Headlines about "Ret plans - policy"

Gathered from the web by the editors at BenefitsLink.com.
President Obama's 2015 Budget Proposes Changes to Employer Benefits
"The budget calls for new limits for tax-preferred retirement plans, caps on tax preferences for health and retirement benefits, and higher PBGC premiums. While the full proposal is unlikely to gain legislative traction, revenue-raising provisions could be attached to other legislative proposals. The budget would establish automatic payroll deduction IRAs -- a long-standing proposal from the administration and some lawmakers." (Towers Watson)

Labor-Force Participation Rates of the Population Ages 55 and Older, 2013
"The labor-force participation rate for those ages 55 and older rose throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, when it began to level off but with a small increase following the 2007-2008 economic downturn.... [A]mong those ages 65 or older, the rate increased for both males and females over that period. This upward trend in labor-force participation by older workers is likely related to workers' current need for continued access to employment-based health insurance and for more years of earnings to accumulate savings in defined contribution (401(k)-type) plans and/or to pay down debt." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])

Text of CBO Cost Estimate for PBGC Proposals in the President's 2015 Budget (PDF)
"The President's Budget proposes to give PBGC the authority to set premium rates in both the single employer and multi-employer programs, but does not specify how to allocate the premium increase across the two programs. For this estimate, CBO assumed that 75 percent of the increase would be for the single employer program and 25 percent for the multi-employer program. CBO projects that the multi-employer revolving fund will be exhausted in 2021." (Congressional Budget Office)

[Opinion] Text of Letter from American Academy of Actuaries to Congressional Leaders on on Risks of Using Pension Provisions as Revenue Offsets (PDF)
"In evaluating the current [PBGC] premium level and structure, as well as possible changes thereto, primary consideration should be given to the risks inherent in the pension system and the effects on all stakeholders. These issues are not being appropriately considered when premium-increase proposals are added to unrelated legislation as a 'pay-for' to enable other priorities. Further premium increases will increase the cost of plan sponsorship and could accelerate the rate of plan closures, plan terminations, and other sponsor efforts to transfer risks to participants, which include offering lump sum distributions to current retirees." (American Academy of Actuaries)

Program Audio and Presentations from 2014 ICI Retirement Summit: 'A Close Look at Retirement Preparedness in America'
Includes links to audio recordings (mp3) and PDF of presentations titled: [1] Americans' Retirement Resources; [2] Consumption During Retirement; [3] Social Security Financial Status: Benefit Options; [4] Medical Spending in Later Life; [5] A New World of Retirement Risks; [6] Raising Retirement Security in a Heterogeneous Population; [7] Are Retirees Falling Short? Reconciling the Conflicting Evidence; [8] A Close Look at Retirement Preparedness in America; [9] Measuring Optimal Savings Using a Life-Cycle Model of Consumption; [10] Economic Preparation for Retirement; and [11] Four Views of Retirement Preparation. (Investment Company Institute [ICI])

[Opinion] Jobs, Income Inequality and Taft-Hartley Benefit Plans (PDF)
"Necessary policy and regulatory changes include permitting the plans to participate directly in the health-care exchanges, allowing low-wage plan participants access to ACA subsidies and giving the retirement plans greater flexibility to adjust benefits and contribution rates.... Federal policy is chiefly focused on compliance issues for the plans, with little effort to encourage their growth in spite of their proven ability to train and maintain workforces. A better approach would be for the federal government to provide the financial resources necessary to address the plans' challenges, both through tax benefits to health-care plans and regulatory relief to pension plans." (Kraw Law Group, via Bloomberg Pension & Benefits Daily)

[Opinion] Wall Street Journal is Wrong About Public Pensions
"[CalPERS] relied on IMPLAN, the most widely employed and accepted regional economic analysis software for predicting economic impacts.... [They input] total benefits paid in California (more than $12.7 billion) into IMPLAN to arrive at a 2.39 economic multiplier and the 113,664 jobs created.... CalPERS benefits (retirees spending their pensions) returned $10.85 in economic activity to California for each taxpayer dollar (public funds) contributed to the system. The total economic revenue generated by CalPERS benefits was more than $30.4 billion." (CalPERS)

