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December 3, 2012          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Financial Services, Defined Contribution Participant Wellness Specialist
for 401(k) Advisors - Arizona in AZ

Customer Service Business Analyst
for YMCA Retirement Fund in NJ, NY

Relationship Manager
for Freedom One Financial Group in MI

Legal Counsel
for Pension Rights Center in DC

Consultant, Internal Sales
for National Automobile Dealers Association in VA

Pension Administrator
for Martin Retirement Services, Inc. in DC, MD, VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

"Plan Corrections: When Good Plans Go Bad" - 19 cities, January 9-25, 2013
Nationwide on January 9, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

Overcoming Retirement Hurdles: The Financial Realities for Women
in District of Columbia on December 6, 2012 presented by Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Guidance Overview]

How to Correct a Failure to Provide a 401(k) Safe Harbor Notice
"If an employer fails to provide timely the safe harbor notice, is the failure an operational failure correctible under the IRS's self correction program (SCP)? Yes. The employer not only is failing the statutory safe harbor 401(k) requirements but is also failing to comply with the terms of the plan.... [T]he IRS, in its online newsletter and verbally at several conferences, has provided an unofficial recommendation on how to correct the error.... The method of correction depends on the whether the participant was informed about his/her eligibility to make deferrals under the plan." (SunGard Relius)


[Advert.]

Advisors & TPAs: Don't Miss the NAPA/ASPPA 401(k) SUMMIT 2013!

Sponsored by ASPPA

Join us in exciting Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace and get the latest government and regulatory updates that affect you and find out why 1,300+ retirement plan professionals return every year.


Americans Adapting New Mindset for Funding Their Retirement
"While the U.S. economy has accelerated in the last year, Americans 55 and older -- many of whom saw their retirements stung by the financial crisis -- are course-correcting their lifestyle plans, work/leisure expectations and investing strategies ... 72% of the survey respondents said the recent economic uncertainty provided a 'financial wake-up call.' And 80% of those 55 and older said they are now more cautious in their approach to investing. They are far more likely to seek financial peace of mind as a key goal versus potentially higher -- but riskier -- returns." (InsuranceNewsNet)

Income Annuity Sales Set New Quarterly Record
"Industry-wide annuity sales for the third quarter reached nearly $52.9 billion, down 4.3 percent from $55.3 billion in the previous quarter. Fixed annuity sales for the third quarter were buoyed by the strongest sales quarter ever for income annuities and steady indexed annuity sales ... Income annuity sales increased to nearly $2.4 billion in the third quarter, up 3.8 percent from about $2.3 billion in the second quarter and up 6.7 percent year over year from $2.2 billion in the third quarter of 2011." (Insured Retirement Institute)

Pension Finance Update as of November 30, 2012 (PDF)
"The election results, and ensuing concern over the looming 'fiscal cliff', made for a volatile month in securities markets in November. Stocks slid 5% in the first half of the month before bouncing back to end the month in the black. Interest rates were mixed, with Treasuries declining while corporate yields edged up. The combination produced modest good news for pension sponsors, who saw funded status improve 1%-2% during the month and are now down 1% to 3% so far in 2012." (October Three)

California Reforms End Peer Pressure to Increase Local Government Pensions
"The reform pushed through the [California] Legislature by Gov. Brown imposes a uniform lower pension formula for new hires. Unions no longer will be able to bargain for higher pensions from the current CalPERS menu of a half dozen formulas.... Instead of being based on replacement income needed for an adequate retirement, critics say, pension amounts tended to result from a market-like competition with other government employers that 'ratcheted up' benefits for no apparent reason." (CalPensions)

Toyota Makes Early Retirement Offers to 2,000 Workers
"'As we look at the next two years, a large contingent of those team members in the U.S., particularly in Kentucky, will be thinking about exiting the company due to 25 years of service,' the company said in a statement to employees on Nov. 29. 'This program offers a strategic approach to managing for this condition.'" (Bloomberg)

Target Date Funds Miss Their Mark
"New research from J.P. Morgan Asset Management shows that most target-date fund providers build strategies that overestimate participation in plans and expose investors to too much volatility as a result. Based on its survey of 280 defined contribution plans, J.P. Morgan found that participants generally contribute less to and withdraw more from their retirement accounts than industry expectations dictating asset allocation models account for." (On Wall Street)

IRA Assets Hit $5 Trillion
"IRA assets reached $5 trillion in the first quarter of 2012, according to research from Cerulli Associates. The research firm expects assets to increase 60%, to $8 trillion, in 2017. As Baby Boomers enter retirement, the next few years will be critical, said Kevin Chisholm, senior analyst at Cerulli." (PLANSPONSOR.com)

How People Save: A State-by-State Comparison
Interactive and downloadable charts and documents show key savings and spending statistics, sorted by state and region. (ING)

