Karen Smith 401(k) PlansKaren Smith

F.S.A., E.A., M.A.A.A., M.S.P.A., F.C.A., J.D.
President and Shareholder
At the helm of Nova 401(k) Associates is president, Karen Smith (formerly Nowiejski). She has been practicing in the retirement area for more than 22 years. In addition to being the visionary of the firm, Karen is a technical resource for the Nova 401(k) staff on defined benefit and cash balance issues, particularly legal, actuarial and complicated nondiscrimination testing issues. She assists clients with plan design and implementation, defined contribution plan and defined benefit plan administration, completion of IRS required nondiscrimination testing, special projects such as mergers and acquisitions and plan terminations, and plan drafting and interpretation.

Karen is involved in several industry groups including ASPPA, (American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries) where she is a member of the Board of Directors.  She is a president-elect of ACOPA.  Additionally, Karen was a member of the American Academy of Actuaries Committee on Qualifications for several years.

Prior to forming Nova 401(k) Associates in 2000, Karen worked from 1990-2000 in the Houston office of William M. Mercer, Incorporated (“Mercer”), one of the largest human resources consulting firms in both the United States and the world.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with Honors in 1990. She received her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center in 1998, where she was an Associate Editor for the University of Houston Law Review from 1995-1996.

Karen’s Industry Advice
Keep it simple! Karen says, “Whenever possible, keep your plan simple. Sometimes a plan sponsor will over-complicate his plans for some small perceived advantage, but ends up finding his plan too difficult to administer.”

Karen’s Favorite Industry Guru
Karen says, “That is a really hard question! There are so many people in the retirement plan industry who are generous with their time and knowledge. In particular, the ACOPA actuaries are always available to help each other out.”

Karen Dishes on Dogs
Karen’s family has a golden retriever named Casey.