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Benefits in the News

Older News | September 19, 2014
   

Text of IRS Notice 2014-49: Shared Responsibility for Employers Regarding Health Coverage -- Approach to Changes in Measurement Periods or Methods Applicable to an Employee (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
9/18/2014 [Official Guidance]

"This notice describes a proposed approach to the application of the look-back measurement method, which may be used to determine if an employee is a full-time employee for purposes of Section  4980H of the Internal Revenue Code, in situations in which the measurement period applicable to an employee changes. This change may occur because the employee transfers within the same applicable large employer (or within the same applicable large employer member (ALE member)) from a position to which one measurement period applies to a position to which a different measurement period applies. This situation may also arise when the ALE member modifies the measurement period applicable to a position. This notice is intended to address the topics for which guidance was anticipated in section VII.G of the preamble to the final Section  4980H regulations [issued Feb. 12, 2014]. The Treasury Department and the IRS invite comments on this proposed approach. However, taxpayers may rely on the approach proposed in this notice until further guidance is issued, and in any case through the end of the 2016 calendar year."
Text of IRS Notice 2014-55: Additional Permitted Election Changes for Health Coverage Under Section 125 Cafeteria Plans (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
9/18/2014 [Official Guidance]

6 pages. "[T]his notice addresses two specific situations in which a cafeteria plan participant may wish to revoke, during a period of coverage (commonly a plan year), the employee' s election for employer-sponsored health coverage under the cafeteria plan in order to purchase a Qualified Health Plan through a competitive marketplace established under [the ACA] ... The first situation involves a participating employee whose hours of service are reduced so that the employee is expected to average less than 30 hours of service per week but for whom the reduction does not affect the eligibility for coverage under the employer's group health plan. (This may occur, for example, under certain employer plan designs intended to avoid any potential assessable payment under Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code.) The second situation involves an employee participating in an employer's group health plan who would like to cease coverage under the group health plan and purchase coverage through a Marketplace without that resulting either in a period of duplicate coverage under the employer's group health plan and the coverage purchased through a Marketplace or in a period of no coverage. This notice permits a cafeteria plan to allow an employee to revoke his or her election under the cafeteria plan for coverage under the employer' s group health plan (other than a flexible spending arrangement (FSA)) during a period of coverage in each of those situations provided specified conditions are met. The Treasury Department and the IRS intend to modify the regulations under Section 125 consistent with the provisions of this notice, but taxpayers may rely on this notice immediately."
Text of IRS Notice 2014-56: Adjusted Applicable Dollar Amount for PCORI Fee (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
9/18/2014 [Official Guidance]

"This notice provides the adjusted applicable dollar amount to be multiplied by the average number of covered lives for purposes of the fee imposed by Sections 4375 and 4376 of the Internal Revenue Code for policy years and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2014, and before October 1, 2015. This notice also provides that the adjusted applicable dollar amount for policy years and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2015, will be published in guidance of general applicability published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.... Based on the percentage increase in the projected per capita amount of the National Health Expenditures published by HHS on September 3, 2014, the applicable dollar amount that must be used to calculate the fee imposed by Sections 4375 and 4376 for policy years and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2014, and before October 1, 2015, is $2.08."
2014 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey: Most Workers Continue to be Satisfied With Their Own Health Plan, but Growing Number Give Low Ratings to Health Care System
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI] More items by Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]
9/18/2014

"Confidence about various aspects of today' s health care system has also remained fairly level before and after the passage of PPACA.... Confidence about the health care system decreases as workers look to the future. While 47 percent of workers indicate they are extremely or very confident about their ability to get the treatments they need today, only 30 percent are confident about their ability to get needed treatments during the next 10 years, and just 19 percent are confident about this once they are eligible for Medicare[.]"
Social Security Numbers for ACA Compliance: The Search Is On
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP] More items by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]
9/18/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"What is a reasonable effort to obtain a Social Security number? [1] Reporting entity requests Social Security number at the time the relationship with the covered individual is established. The request may be made orally, in writing (including on an employment application) or by e-mail. [2] If the number has not been provided, the reporting entity must request it again by December 31 of the first year of coverage. [3] If the number still has not been provided, the reporting entity must make another annual request by December 31 of the following year. [4] If the reporting entity followed these steps, it has acted in a responsible manner and does not need to try again. The covered person's date of birth may be used instead."
Solutions, Not Bailouts: Congressional Hearing Probes Solutions for Frozen and Multiemployer DB Plans
American Society of Pension Actuaries [ASPPA] More items by American Society of Pension Actuaries [ASPPA]
9/18/2014