Marching to Retirement Without a Plan
"The [National Compensation Survey (NCS)] shows that 78 percent of full-time workers, ages 25 through 64, have some type of defined benefit or defined contribution plan available to them at work. But that's the rosiest way to slice the data. The share of employees who are covered slides to 48 percent when public-sector, often unionized, workers are stripped out of the NCS; when part-time, private-sector workers are added in; and when one counts only the share who actually participate in an employer plan when it's offered to them." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Nonprofits Caught in Pension Crossfire Between Arnold Foundation, Public Employee Unions
"[I]rate public-employee unions are pressing nonprofits such as public television, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Brookings Institution to stop taking money from the Houston-based organization. The unions argue that the Arnold Foundation is trying to sway public opinion to support replacing public pensions -- which give workers including police, firefighters and teachers guaranteed benefits at retirement -- with defined-contribution accounts similar to 401(k)s, or hybrid approaches." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)

Why Don't Lower Income Individuals Have Pensions?
"Obtaining an employer pension involves four steps: [1] having a job; [2] working for a firm with a plan; [3] being eligible for the plan; and [4] taking up the plan. For lower-income individuals, the weakest links in this chain are a lack of employment and employment with firms that do not offer a plan. Take-up rates are less of a factor, but will become increasingly important as voluntary 401(k)s continue to replace mandatory defined benefit plans. The most effective policy solution for boosting pension participation would be to provide all workers with access to a plan and automatically enroll them." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

[Opinion] ASPPA Head Brian Graff Blasts Retirement Suggestions from Capitol Hill (and Others)
"[E]veryone talks about tax reform and fiduciary regulations, but ... the bigger threat is a failure of policy makers in DC to understand that retirement policy needs to be looked at from a holistic perspective and not from a parochial view within their own committees. For example, a tax committee will look at retirement policy as a pure tax policy analysis and fail to reflect any thinking on what it means for retirement.... There's no committee with the singular responsibility to look at how to focus on pure retirement policy." (Fiduciary News)

[Opinion] Coalition to Protect Retirement Responds to Chairman Camp's Proposal
"[We] believe that it is important to distinguish a tax deferral from a tax exclusion or deduction.... [T]he draft would freeze for a decade the inflation adjustments for the limits on annual contributions to retirement plans and individual retirement accounts, which would have a significant and negative cumulative impact on individuals' ability to save for their retirement.... The discussion draft also would impose on higher earners an upfront tax on retirement contributions -- on both tax-deferred employee contributions and on employer contributions.... Some employers, particularly small business owners, may decide that the tax benefits no longer justify the expense of sponsoring a retirement plan." (The Coalition to Preserve Retirement, via Plan Sponsor Council of America)

Illinois Senate OKs 'Secure Choice' Retirement Plan
"Secure Choice would give portable savings accounts -- similar to traditional IRAs -- to all employees of businesses with 25 or more workers that have been in existence for at least two years and don't already offer retirement plans. Other businesses could participate voluntarily. Automatic withdrawals would invest three percent of workers' paychecks in their accounts each pay period, but employees could change their contribution rate or opt out at any time. Participants would also be able to select from higher-risk and lower-risk investment options." (Evanston Now)

The President's 2015 Budget and Retirement Benefits
"On March 4, 2014 the Obama Administration released its 2015 fiscal year budget. The retirement benefits-related provisions of the 2015 budget are generally similar to those in the 2014 budget.... Increase PBGC premiums... Prohibit individuals from accumulating over $3.2 million in tax-preferred retirement accounts... Reduce the value of itemized deductions and other tax preferences to 28 percent... Automatic workplace pensions... Repeal the deduction for dividends paid with respect to employer stock held by an ESOP that is sponsored by a publicly traded corporation. Eliminate stretch-IRA treatment (including 'stretch' payments under defined benefit plans).... Eliminate age 70-1/2 required minimum distributions for balances of $100,000 or less.... Give IRS authority to require electronic filing of certain employee benefit plan tax information." (October Three Consulting)

