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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

January 21, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Regional Sales Consultant
for Third Party Administration Firm in NC

Retirement Plan Consultant
for Stalker and Associates, Inc. in PA

Associate Vice President, Retirement Plan Consulting
for United Retirement Plan Consultants in CT

Project Manager, Benefits Administration
for Publix Super Markets, Inc. in FL

Installation or Compliance Specialist
for Sunwest Pensions in AZ

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Webcasts and Conferences

New Final Regulations on HIPAA Privacy and Security: HITECH, Breach Notification, Individual Rights, and More
Nationwide on February 28, 2013 presented by Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Keeping Current: What's New with EPCRS and other Washington Updates
Nationwide on January 24, 2013 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

SafeHarbor 401(k) Plans – An Advanced Look
Nationwide on February 19, 2013 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Automatic Enrollment - Is There Strength in Numbers?
Nationwide on March 14, 2013 presented by National Institute of Pension Administrators

Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Seminar
in Louisiana on March 13, 2013 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Request for Comments on Proposed Survey About Pension Benefit Statements
"Written comments must be submitted ... on or before March 25, 2013.... The Department is planning to survey participants in an existing household Internet panel called the American Life Panel (ALP) and conduct four focus groups consisting of non-panel members to explore whether information presented in retirement plan benefit statements can be presented in a manner that is understandable for participants and beneficiaries and makes them better prepared for retirement." (U.S. Department of Labor)


[Advert.]

Register Today – Defined Contribution Conference – Miami, March 10-12

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Free registration for qualified plan sponsors. Sponsored by Pensions & Investments - learn how to develop a defined contribution plan that helps ensure your participants lifetime income.


[Guidance Overview]

Roth Conversion Opportunities Expand But Practical Questions Remain
"It is likely that participants (and their financial planners) will soon start asking about the opportunity to make expanded Roth conversions. And indeed, converting to a Roth when the participant is in a lower tax bracket can make sense. But since this is a permanent addition to the Code, not a limited window of opportunity, plan sponsors can take the time to consider some practical issues first or wait for further guidance." (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

Investment Fiduciaries Shouldn't Jump the Gun to Divest Firearm Stocks
"[F]irearms manufacturers Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc. have had strong returns, beating the broader S&P 500. ... [E]mployers seeking to replace their firearms stocks or other controversial holdings need to consider the rationale for the switch, such as whether the fiduciary is making a prudent call that the divestment is financially safer[.]" (Investment News; free registration required)

AT&T Lowers Assumed Pension Plan Rate of Return to 7.75%
"AT&T Inc. ... [has] lowered its expected long-term rate of return on its $45.9 billion pension plan to 7.75%, citing 'continued uncertainty' for the stock market and the U.S. economy. [The company] also reduced its assumed discount rate to 4.3% as of Dec. 31, resulting in an actuarial loss of about $12 billion ... That was offset in part by about $1.9 billion in assets gains and $100 million from other gains and actuarial assumptions." (Pensions & Investments)

After Scary Start, Year Ends Well for World's Pension Funds
"U.S. pension funds returned an estimated 12.4% on average for the year ended Dec. 31, compared with 1.4% the previous year ... In Japan, the world's second largest pension market, the estimated average pension fund investment return was 10% in 2012 compared with -2.7% in 2011 ... U.K. pension funds benefited from an average 8% estimated return in the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, compared with 3.6% the previous year[.]" (Pensions & Investments)


[Advert.]

IRS Phone Forum Feb. 21 - Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System Changes

Sponsored by Internal Revenue Service

Rev. Proc. 2013-12 changed the IRS correction programs that plan sponsors and practitioners can use to fix mistakes in retirement plans, effective immediately. The changes will be discussed by Janet Mak, Manager of EP Voluntary Compliance, and Paul C. Hogan, EP Voluntary Compliance Program Coordinator. Preregistration required. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions in advance.


Reducing Risk, Managing Costs, and Increasing Employee Satisfaction in 401(k) Plans (PDF)
"Unfortunately, recordkeepers seldom, if ever, provide clients with short, succinct analyses of the plan that show whether or not the fiduciaries' decisions and the providers' products and services are actually helping employees achieve secure retirements. 401(k) fiduciaries must recognize that their responsibilities have likely become much more demanding." (Investment Horizons, Inc.)

The Return of Qualified Charitable Distributions
"One special rule allows a QCD to be taken this month and have it count for 2012.... The second special rule ... allows clients who took a 'regular' IRA distribution last month to treat that distribution as a QCD for 2012. To do so, clients must act quickly, as this is a limited-time offer that requires action by Jan. 31." (Investment News; free registration required)

Switching Jobs? Ditch Your 401(k)
"When changing plan offerings, administrators routinely chase returns and do not improve performance. In fact, about the best thing [a recent] study could say for employers' fund-picking ability was that the index-lagging funds they chose performed 'better than comparable, randomly selected funds'.... To make matters worse, the inability of administrators to properly select funds is then compounded by plan participants' tendency to follow investment strategies that add no value, and to chase returns." (MarketWatch.com)

Beginner's Guide to Annuities
"A recent study released by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), showed that the 3rd quarter of 2012 set a new all-time record for annuity sales. This could be a result of lingering effects of the 2008 crash leading retirement investors to the idea of financial security." (Smart401k.com)

As States Struggle to Manage Their Pension Liabilities, Oregon Wants to Take Its Fund Private
"[The] Oregon ... legislature is now weighing a bill that will turn the Oregon Investment Council, which manages the state's investment funds -- including its pension scheme -- into a $74-billion investment corporation with independent governance, thereby placing it beyond the state legislature's budgetary control. The Oregon state Treasurer says it's a necessary move. After some bad calls, Oregon's current pension system is more than $16 billion in the hole," (Quartz)

[Opinion]

Text of Remarks by SEC Chairman Elisse Walter at Investor Advisory Committee Meeting
"[W]hen I think about the SEC's role at a time like this, I like to think of my very dear -- if completely imaginary -- Aunt Millie, a retail investor with a modest portfolio, looking towards a secure retirement .., Aunt Millie is no hedge fund manager. So when she sits down with her financial professional, and the talk turns to ETFs and target date funds, crowdfunding or her professional's fees, I want the SEC's presence to be felt there in that office -- whether or not she even knows anything about the SEC ... I want the SEC to be there looking out for her, helping her make sense of the environment in which she is investing her future security." (Securities and Exchange Commission)

[Opinion]

Pension Time Bombs Begin to Explode
"State government's pension costs (for state employees and half of school employees' pensions) are expected to rise by more than $2.5 billion over the next four years -- or $523 annually per household. That is, many families will pay more than $1,000 in additional taxes for pension debt we accumulated over the past decade, and get nothing more for their money." (phillyBurbs.com)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Statements Due Very Soon to Participants Who Exercised Incentive Stock Options in 2012 or Transferred Shares Acquired under an Employee Stock Purchase Plan in 2012
"The January 31, 2013, deadline is approaching for an employer to provide statements to employees or former employees who exercised incentive stock options in 2012 or who first transferred legal title to shares acquired under an employee stock purchase plan with an option price between 85 percent and 100 percent of fair market value of the stock. In addition, the employer must file IRS Forms 3921 and 3922 with the IRS by February 28, 2013." (Haynes and Boone, LLP)

Press Releases

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Holly Horton, Business Manager <hollyhorton@benefitslink.com>

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