"The hearing -- held Sept. 17 by the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways & Means -- was largely devoted to talking about two specific issues: [1] nondiscrimination testing issues impacting plans that had been 'soft' frozen (i.e., closed to new hires); and [2] the funding and structural challenges confronting multiemployer plans."
The QDIA Decision: Does Your Strategy Align with Plan Goals and Demographics? (PDF)
Jeffrey S. Coons, of Manning & Napier; in collaboration with Fred Reish & Bruce Ashton, of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP More items by Jeffrey S. Coons, of Manning & Napier; in collaboration with Fred Reish & Bruce Ashton, of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
9/18/2014

16 pages. "This paper is intended to discuss how plan demographics and sponsor goals may influence the QDIA selection process, and covers the following points: [1] Selecting an appropriate type of QDIA (i.e., single balanced fund or suite of TDFs) in light of plan demographics and sponsor goals; [2] If the fiduciary decides to use TDFs, selecting specific target date fund investment strategies that best fit plan demographics and sponsor goals; and [3] Given the DOL' s guidance for plan sponsors to consider custom glide path alternatives, the demographics that may suggest a need for customization."
Daddy Dearest? Some Considerations Concerning Paid Parental Leave for Fathers in the United States
Mintz Levin More items by Mintz Levin
9/18/2014

"[M]erely 10-15% of U.S. employers provide paid parental leave for fathers, despite the fact that many new dads would welcome this benefit. A few U.S. states, like California, offer some paid parental leave for fathers, but these states remain the outliers in the union.... Many European countries offer paid parental leave for fathers and more and more European fathers are taking advantage of these benefits. Sweden, for example, offers up to 40 weeks paid leave and according to the Economist, close to 90% of Swedish men take paternity leave."
Can an Employer Terminate an Employee for Working a Second Job While on FMLA Leave?
FMLA Insights More items by FMLA Insights
9/18/2014

"If you want to prohibit an employee from working a second job and tighten up your FMLA compliance, it is critical that you maintain a uniformly-applied no-moonlighting policy that prohibits work while on FMLA leave and any other form of leave. Additionally, the policy should be distributed and available to all employees, and they should be reminded of it when leave begins.... [If] you learn that an employee is working another job while on FMLA leave, you should: [1] Confirm these facts and inform the employee that you are aware of the second job; [2] Confirm the employee' s acknowledgment and agreement that your policies prohibit moonlighting; [3] Determine the duties of the other job and compare to his regular job; [4] Compare the job duties with any medical restrictions as outlined on the medical certification form."
Are Americans Finding Affordable Coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplaces?
The Commonwealth Fund More items by The Commonwealth Fund
9/18/2014

"Adults with low or moderate incomes were more likely to say it was easy to find an affordable plan than were adults with higher incomes. Adults with low or moderate incomes who purchased a plan through the marketplaces this year have similar premium costs and deductibles as adults in the same income ranges with employer-provided coverage. A majority of adults with marketplace coverage gave high ratings to their insurance and were confident in their ability to afford the care they need when sick."
Text of IRS Proposed Regs: Removal of Allocation Rule for Disbursements from Designated Roth Accounts to Multiple Destinations
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
9/18/2014 [Official Guidance]