Congressman Camp's Comprehensive Tax Reform Proposal
"The additional taxes paid on pre-tax DC contributions (both the 5% phase-out and the10% surcharge) don't (apparently) add to 'tax basis'. So the participant pays tax on these contributions going in and going out. While, for employee contributions, switching to Roth contributions may be a way around paying these extra taxes on 'pre-tax' DC contributions, the Roth contribution rules do not apply to employer contributions... Employer contributions are always pre-tax. Thus, the phase-out and surcharge significantly reduce the value of DC benefits to high paid employees. For those employee-taxpayers, a DB plan would have more appeal." (October Three Consulting)

What If Global Aging Isn't the Crisis We Think It Will Be?
"[University of Edinburgh Professor John MacInnes] has argued that the [UK] government's 'age dependency ratio' needs to be discarded in favor of other measurements that take into account how the composition of UK population has changed in the last generation. Specifically, the introduction of more female workers, how fertility rates have impacted the ratio of workers to dependent citizens, and how a more highly educated workforce shortened the length of time many had to (and therefore chose to) work. Once these factors are taken into account, Professor MacInnes' analysis shows that the aged dependency ratio ... has actually improved in the UK in recent years, and will continue to do so for some time." (Forbes)

Reforming Public Pensions
"[P]ension reform raises new constitutional questions that are challenging courts to arrive at an acceptable conceptual framework for consistent interpretation and application. With ... financial, political, and legal considerations in mind, [the authors] suggest a comprehensive set of reform measures along with a managerial paradigm for political action.... [They] conclude that a comprehensive response to the public pension crisis is necessary to avert disaster and maintain plan solvency both now and in the future." (T. Leigh Anenson, Alex Slabaugh, Karen Eilers Lahey, in Yale Law & Policy Review, via SSRN)

[Opinion] ERISA Section 404(c) Turns Forty This Year; Here's a Proposal for Meaningful Reform
"Two issues -- What is a 'prudent' standard for investment selection? When is the ability to diversify deemed to be met? Regulators have no definitive answers. The result is a cacophony of well-intentioned opinions on how to comply. It is a confusing issue for some of the largest employers. And it is an absolute mental quagmire for small business 401(k) plans. Here is [a] proposal to answer both questions." (Employee Fiduciary)

[Opinion] Retirement Class Warfare Is Coming to America
"Companies and politicians know a problem, of biblical proportions, is brewing in America when tens of millions of Americans cannot afford to retire and their companies want to replace them with younger, cheaper employees. Who is to blame? Start with Wall Street that convinced thousands of companies to dump their defined [benefit] plans and transfer investment risk to their employees. You could blame the companies that went along with Wall Street. You could blame the politicians who let this happen, but most of them are retired. Or, you could blame Americans who do not have the income and discipline to save on their own. The only practical solutions are deferred retirement dates and part-time jobs. The war is coming and 78 million baby boomers will light the fire." (Paladin Research & Registry)

Federalism and Fiduciaries: A New Framework for Protecting State and Local Government Benefit Funds
"This Article proposes an alternative: a uniform state code, like other uniform state laws such as the Uniform Commercial Code, that states could adopt to govern both state and local benefit plans. The proposed uniform code is based on common statewide financing. Funds would be administered by a nonpolitical council that would employ actuaries and inspectors to protect the integrity of funds inspected and disbursed according to standards set by the code... Making the code uniform would enable adopting states to follow each others' practices and interpretation of code provisions. Moreover, with congressional approval, it would facilitate compacts among groups of states to pool benefit and emergency funds, giving them greater overall safety, ability to diversify, and leverage over financial intermediaries." (Richard E. Mendales, Charleston School of Law via SSRN)

