Retirement Plans Newsletter

February 7, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

How to Communicate Stock Value to ESOP Participants
February 22, 2017 WEBCAST
Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Emerging Trends in the Pharmacy Benefit Marketplace
March 9, 2017 WEBCAST
New England Employee Benefits Council

Retirement Plans: Steering the Fiduciary Ship
March 14, 2017 in PA
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Retirement Industry Update: Experience the Power of 3
April 18, 2017 in LA
Simoneaux Consulting Services

Health Care Management Conference
May 1, 2017 in LA
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

2017 NIPA Annual Forum & Expo
May 21, 2017 in NV
NIPA [National Institute of Pension Administrators]

EBIA Employee Benefits Seminar
June 20, 2017 in IL
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Rev. Rul. 2017-05: Covered Compensation Tables for the 2017 Plan Year (PDF)
"[Treasury regulations define] covered compensation for an employee as the average (without indexing) of the taxable wage bases in effect for each calendar year during the 35-year period ending with the last day of the calendar year in which the employee attains (or will attain) social security retirement age.... For purposes of determining covered compensation for the 2017 year, the taxable wage base is $127,200.... [T]ables provide covered compensation for 2017."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Advert.]

ASC's DB System: Developed for Actuaries & Non-Actuaries

Sponsored by ASC

Easily administer traditional, multiple formula, cash balance and DC/DB combo plans with ASC's DB System. Learn more!


[Guidance Overview]

Remedial Amendment Period for 403(b) Plans Ends March 31, 2020
"Although the IRS has not yet issued any determination letters for pre-approved 403(b) plans, it is expected that it will do so soon ... The IRS has never offered a program for individually-designed 403(b) plans to obtain determination letters that plan documents are in compliance with the 403(b) Plan Rules, and has discontinued its regular determination letter program for individually-designed qualified plans, such as pension and 401(k) plans. Accordingly, it is unlikely that plan sponsors will be able to obtain IRS approval that individually-designed 403(b) plans are in compliance with the 403(b) Plan Rules."
Kilpatrick Townsend

DOL Rule Delay Could Come Today or Tomorrow
"The rule -- which extends a fiduciary duty to anyone working with retirement funds -- will apply to advisors and agents on April 10.This is known as its 'applicability date.' The administration's legal team convinced the White House to back off challenging the definitions of 'effective' and 'applicability.' Instead, the DOL is expected to publish a delay order in the Federal Register either Tuesday or Wednesday."
InsuranceNewsNet.com

Trump Directs Reexamination of the Fiduciary Rule: Next Steps for Employers
"Employers/benefits committees should [1] evaluate whether they will require advisors to comply with the requirements of the rule despite the memorandum.... [2] reach out to their advisors/consultants and confirm whether they intend to proceed with implementing changes to comply with the rule.... [3] continue to monitor developments in this area from a fiduciary risk perspective."
Holland & Hart LLP

'But Our Vendor Handles Everything -- How Can We Still Have Fiduciary Liability?'
"If a vendor will not agree to assume fiduciary liability for its services to a plan, the employer will retain fiduciary liability for any errors or failures the vendor causes.... As a result, the employer will need to monitor the vendor's performance on an ongoing basis. Even if a service provider agrees to assume fiduciary liability for its provision of services, the employer is not being released from its fiduciary duty to monitor the provider."
Foley & Lardner LLP

[Advert.]

Online Learning Course: 401(k) Plan Structure

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

This course looks at the many aspects to consider when structuring a 401(k) plan. Topics include salary deferral limits and catch-up contributions, matching and profit-sharing contributions, nondiscrimination testing and safe harbors.


Fiduciary Rule Review Gets Mixed Reaction in Plan Sponsor World
"The retirement plan advice industry has already made changes with the times, so large employers appear to be largely unconcerned with President Donald Trump's decision to review the [DOL's] fiduciary rule.... However, the picture is a bit muddier with small employers. Some had expressed concerns that the rule would raise costs and therefore hinder their ability to provide plans."
Bloomberg BNA

Robo Advisers' Response to Trump's Fiduciary Order: We Can't Be Stopped
"During debate over the rule, industry analysts predicted that robo advisers would get a windfall from its enactment, picking up smaller accounts deemed by large firms and RIAs too burdensome to service. Though that scenario is now in doubt, Trump's action on the rule does not hurt digital advice firms, even if it eventually leads to a complete replacement of the regulation[.]"
Financial Planning

How to Avoid a DOL Audit of Your Company's 401(k) Plan
"[1] Always respond to employee inquiries in a timely way ... [2] Improve employee communication ... [3] Fix your plan -- now ... [4] Conduct a 'mock' DOL 401k audit ... [5] Make sure your 5500 is filed correctly ... [6] Don't be late with contribution submissions."
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants

Taking Phased Retirement Options to the Next Level
"Employers have long developed ad hoc arrangements with some older workers who, approaching the end of their careers, are looking to phase into retirement instead of making an abrupt break.... Less clear is whether employers are willing to make such arrangements more widely available to workers throughout their organizations. A study of 14,400 active and 1,600 retired employees ... found that: 55 percent of employees age 55 and older want to retire gradually. Only 27 percent say that their employers offer the ability to wind down by shifting to part-time work as they age."
Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM]

[Opinion]

Letter to Congressman Renacci Supporting Proposed Legislation to Move PBGC Premiums Off-Budget
"We believe that PBGC premiums should be increased only as needed to ensure retirement benefits are adequately protected.... This is not only an issue of protecting American's retirement benefits; it is also an issue of good governance. PBGC premiums are only used by the PBGC for their intended purpose. The premiums cannot be used to pay for other programs, although the increases have been used to 'pay' for other unrelated programs over the years. This double-counting of funds is simply an accounting gimmick and does nothing to address the deficits we face."
The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries, and five other industry and employer organizations

[Opinion]

Industry Organizations Endorse DTCC Retirement Plan Reporting Solution to Standardize and Report Plan Level Data Across the Industry (PDF)
"[The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation's (DTCC) Retirement Plan Reporting (RPR)] delivers a centralized and standardized solution for reporting retirement plan level information between mutual fund industry participants. RPR brings efficiency, automation, and security to the data exchange process as well as provides standard formats to accommodate the information flow among business partners, providing increased transparency for 5500 Schedule C, 408(b)(2), 404(a)(5) compliance requirements, general supervision and sales reporting needs."
The SPARK Institute, American Retirement Association [ARA], and Investment Company Institute [ICI]

Benefits in General

Survey Results: Total Rewards Programs and Practices
71 pages. "This report presents the results of an August 2016 survey ... to measure the use of total rewards programs in U.S., Canadian and international companies. The survey focused on the prevalence of 176 different total rewards programs and practices in today's workplace. This report is a robust resource for those benchmarking organizational use of total rewards programs and practices.... Data is reported in aggregate with breakdowns by major industry, sector and size, as well as regrettable turnover and self-reported employee engagement survey results."
WorldatWork

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Official Guidance]

Text of Acting SEC Chairman's Request for Public Comments on Pay Ratio Rule
"[It] is my understanding that some issuers have begun to encounter unanticipated compliance difficulties that may hinder them in meeting the reporting deadline. In order to better understand the nature of these difficulties, I am seeking public input on any unexpected challenges that issuers have experienced as they prepare for compliance with the rule and whether relief is needed. I welcome and encourage the submission of detailed comments, and request that any comments be submitted within the next 45 days."
Acting Chairman Michael S. Piwowar, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
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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