"This document contains proposed amendments to the regulations that address the tax treatment of distributions from designated Roth accounts under tax-favored retirement plans. The proposed regulations would limit the applicability of the rule regarding the allocation of after-tax amounts when disbursements are made to multiple destinations so the allocation rule applies only to distributions made before the earlier of January 1, 2015 or a date chosen by the taxpayer that is on or after [September 18, 2014]. These regulations would affect administrators of, employers maintaining, participants in, and beneficiaries of designated Roth accounts under tax-favored retirement plans." [Agency/Docket No. REG-105739-11]
Text of IRS Proposed Regs and Request for Comments: Transitional Amendments to Satisfy the Market Rate of Return Rules for Hybrid Retirement Plan
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
9/18/2014 [Official Guidance]

"These proposed regulations would permit an applicable defined benefit plan that does not comply with the requirement that the plan not provide for interest credits (or equivalent amounts) at an effective rate that is greater than a market rate of return to comply with that requirement by changing to an interest crediting rate that is permitted under the final hybrid plan regulations, without violating the anti-cutback rules of section 411(d)(6)."
IRS Notice 2014-54: Guidance on Allocation of After-Tax Amounts to Rollovers (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
9/18/2014 [Official Guidance]

"This notice provides rules for allocating pretax and after-tax amounts among disbursements that are made to multiple destinations from a qualified plan described in Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. These rules also apply to disbursements from a Section 403(b) plan or a Section 457(b) plan maintained by a governmental employer described in Section 457(e)(1)(A). Section VI of this notice provides transition rules."
Text of IRS Final Regs: Additional Rules Regarding Hybrid Retirement Plans
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
9/18/2014 [Official Guidance]

"This document contains final regulations providing guidance relating to applicable defined benefit plans. Applicable defined benefit plans are defined benefit plans that use a lump sum-based benefit formula, including cash balance plans and pension equity plans, as well as other hybrid retirement plans that have a similar effect. These regulations provide guidance relating to certain provisions that apply to applicable defined benefit plans that were added to the Internal Revenue Code (Code) by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, as amended by the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008... In general, these regulations provide guidance with respect to certain issues under Sections 411(a)(13) and 411(b)(5) that are not addressed in the 2010 final regulations and make certain other changes to the final regulations under Sections 411(a)(13) and 411(b)(5). In addition, these regulations provide guidance with respect to one issue under the 133 1/3 percent rule of Section 411(b)(1)(B) for defined benefit plans that adjust benefits using a variable rate that could be negative."
Health Care Costs Follow Health Risks and Can Be Mitigated Over Time Through Incentivized Workplace Wellness Programs
UPMC Health Plan More items by UPMC Health Plan
9/18/2014

"The study was designed to evaluate the impact of UPMC's health management and wellness program, MyHealth, on the health and health care costs of its own employees ... [T]here were significant improvements in health-risk status as well as increases in the use of preventive and chronic disease management services ... The findings are particularly meaningful since healthcare workers are a prime target for improving population health and mitigating rising healthcare costs."
Employer Wellness Programs: Mind, Body, Spirit -- and Wallet
von Briesen & Roper, s.c. More items by von Briesen & Roper, s.c.
9/18/2014

"All health-contingent wellness programs, whether activity-only or outcome-based, must satisfy the following criteria: Frequency of Opportunity to Qualify ... Size of Reward ... Reasonable Design ... Uniform Availability and Reasonable Alternative ... Notice of Availability of Reasonable Alternative."
Two November Deadlines for Self-Insured Health Plans
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP More items by Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
9/18/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"[1] If your company sponsors a self-insured health plan, you are supposed to apply for a Health Plan I.D. (HPID) on [the CMS website] by November 5, 2014. Small plans (with less than $5 million in annual claims) have an extra year (until November 5, 2015) to apply.... [2] If your company sponsors a self-insured major medical plan, you must register on www.Pay.gov and submit a form and enrollment count by November 15, 2014, for the reinsurance fee. During the registration, you must schedule a payment date (on or before January 15, 2015) to pay all or part of the reinsurance fee."
How the ACA Affects U.S. Territorial Employees (PDF)
Buck Consultants at Xerox More items by Buck Consultants at Xerox
9/18/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"Employers should be pleased by the greater flexibility they have in designing benefit programs for their territorial employees. Although their plans may have to meet ACA benefit mandates, employers generally will not be adversely impacted if they fail to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to these employees. In addition, because it is unlikely that a territorial employee would ever be considered full-time for purposes of the shared responsibility provisions, the tracking and reporting obligations of these employees should be minimal."
Longevity May Give DB Sponsors Gray Hair, If Actuaries Have Their Way (PDF)
ERISAdiagnostics via Thompson Pension Plan Fix-It Handbook More items by ERISAdiagnostics via Thompson Pension Plan Fix-It Handbook
9/18/2014