Courts Question Law Leaving Pension Participants Ineligible for PBGC Protection
"New rulings against Catholic hospital chains on both coasts have intensified a faceoff between religiously affiliated employers and workers who are alarmed by the companies' efforts to avoid insuring or funding their pensions.... While the rulings hinge on a little-known bit of law, the debate over so-called 'church plans' could affect some of the nation's largest hospital networks and thousands of people counting on them for retirement benefits." (Associated Press)

[Opinion] Decision in Saint Peter's 'Church Plan' Case Is Victory for Workers and Retirees; Lawsuit Against Hospital Can Proceed
"This is a great victory for the 4,700 Saint Peter's employees and retirees, many of whom worked their entire careers counting on a federally guaranteed pension ... While there are still many steps to go in the legal process, the Saint Peter's decision makes plain that Congress only exempted plans established by churches from the law. This makes sense since only those plans are backed by churches." (Pension Rights Center)

[Opinion] Why Even the Supreme Court Can't Fix Your 401(k)
"[E]ven if the Supreme Court [in the upcoming case of Tibble v. Edison International] addresses the broader question of whether choosing higher-fee funds over identical lower-fee alternatives is a breach of the fiduciary duty that plan sponsors have to their participants, it still won't address the key problem with 401(k) plans: that your employer has so much control over the account in the first place.... As policymakers consider reforms to employer-sponsored retirement funds, the real question is whether employers need to be part of the retirement savings process at all." (Motley Fool)

Is Pension Coverage a Problem in the Private Sector?
"Commentators question whether pension coverage is a serious problem, indicating that 80 percent have access to a plan. But this number refers to access -- not participation -- and to full-time workers in both the public and private sectors. A review of four household surveys and one employer survey finds that only about half of all private workers (age 25-64) are participating in a plan." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Multiemployer Pension Protection Version 2.0: More Robust Legislation Needed to Address Plans' Funding Challenges
"Failure to extend the PPA would have 'detrimental effects' on both multiemployer plans that are operating under recovery programs, and those that might eventually need to do so, the [American Academy of Actuaries' Pension Practice Council] says.... It cites several challenges driving the need for a more robust successor multiemployer plan funding regime, including: [1] The exhaustion of funds that faces the most severely underfunded plans.... [2] Financial jeopardy for the PBGC's multiemployer insurance program itself, caused by the looming insolvency of many multiemployer plans and PBGC's current deficit." (American Academy of Actuaries)

The Fiscal Health of State Pension Plans: Funding Gap Continues to Grow
"This fact sheet has been revised since initially issued to reflect updated data and feedback from five states (ID, MD, NH, NJ, SD). As a result, total pension debt facing state pension plans has been revised to $915 billion from $914 billion. Pew analysis also shows that 15 states made their full contributions rather than 14." (The Pew Charitable Trusts)

Ferrigno Ready to Climb New Heights
"After 16 years fighting mostly uphill battles over retirement regulation and legislation, Edward Ferrigno is looking forward to scaling some actual mountains when he retires March 31 as vice president of Washington affairs for the Plan Sponsor Council of America.... The question is what Washington will do without him.... Many Washington retirement players credit Mr. Ferrigno with playing a central role in promoting auto enrollment, qualified default investment alternatives and higher plan contribution limits. He is also proud that 'we were able to bring sanity' to the debate of employer stock in defined contribution plans, a practice cast in a bad light following the Enron Corp. 'inferno,' he said." (Pensions & Investments)

'Before It's Too Late: A Retirement Security Newsletter from Phyllis Borzi', March 31, 2014
"The [recent EBRI] survey results were a sobering reminder that we need to redouble efforts to reach workers without a retirement plan and find ways to help them to consider options such as myRA. To help get more workers saving, EBSA educates small business owners who do not currently offer a retirement plan about the many options available and helps them determine which might be appropriate for their needs. And for those workers who are already saving, tools such as calculators can assist with considering current contribution levels and thinking about how much they will really need for what may be a long retirement." (U.S. Department of Labor)

