Retirement Plans Newsletter

January 30, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Director of Benefits Operations and Compliance
UFCW Unions and Employers Benefits Administration, LLC
in GA

Trading & Reconciliation Supervisor
Aspire Financial Services LLC
in FL

Plan Client Relations Manager/Analyst
Alliance Benefit Group of Houston, Inc. (ABG)
in TX

Defined Contribution Compliance Analyst
Transamerica
in NY

Defined Benefit Administrator (Remote)
TPA Firm
Telecommute

401K Plan Administrator & Manager
Progressive Growing TPA Firm
in MI

Senior Retirement Plan Administrator
Professional Capital Services
in PA

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Webcasts and Conferences

HIPAA and How It Applies to You
February 8, 2017 WEBCAST
Winston & Strawn

Health and Retirement Policy Under the Trump Administration and 115th Congress: The Next Chapter or a New Book?
February 22, 2017 WEBCAST
Conduent

ERISA Litigation National Institute
June 7, 2017 in IL
American Bar Association [ABA]

Advanced ERISA Benefit Claims Litigation
June 9, 2017 WEBCAST
American Bar Association [ABA]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Letter Authorizing Suspension of Benefits by Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund (PDF)
"Of the 936 votes cast, 616 voted in favor of the benefit suspension, and 320 voted against the benefit suspension.... [T]he Plan sponsor must make an annual determination that all reasonable measures to avoid insolvency have been and continue to be taken, and that the Plan is projected to become insolvent unless the suspension continues.... If the Plan fails to satisfy the annual plan sponsor determination requirement for a plan year ... the suspension of benefits will cease to be in effect beginning as of the first day of the next plan year."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

[Advert.]

P&I DC East Conference | Miami | March 19-20

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Join leading executives who manage 401(k), 403(b), 457 and TSP plans at DC East. You'll learn how other plan sponsors analyze, develop, implement and measure programs for their participants, so you can improve your own plan.


[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Final Regs: Annual Adjustment of Civil Penalties
"This rule adjusts as required by law the maximum civil penalties that PBGC may assess under sections 4071 and 4302 of ERISA. The new maximum amounts are $2,097 for section 4071 penalties and $279 for section 4302 penalties."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Long-Awaited Guidance on Initial 403(b) Plan Remedial Amendment Period (PDF)
"The IRS first announced that it would be issuing guidance on the remedial amendment period for 403(b) plans in Revenue Procedure 2013-22, where it set forth the procedures for requesting and issuing opinion and advisory letters for pre-approved 403(b) plans. No such opinions or advisory letters have been issued yet, but some applicants have been informed that the review of their plans has been completed, and informal comments from IRS suggest they should start to come out in a few months."
Groom Law Group

Text of Amicus Brief of U.S. to Supreme Court on Definition of Church Plan (PDF)
67 pages. "[T]he agencies responsible for administering ERISA's complex regulatory scheme have consistently concluded that such a plan need not be initially established by a church to qualify as exempt. That longstanding interpretation is correct. [1] The agencies' interpretation is the natural reading of the statutory text.... [2] The context, history, and purpose of the MPPAA amendments reinforce the natural reading of the text.... [3] If there were any doubt about the best interpretation of the church-plan definition, it would be resolved by the position adopted and consistently applied by the IRS, DOL, and PBGC.... [4] Neither respondents nor the courts of appeals identified any sound reason to upset decades of reliance interests by imposing a requirement that a church plan be initially 'established' by a church." [Dignity Health v. Rollins, No. 16-258 (cert. pet. granted Dec. 3, 2016)]
U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]; Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]; U.S. Department of the Treasury; and U.S. Department of Justice

Feds Break Silence, Back Hospitals in Battle Over Church Plan Status
"Five federal agencies have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that religiously affiliated hospitals can run pension plans exempt from federal law ... If the Supreme Court rules that these pension plans are subject to ERISA after being run as ERISA-exempt for years, the agencies charged with pension oversight will need to be on the same page in formulating a response ... This coordinated amicus brief suggests that those conversations already may be underway ... The brief is noteworthy for being a rare example of the DOL supporting an employer in a dispute over workers' pension benefits."
Bloomberg BNA

[Advert.]

P&I DC East Conference | Miami | March 19-20

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Join leading executives who manage 401(k), 403(b), 457 and TSP plans at DC East. You'll learn how other plan sponsors analyze, develop, implement and measure programs for their participants, so you can improve your own plan.


PBGC Premiums in Their Historical Context -- Ouch!
"The impact of recent premium increases is clear in the PBGC's latest annual report ... Commenting on it in a year-end review, Michael Moran of Goldman Sachs noted that while PBGC flat rate premium income jumped by 12% in 2016, variable-rate premium (VRP) income leapt up by 81%. Startling as that observation is, it perhaps does not do justice to just how big the increases are."
Russell Investments

Window for Fixing Current 403(b) Documents to Close in 2020 (PDF)
"IRS will allow 403(b) plan sponsors until March 31, 2020 to correct document defects and/or adopt a pre-approved plan restatement ... The remedial amendment period is available only if an employer adopted a written plan intended to satisfy the 403(b) requirements on or before January 1, 2010, or the plan's effective date, if later (the first day of the plan's remedial amendment period)."
Conduent

A Guide to Commonly Used Investment Vehicles (PDF)
21 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] Overview of the current landscape: Vehicle allocations by plan size, 2013, and Vehicle allocations by year, 2009-2013; [2] Definitions; [3] Common misperceptions; [4] Comparative table; [5] Considerations for decision-making; [6] Mutual funds; [7] Collective investment trusts; [8] Separate accounts; [9] Fund of funds; and [10] Service provider requirements.
Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association [DCIIA]

[Opinion]

Iron Workers Local 17 Becomes First Plan to Cut Retiree Pensions
" 'These cuts are particularly unfair and cruel to 336 of the Fund's retirees who labored for decades constructing Cleveland's skyscrapers,' said Karen Ferguson, director of the Pension Rights Center. 'It is these retirees who will be affected the most -- and will see their pensions cut by 30 to 60 percent.' The plan's participants voted by a 2-to-1 margin in favor of the cuts. This is not surprising since four-fifths of the plan's participants stand to lose little or nothing as a result of the cuts. More than half of the Fund's 1,938 participants did not vote."
Pension Rights Center

[Opinion]

The City That Never Sleeps Should Take a Nap
"The city sponsored plan -- called the Empire City 401(k) -- is being billed as a 'cost-effective' 401(k) product that 'takes advantage of recent changes in federal law allowing multiple employers who are unaffiliated to join a single, publicly sponsored 401(k) plan.' In fact, there have been no changes in federal law. The only change is the [DOL] perversely interpreting ERISA in a nakedly political way to facilitate a government takeover of the retirement plan business."
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA]

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice ATL-2017-04, for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding in Mississippi
"Victims of the severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that took place beginning on January 20, 2017, in parts of Mississippi, may qualify for tax relief from the [IRS].... Individuals who reside or have a business in Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale, and Perry Counties may qualify for tax relief.... This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns, (that were required to be filed on or after January 20, 2017, and before May 31, 2017) in the manner described in section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2017 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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