"In Notice 2013-49, IRS issued the static mortality tables to be used for calculating lump-sum distributions for 2014 and 2015. If the [Society of Actuaries'] proposed generational tables are adopted by IRS, lump sums will become more expensive, but probably not before 2016. However, employers that purchase group annuities may see a slight decrease in the premium paid for such annuities. Generational tables should reflect the payout stream more accurately than static tables, thereby lowering any premium cushion."
Can a Plan That Fails to Cover Inpatient Hospitalization Services Provide Minimum Value?
Mintz Levin via Lexology More items by Mintz Levin via Lexology
9/18/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"Whether these plans were 'intended,' or whether they are consistent with Obamacare, is irrelevant. Under currently applicable laws and regulations, these plans appear to work as advertised. Moreover, no employer is required to do anything more than the law requires; and any employer that does risks putting itself at a competitive disadvantage relative to those that do not. The regulators are free to change the rules. Despite a high likelihood that they are aware of these plans, however, they have not yet seen fit to act."
The PBGC Variable Rate Premium: Should Plans Make the Switch?
Milliman Retirement Town Hall More items by Milliman Retirement Town Hall
9/18/2014

"[C]onsultants can estimate the variable rate premium amounts under both options for both the 2014 and 2015 plans. Does the plan sponsor save over the course of two years by switching methods? ... Just remember, the standard method uses volatile spot interest rates. If there is another dip in the market, the plans may face higher costs under the standard premium funding target method and won' t be able to switch back to the alternative premium funding target until 2019."
California Employers May Get Ill Over California's New Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Law
Mintz Levin More items by Mintz Levin
9/18/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"An employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to paid sick days. An employee accrues paid sick days at the rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked. Exempt employees accrue sick days based on the lesser of their normal work schedule or a 40-hour workweek. An employee can use accrued paid sick days after being employed for 90 days, after which day the employee may use paid sick days as they are accrued."
Is It Time for a Checkup for Your 401(k) Plan?
Fox Rothschild LLP More items by Fox Rothschild LLP
9/18/2014

"A good starting place for a compliance tune up is to see if you can answer some basic questions about your plan ... After you get past these, some basic questions about plan administration come into play:... Think of your 401(k) plan as a well maintained car. It needs a check up on a regular basis to keep running smoothly."
GAO Report Shines Light on IRAs: Popular and Ripe for the Picking
Slott Report More items by Slott Report
9/18/2014

"The report provides some fascinating information about the number of people who have IRAs, as well as the staggering amounts that some people have accumulated in them.... The government realizes that IRAs are ripe for the picking.... There are a lot of people with IRAs.... Mitt Romney' s IRA has company!"
Designing Balanced DC Menus: Consider Capital Preservation Strategies
PIMCO More items by PIMCO
9/18/2014

"In evaluating options ... plan sponsors should consider potential nominal and real return, volatility, risk of loss and other factors. Weighing trade-offs among these elements will guide prudent decision-making.... [S]hort-term, low-duration and low-risk bond strategies warrant careful consideration, particularly as an MMF alternative.... [B]ond strategies rank second only to stable value among options geared toward preserving capital within DC plans."
Year-to-Year Variation in Small-Group Health Insurance Premiums
Urban Institute, for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation More items by Urban Institute, for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
9/18/2014