Retired PSCA President David Wray Discusses His Legacy
"What would you like your legacy to be? Wray [said]: That I facilitated the development of a regulatory structure so that 401(k)s could be a widely available program, and that I facilitated the educational process that transitioned the understanding in the American workforce that they could not just rely on some third party if they were going to have the kind of financial independence in retirement that they wanted. And both of those things have happened." (Employee Benefit News)

Federal Managers Lack Information About Partial Retirement Options
"Eighty-six percent of federal supervisors plan to retire within the next 15 years ... But 50 percent of respondents said they don't know if their agency offers partial retirement. Eleven percent mistakenly said their agency already offers partial retirement, although the option is not yet available." (GovExec.com)

Finding Your Lost Pension
"The best resource to help you track down a lost active pension from a company that has moved or merged with another firm is the U.S. Administration on Aging Pension Counseling and Information Program. This free program encompasses seven pension-assistance programs around the country that serve workers in 30 states." (Tacoma News Tribune)

'Annuitizing' a 401(k) Plan -- Options for Plan Sponsors and Participants
"The [DOL] is encouraging participants to think about annuities in its lifetime income project. Reportedly, the agency is working on a proposed regulation that would require that defined contribution plans include in benefit statements an illustration of the participant's benefit in annuity form." (Bloomberg BNA)

401(k) Balances and Changes Due to Market Volatility (Updated December 1, 2012)
"The EBRI/ICI Participant-Directed Retirement Plan Data Collection Project is the largest, most representative repository of information about individual 401(k) plan participant accounts ... EBRI has produced estimates of the cumulative changes in account balances -- both as a result of contributions and investment returns -- for several combinations of participant age and tenure." (EBRI)

Text of ASPPA Request for Guidance on One-Year 'Holdout' Rule for Employees Returning After Break in Service
"ASPPA recommends that the IRS issue guidance clarifying how the one-year hold-out rule can be utilized for defined contribution plans, especially profit sharing plans that include 401(k) provisions. In particular, [ASPPA] recommend[s] that the IRS permit plan sponsors to adopt either of the following approaches: 1. Returning employees (who are otherwise eligible to participate in the plan) are permitted to make elective deferrals immediately upon completion of 1,000 hours of service during the applicable eligibility computation period.... 2. Returning employees (who are otherwise eligible to participate in the plan) are permitted to begin deferring immediately following rehire." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

[Opinion]

AARP Study Says Participants Prefer Paper by (Forced) Choice
"Even though many plan sponsors and many in the retirement plan industry have a strong preference for electronic disclosure (which, by the way, helps participants retirement savings accumulation in the form of reduced fees), no rational person is suggesting that we make everyone get their plan communications online or via email....Of course, the more critical question is what happens to all that paper when it's delivered?" (Benefits Bryan Cave)

[Opinion]

Tax Subsides for 401(k)s Work, But Not for the Reasons You May Think
"For better or for worse, the employer plays a central role in the U.S. retirement system. Although there are several reasons that employers offer retirement plans and other employee benefits ..., there is little question that the large tax subsidy looms very large in their decision to use retirement plans -- as opposed to other types of benefits -- to achieve these outcomes." (Forbes)

[Opinion]

Municipal and State Pension Hemorrhage Accelerating
"According to the ... U.S. Census Bureau ... more than $1.22 trillion came in to the pension plans and more than $1.29 trillion went out instead of growing to pay guaranteed future benefits. Those promised benefits grew by about $1 trillion over the same period. Worst of all, since Census collected those data pension investments have dropped as the obligations continue to grow, according to quarterly data through June 30. That puts municipal and state governments on a collision course with hidden pension debt ... at more than $5 trillion over the next 30 years." (State Budget Solutions)

[Opinion]

Pension Deficit Disorder for Both Private and Governmental Pension Plans?
"[T]he magnitude of the pension crisis is so large in some states that instead of implementing meaningful reforms, including reforms on governance to bolster defined-benefit plans, they're looking for more federal bailouts. As states, cities, municipalities and private companies go over the pension cliff, it will place enormous pressure on budgets, reallocating resources away from public services.... [But] all this talk of pension crisis and debt crisis is way overdone. The real crisis remains a jobs crisis. Developed economies are simply not creating enough good paying jobs with benefits." (Pension Pulse)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Text of IRS Proposed Regs on Additional Medicare Tax (PDF)
"T]hese proposed regulations provide guidance for employers and individuals relating to the implementation of Additional Medicare Tax. This document also contains proposed regulations relating to the requirement to file a return reporting Additional Medicare Tax, the employer process for making adjustments of underpayments and overpayments of Additional Medicare Tax, and the employer and employee processes for filing a claim for refund for an overpayment of Additional Medicare Tax." (Internal Revenue Service)

Compensation Issues Need Attention before December 31
"As the end of 2012 approaches, various compensation-related issues may need to be addressed and corrective action taken before Dec. 31. In anticipation of widely expected increases in income, FICA and long-term capital gains tax rates starting in 2013, many companies are exploring ways to accelerate into 2012 income that would otherwise be recognized in 2013 or later, particularly for executives and other highly compensated employees." (Society for Human Resource Management)

Press Releases

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