[Opinion] Get the Facts Straight Before Dissing the Current Retirement System
"Many overlook the fact that, even in the DB heyday, workforce mobility resulted in many, many workers never qualifying for that 'large' pension check. The truth is, neither the 401(k) nor the DB plan was created to be only leg upon which a retiree would stand during retirement.... But before wringing our hands and running for cover, accompanied by shouts of 'the sky is falling,' let's consider some data that suggests that things may not be as bleak as some profess." (Todd Berghuis, for Ascensus)

The Role of Tax Incentives in Retirement Preparation (PDF)
40 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] The U.S. Retirement System & Evidence of its Success; [2] Components of the U.S. Retirement System; [3] Private Sector Pensions: Coverage and Switch from DB to DC; and [4] The Future of the U.S. Retirement System. (American Benefits Council and Investment Company Institute)

European Commission Proposes Overhaul of Pension Regulation
"The European Union's executive proposed an overhaul of the bloc's decade-old pensions regulation ... that aims to shift the burden of retirement costs away from fiscally-stressed governments ... The proposal ... seeks to boost the attractiveness of employer-funded pension schemes and ease the burden the region's aging populations will place on state-funded schemes, which remain the norm across much of the bloc." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)

ERISA Advisory Council to Look at Outsourcing and Shift to a 'Non-ERISA' World in 2014
"[The] Department of Labor ERISA Advisory Council voted Wednesday to spend 2014 investigating outsourcing best practices for plan sponsors and the shift from retirement plans covered by [ERISA] to what council members called a 'non-ERISA world.' ... [T]he 15-member council ... will also look at pharmacy plan fee disclosure." (Pensions & Investments)

Lower-Income Individuals Without Pensions: Who Misses Out and Why?
"[W]hen lower-income workers do have a pension plan at work, their eligibility and take-up rates are nearly equivalent to higher-income workers.... [T]he factors associated with a higher value for each element of pension participation are very consistent: higher education and income, previous pension history, and job characteristics including firm size, occupation, job tenure, and union status.... [P]olicies such as automatic enrollment that focus on pension eligibility or take-up are unlikely to close the pension coverage gap between older, lower-income individuals and their higher-income contemporaries; instead, greater pension participation requires more jobs and, in particular, more 'good jobs.'" (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

Politicized Climate May See Retirement Programs Under Attack
"Preston Rutledge, senior tax counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, says he believes that the current political climate is leaning more and more in favor of a nationalized retirement system -- to the detriment of a considerable private industry that has developed in the post-DB world. Rutledge says he's concerned with recent sentiment -- underlying President Obama's own MyRA proposal -- that 401(k) and other well-established tax-deferral retirement programs are increasingly perceived as yet another tax benefit for the rich, and not of benefit to average Americans." (Employee Benefit News)

[Opinion] March Is Women's History Month -- and the Winter of Our Retirement Discontent
"[F]or millions of women their retirement years are not a pretty picture at all.... What are the answers? The most important one is to increase Social Security, not cut it. Consider these facts: [1] Fifty-six percent of Social Security recipients age 62 and older are women. [2] Women make up 68 percent of recipients age 85 and older. [3] Social Security provides at least 90 percent of income for almost half of women 65 and older. [4] The average Social Security benefit for women is just over $13,000 per year. With more than 10 percent of women over the age of 65 living in poverty in 2012, cuts to Social Security would make this rate even worse." (Pension Rights Center)

Bill to Exempt Charities and Cooperatives from PPA '06 Funding Rules Clears Congress, Heads to President's Desk
"Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) that would make it easier for charities and cooperatives to continue to offer pensions to their employees has cleared both houses of Congress and will be signed into law by the President. The Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act of 2013 will ensure that charitable and cooperative associations are not swept into the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) funding rules, which would require them to divert funds from critical services and jeopardize their ability to provide pension benefits to their workers." (Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, U.S. Senate)