"There is considerable fluctuation in small group insurance premiums year-to-year. [This] state-by-state analysis ... illustrates that since 2000, double-digit premium increases in the small group market are common.... Nationally, premiums for the average small group insurance plan increased 5.5% annually between 2000 and 2013. Thirty-four states saw average annual increases of 10% or more for employers with fewer than 10 employees [in] at least one third of the years since 2000."
What Employer Shared Responsibility Does Not Say
Winstead PC More items by Winstead PC
9/18/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"The key thing to remember as one looks at the complexity in the [employer shared responsibility] determination of full-time employee status, is that while the complexity is necessary to determine full-time employee status to know whether the 'A' Tax applies, not every slip up in calculating if an individual is a full-time employee will necessarily result in a penalty under the 'B' Tax or in failure to satisfy the safe harbor to avoid the 'A' Tax. With that quick review of the big picture, consider what the regulations do not say... and what that means for an employer."
Understanding Premium Changes on the ACA's Health Insurance Marketplaces
The Commonwealth Fund More items by The Commonwealth Fund
9/18/2014

"In an effort to provide real-time information on premium increases or decreases, researchers ... are building a national database of plan offerings on the individual and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces in 2014 and 2015. [They] will collect data on premiums, cost-sharing (deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses), and key elements of benefit design, such as which benefits are covered and to what degree.... [E]arly estimates of premium increases should be interpreted with caution, since they're calculated before consumers make substitutions, and [the authors] expect the substitution effect to be substantial."
CMS Presentation: The Transitional Reinsurance Program -- Supporting Documentation Job Aid Review and Updating Reinsurance Contribution Filings (PDF)
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] More items by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS], U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]
9/18/2014 [Guidance Overview]

77 presentation slides. "Purpose and Overview: [1] Provide an overview of the steps to complete the Reinsurance Contribution filing through Pay.gov; [2] Preview the Supporting Documentation Job Aid and its functionality; [3] Explain various scenarios in which updates or changes may be needed after filing and how to make those updates or changes."
Evaluating the Merits of Active Management
Manning & Napier More items by Manning & Napier
9/18/2014

8 pages. "While the theoretical debate is likely to continue, in practice ... there are, in fact, several factors investors must take into consideration: Some active managers make more active decisions than others.... Overall portfolio coordination is critical for actively managed multi-asset class portfolios.... Relative Performance should be viewed within its environmental context."
Text of Eleventh Circuit Opinion Upholding Alabama City's Hike in Pension Contributions (PDF)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit More items by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
9/18/2014

"Plaintiffs argue that Gadsden firefighters who have complied with the statutory requirements possess a 'vested' right to a 6% employee contribution rate. This argument relies on the assumption that there exists an implied promise not to raise the employee contribution rate once a firefighter becomes eligible for retirement benefits. We can find neither hide nor hair of such a promise.... [T]he City did not alter plaintiffs' pension benefits; instead, it altered their pension obligations. This distinction -- between pension benefits and pension obligations -- is warranted by the well-worn difference between earned and anticipated compensation under the Contract Clause." [Taylor v. City of Gadsden, No. 13-13885 (11th Cir. Sept. 16, 2014)]
What Can Employers Do to Reduce the Cost of Obamacare?
John Goodman, in Forbes More items by John Goodman, in Forbes
9/18/2014

"Surprisingly, firms that are large enough to self-insure can satisfy the mandate without covering hospitalization! They can also avoid paying for mental health care and even emergency rooms visits. Yet insurance for small firms and individuals does have to cover these things."
ERISA at 40: Successful Middle Age or Midlife Crisis? (PDF)
Morgan Lewis More items by Morgan Lewis
9/18/2014

40 presentation slides. Topics: [1] A brief look at ERISA's achievements and midlife challenges; [2] Challenges to retirement plans; [3] Plan investments; [4] The future of employer stock in qualified plans post-Dudenhoeffer; [5] Multiemployer plans; [6] Effect of ERISA on health and welfare plans; [8] "Qualified" nonqualified plans -- a look at nonqualified plans in the ERISA era.
Handout for IRS Defined Benefit Plan Update Webinar, September 18, 2014 (PDF)
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] More items by Internal Revenue Service [IRS]
9/18/2014 [Guidance Overview]

