of all of the elements of the position. RPA management retains the right to make adjustments to this description as needed to meet ASPPA’s mission. These changes may include the expansion, modification, or elimination of assigned subject matter topics.

Questions? Email Chris DeGrassi.