[Opinion] Military Retirement System Is Too Costly -- and Inequitable
"The government spent $143 billion on military health and retirement in fiscal year 2013 -- significantly more than the $110 billion spent on weapons procurement that year.... The Defense Department in March released informal recommendations to overhaul the military's pension system. Though the proposals didn't make it into the Obama administration's 2015 budget, the report begins a conversation on how to fix the flawed way the U.S. offers benefits to members of the armed services." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)

President's FY 2015 Budget Proposal Would Limit Retirement Tax Deductions, Allow PBGC to Set Risk Adjusted Premiums
"The budget request retains a proposal from last year's request that would limit the rate at which deductions and exclusions related to retirement saving reduce a taxpayer's income tax liability to 28%.... The budget request also contains proposals to establish automatic IRAs and to increase the tax credit for small employer plan start-up costs, proposals similar to those contained in earlier budget requests." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

U.S. Retirement System Ranks 19th Worldwide
"This year, the U.S. -- sixth highest in per capita income -- finished a relatively low 19th, behind several European nations, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Korea. The U.S. was ahead of Israel. The survey also found New Zealand, Iceland and South Korea improved the most in the last year." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)

A Look at Women's Retirement Security
"[C]ompared to men, women's retirement security is often less than adequate. The [DOL] reports married women tend to outlive their spouses by two years once they reach age 65 -- that's two whole years of additional savings needed to cover the cost of living expenses that some do not factor in.... [W]omen do not invest in high-risk stocks because of the volatility of the stock market.... Women, more often than men, are employed in part-time jobs and do not qualify for company retirement plans." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])

[Opinion] U.K. Budget Changes Mean a Whole New Ball-Game for Pensions
"The [U.K.] Government has not advised on how all this can be achieved nor suggested ways in which the obvious difficulties can be surmounted. Clearly there will be a key role for trustees and employers as well as providers as there will now be increased responsibility on them in this new retirement marketplace.... What does seem certain is that product proliferation is almost inevitable. While it should be welcomed for the flexibility it will bring, it could also lead to a considerable confusion." (Aon Hewitt)

British Government Shakes Up Pensions and Savings
"British savers will be given more access to their pension pots and allowed to put away more money tax-free, in what the UK finance minister said was the biggest shake up in pensions in nearly a century. George Osborne [announced] that retirees will not have to buy annuities and be allowed to take more money from their pension pots as a lump sum ... Consultants KPMG called the proposals 'a game changer for the insurance industry', which could now face lower volumes of new business in a 12 billion pound a year market as demand for their annuity products falls away." (Reuters)

Supreme Court Argument Preview: Scope of Protections for Retirement Funds in Bankruptcy Squarely at Issue
"The specific question in this case is whether those provisions exempt the $450,000 IRA that petitioner Heidi Clark inherited upon the death of her mother.... [Clark] contends that the inherited IRA remains retirement funds because they were set aside for retirement into the identified account and remain in that account.... [The trustee in Clark's bankruptcy] ... argues that funds held in an inherited IRA are not 'retirement funds' because an inherited IRA does not have the attributes of other tax-exempt retirement funds.... [T]here is no tax penalty if Ms. Clark withdraws all of the funds from the IRA immediately; all of the other funds would be subject to penalties if they were immediately liquidated.... The Justices easily could write an opinion favoring either party. So this well might be one of those cases in which the [oral] argument could tip the balance either way." [In re Clark, 714 F.3d 559 (7th Cir. 2013; cert. granted Nov. 26, 2013).] (SCOTUSblog)

Judge Denies Request for Immediate Appeal in Church Plan Case
"The judge in Rollins v. Dignity Health has denied the hospital's request to immediately appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals the issue of whether the pension plan qualifies for the church plan exemption to ERISA ... It should mean that the case now moves forward with discovery (i.e. exchange of documents, depositions, etc...) barring any other procedural moves by the defendants." [Rollins v. Dignity Health, No. 13-cv-01450-TEH (N.D. Cal. Mar. 17, 2014)] (FRA PlanTools, LLC)