52 presentation slides. Agenda: [1] Guidance on recent legislation: HATFA, Notice 2014-53, and Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility (CSEC) Act; [2] Other recent and pending guidance; [3] Common issues arising in examinations.
Proposed Revisions to the Social Security Special Minimum Benefit for Low Lifetime Earners
Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA] More items by Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA]
9/18/2014

"The special minimum benefit, an alternative primary insurance amount (PIA) intended to increase benefits for long-term low-wage earners, is projected to be functionally obsolete for retired workers beginning with those who will become eligible for benefits between 2017 and 2023.... This brief uses projections from Version 6 of the Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT6) microsimulation model to show how various proposed minimum benefit policy levers could affect aged beneficiaries."
Red Flags Surround CalPERS' Costly Hedge Fund Gamble
Edward "Ted" Seidle, in Forbes More items by Edward "Ted" Seidle, in Forbes
9/18/2014 [Opinion]

"Hopefully, there will be no unpleasant surprises related to pulling the money safely back into the state pension over the next year. The more public pensions that follow CalPERS' lead and run (as opposed to walk slowly) for the door, the greater the probability they'll find it's locked. Structural illiquidity (lock-ups) and illiquid investments are commonplace in hedge funds."
What's a Fair Sharing Rate for CEO Pay?
Towers Watson More items by Towers Watson
9/18/2014

"Comparing an organization's sharing rate to an industry sample or peer group can be a good indicator of whether the organization is a relative bargain in terms of providing a return on a company's investment in executive compensation. To help provide some benchmarks with regard to typical sharing rates in U.S. companies, we reviewed both earned and realizable pay for a sample of 360 chief executive officers in the S&P 1500, as well as the shareholder value created by the same companies over the three-year period from 2011 to 2013."
Taft-Hartley Trustees: Traveling Outside State Lines Requires Staying in Line with the IRS Travel Expense Reimbursement Rules
Belfint Lyons & Shuman, CPAs More items by Belfint Lyons & Shuman, CPAs
9/17/2014

"Under the actual expense method, there must be records to evidence the actual cost of travel expenses.... As an alternative to the actual expense method, the IRS standard rates can be used for meals and incidentals. The only documentation required under this method is proof of time, place, and business purpose of the travel.... Expense reimbursements for the departure and return days must be prorated under the standard meal allowance method by one of two methods."
Why Not a Minimum Pension?
Third Way More items by Third Way
9/17/2014 [Opinion]

"Not enough American workers are contributing to a retirement account. To address this gap in retirement savings, we propose a minimum pension law -- a requirement that employers contribute a minimum of 50 cents per hour worked, for every worker, into a retirement plan. A minimum pension would provide all workers with the opportunity to create their own personal wealth -- providing for a more secure retirement and a reduction of the current wealth disparity in our country. With improved access to simple investment vehicles and tax breaks that aid small businesses, employers would largely benefit too."
Valuation-Based Tactical Asset Allocation in Retirement and the Impact of Market Valuation on Declining and Rising Equity Glidepaths
Michael Kitces in Nerd's Eye View More items by Michael Kitces in Nerd's Eye View
9/17/2014

"[T]he best approach may not be to implement a rising equity glidepath or a static rebalanced portfolio at all, but instead to adjust equity exposure dynamically based on market valuation from year to year throughout retirement. While such an approach is not necessarily a very effective short-term market timing indicator, the results suggest nonetheless that it can help to minimize risk when necessary, take advantage of favorable market returns when available, and have some of the best of both worlds -- albeit with the caveat that markets can still deviate materially in the short run from what valuation alone may imply regarding long-term returns!"
States Mulling Public Retirement Plans for Private Sector Employees
Pension Risk Matters More items by Pension Risk Matters
9/17/2014 [Opinion]

"Certainly there is merit for any effort that helps to promote savings and financial independence. That said, there is a plethora of critical questions to be answered before any products are developed, let alone forced on taxpayers and employers. For one thing, who will serve as a fiduciary for each plan and what regulatory regime will prevail?"
Treasury Official Discusses Options for Improving DC Plans
PLANSPONSOR More items by PLANSPONSOR
9/17/2014

"The U.S. retirement plan landscape has moved from defined benefit to defined contribution, and now to an undefined contribution system, one Treasury official contends.... Mark Iwry, senior advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, and deputy assistant secretary of Retirement and Health Policy at the U.S. Treasury, explained that, in the age of 401(k)s and 403(b)s, rather than straight profit-sharing plans, the contribution is unknown.... 'We need to restructure the retirement system so that retirement income can be defined,' he said. 'There are things that can be done without the government passing more regulations.' "
Measuring Wellness: From Data to Insights
The Economist More items by The Economist
9/17/2014

"[A recent survey explored] the extent to which employers use health-related employee data to guide the operation and outcomes measurement of US wellness programmes.... Key findings: [1] More matters than cost effectiveness: Wellness programmes can be part of a progressive HR strategy to make the organisation an employer of choice. [2] Better data collection is needed, but what to do with it? Employers struggle to interpret the data they have and they lack sufficient insights to assess key programme objectives. [3] Leading obstacles to participation in wellness programmes are insufficient time and privacy concerns, employees say."
A Plan for Disengaged Plan Sponsors (PDF)
CAPTRUST Financial Advisors More items by CAPTRUST Financial Advisors
9/17/2014

"The dramatic growth of [target date funds] is evidence that safe harbors provided by Congress and the [DOL] can help plan sponsors do what they believe is right for those participants who cannot or will not engage in decision making. But how about helping the plan sponsors? While most business owners or managers want to provide employees (and themselves) with good investments and successful outcomes, few have the background, knowledge, and, perhaps most of all, the time to properly engage in that responsibility. What can be done to make it easier for these plan sponsors who are, by necessity if not also by aptitude, disengaged?"
Wellness Programs and the Challenge of Pinning Down ROI
ExtendHealth More items by ExtendHealth
9/17/2014

"[By] 2017 as many as 76 percent of employers could have outcome-based incentives programs in place ... Today, 18 percent of respondents already have them in place, ten percent plan to implement them in 2015, and 48 percent are considering them for either 2016 or 2017.... [L]ess than half of employers surveyed describe any specific aspect of their health and productivity programs as successful. Employers report little success in achieving goals such as lower cost, fewer employee sick days, and reduced chronic disease and lifestyle-related risks in employee and dependent populations."
The Ambushed Fiduciary: Does Authority Over a Corporate Bank Account Cross the Line?
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP More items by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
9/17/2014

"[T]his officer had nothing to do with running the plan, and ERISA contemplates that a fiduciary (other than an investment adviser) is someone with discretion or control over plan administration or plan assets. This officer had neither in the common understanding of those terms simply because he was a signer on a corporate account, though the court accepted the [DOL's] argument that the unpaid employee contributions were plan assets. In fact, since it required two signatures to act for the account, this officer was unable to unilaterally even direct the contributions." [Perez v. Geopharma, No. 8:14-cv-66-T-33T (M.D. Fla. July 25, 2014)]
Five ACA Issues Employers Should Be Following (PDF)
Epstein Becker Green More items by Epstein Becker Green
9/17/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"Employers have about three months to finalize their employer mandate compliance plans under the [ACA].... While most employers are in the final stages of planning, ... [other] issues that employers should be aware of as they move forward into 2015 and beyond [include]: [1] ACA-related litigation [2] Employer mandate reporting [3] Section 510 liability [4] Alternatives to traditional plan offerings [5] The looming Cadillac tax."
New California Paid Sick Leave Law is Nothing to Sneeze At; No Exception for Smaller Employers or Part-Timers
Greenberg Traurig More items by Greenberg Traurig
9/17/2014 [Guidance Overview]

"In addition to accounting for and providing the accrued leave, employers are required to display posters telling employees of their right to paid sick days and informing them that retaliation for requesting or using paid sick days is illegal. Employers are also required to include the amount of paid sick leave accrued on employees' itemized wage statements. Employers could face fines of up to $4,000 per day for withholding paid sick leave or violating the bill's requirements."

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