Proposed Lifetime Pension Limits: Less Than Meets the Eye
"Young and middle-aged workers already face stricter limits on retirement saving than older workers. Current compensation and contribution limits are already keeping most workers from accumulating excessive retirement balances. The limits could inflict significant damage on many workers whose retirement savings were not a concern in the first place." (Towers Watson)

Retirement Readiness Improves in 2014, But Varies by Income and 401(k) Access
"[E]ligibility for participation in an employer-sponsored 401(k)-type plan remains one of the most important factors for retirement income adequacy. Gen Xers in the lowest-income quartile with 20 or more years of future eligibility in a defined contribution plan are half as likely to run short of money as those with no years of future eligibility[.]" (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Quinn Curtis Reveals True Intent of the Curtis/Ayres 401(k) Fee Paper
"[A]bout half of the fees investors are paying in excess of index funds are a result of investor choices that deviate from an optimally diversified portfolio. The law treats those investor choices differently from the construction of the plan menu, so it's helpful to make that distinction. Second, we show that there are a lot of individual funds in plan menus that are much more expensive than funds of identical style and active or passive management strategy and don't add much in terms of investors' ability to diversify. These are the dominated funds, and we find them in about half of the plans." (Fiduciary News)

Retirement Confidence Rebounds -- for Those with Retirement Plans
"The percentage of workers confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, at record lows between 2009 and 2013, increased in 2014.... Nearly half of workers without a retirement plan were not at all confident about their financial security in retirement, compared with only about 1 in 10 with a plan.... 90 percent of workers participating in a retirement plan had saved for retirement, compared with just 1 in 5 of those without a retirement plan.... 68 percent with household income of less than $35,000 a year have savings of less than $1,000. Of those who have saved for retirement, only 38 percent report savings of less than $25,000." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])

The State of U.S. Retirement Security: Can the Middle Class Afford to Retire?
"In theory, the shift from defined-benefit pensions to defined-contribution plans could have broadened access by making it easier for employers to offer retirement benefits. However, participation in employer-based plans, which peaked at just over half (52 percent) of prime-age wage and salary workers in 2000, fell to 44 percent in 2012. This occurred even though the baby boomers were entering their 50s and early 60s, when participation rates tend to be high[.]" (Monique Morrissey, for Economic Policy Institute)

Rollovers to IRAs from Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans: Emerging Legal and Regulatory Standards (PDF)
"A number of recent developments suggest that federal regulators and policy makers may be engaged in a reassessment of the IRA rollover phenomenon....[S]everal announcements seem to signal a regulatory interest in either imposing new duties on financial intermediaries when interacting with distribution-eligible plan participants or in reinterpreting existing duties and standards of care in new ways as a means of influencing and reconfiguring the rollover discussion." (Groom Law Group via BNA Pension and Benefits Daily)

Testimony of American Academy of Actuaries to Senate Subcommittee Hearing, 'The State of U.S. Retirement Security: Can the Middle Class Afford to Retire? ' (PDF)
"Financial preparation for retirement and the subsequent managing of finances in retirement involve many steps: setting aside sufficient funds; prudently managing investments before retirement; thoughtfully selecting a retirement date; establishing and following a retirement budget; managing investments in retirement, including home ownership; and securing retirement income for a lifetime, however long that might be. Policymakers and financial experts have generally given attention to these issues, but the last one -- assuring a lifetime income -- needs additional examination[.]" (American Academy of Actuaries)

Pension Debt Strains Chicago's Finances, Threatens Retiree Security
"Based on current funding practices and assuming steady market returns of 7.5 and 8 percent per year, one or more of the city's pension plans are projected to be teetering on the verge of insolvency within the next eight years ... At the same time, Chicago's annual pension contributions are scheduled to grow by up to 250 percent from $467 million in 2014 to $1.2 billion in 2015 as a result of recent statutory requirements to ramp up pension payments and improve the funding status of the city's pensions." (Laura and John Arnold Foundation)

[Opinion] Testimony of Pension Rights Center to Connecticut General Assembly Committee Advocating Proposed State-Sponsored Retirement Plan for Low-Income Private Sector Workers
"As Connecticut studies the feasibility of creating a new system for private sector workers we would urge you to weigh that new system against our principles.... Universal Coverage.... Secure Retirement.... Adequate Income.... Shared Responsibility... Required Contributions.... Pooled Assets... Lifetime Payouts." (Pension Rights Center)

The Case of the Missing Retirement Income
"[If] once or twice a year you take some money from your retirement account, put it into a transaction checking or savings account, and then spend it, either immediately or gradually, this spending is not considered retirement income by the Census Bureau. If it's not a regular payment, it's not retirement income.... The old notion of income, as a monthly payment, is giving way to other forms of income, including ad hoc or aperiodic withdrawals from retirement accounts. We all need to adjust our thinking. And on a practical level, for plans seeking to retain participants in the post-retirement phase, modifying plan rules to allow ad hoc withdrawals (and not just systematic payments) by participants is a first and obvious step." (Vanguard)

Obama Budget Includes MyRAs, Auto IRAs; Would Limit Retirement Savings Tax Breaks
"The tax provisions ... would cap how much Americans could accumulate in tax-preferred retirement savings, putting a ceiling of about $200,000 on the annual retirement income that could be generated by such savings.... The budget also addressed Social Security, urging the House to pass an immigration overhaul that budget documents said would reduce the program's shortfall ... by adding younger workers to the workforce." (Bloomberg BNA)

[Opinion] Washington: Put Your (Retirement) Money Where Your Mouth Is
"The Administration's 'myRA' looks to provide a new option for Americans who want to put money aside for retirement, but who might not have access to a retirement plan through their workplace.... But creating new opportunities will do little good if Washington limits the very incentives that have created the vibrant retirement savings system we have today.... President Obama again is proposing to cap the incentives for retirement savings that have been central to the success of employer-provided retirement plans." (Investment Company Institute [ICI])

ERISA Advisory Council to Meet on March 26
"The purpose of the open meeting, which will run from 1:30 p.m. to approximately 4:30 p. m. Eastern Standard Time, is to welcome the new members, introduce the Council Chair and Vice Chair, receive an update from the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and determine the topics to be addressed by the Council in 2014. Organizations or members of the public wishing to submit a written statement may do so ... on or before March 18, 2014[.]" (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Expanding Retirement Savings Opportunities
"With regard to extending coverage to the un-covered ... Can low-paid employees afford to save, and, if they can, how can they be persuaded to do so? Should coverage be extended within the current employer-mediated system? Should new retirement savings be invested through current institutions (most obviously, mutual funds) or through an alternative?" (October Three Consulting)

Notice to Financial Institutions: Solicitation of Financial Agent for Department of the Treasury Retirement Savings Bond Program (myRAs) (PDF)
"The United States Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service ('Fiscal Service'), is requesting applications from Financial Institutions ('FIs') interested in becoming a Financial Agent of the United States to support the issuance of a new type of retirement savings bond. Fiscal Service plans to designate one Financial Agent to support all aspects of the bond program. The bonds will be made available to the public through Treasury-branded Roth IRAs ('myRAs') maintained by the Financial Agent.... Fiscal Service plans to hold an information session in March for eligible FIs interested in providing these services and requests that FIs who would like to be invited to the information session notify Fiscal Service no later than ... Friday, March 7 of their interest in attending. Applications are due by ... March 31, 2014. Eligible FIs are limited to financial institutions that meet the requirements set forth in 31 C.F.R. Part 202." (U.S.Treasury Department, via The SPARK Institute)

California Mayors Fight Proposed Grant of Authority to Slow Down Future Pension Accruals
"The statewide measure, offered by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, would give local officials authority to reduce future pension benefits for municipal employees. Current and former mayors representing 17 California cities are among leaders who oppose his proposal, while three mayors favor it. The measure probably won't make it onto the ballot this November because Reed is suing the state over the wording of its summary." (Bloomberg)


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