Retirement Plans Newsletter

February 15, 2017

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Webcasts and Conferences

New Parental Leave Laws in California
April 5, 2017 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

14th Annual World Health Care Congress
April 30, 2017 in DC
World Congress

2017 SPARK National Conference
June 1, 2017 in MD
SPARK Institute

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Disaster Relief Announcement 2017-04, in Response to Severe Storms in Louisiana
"[PBGC] is waiving certain penalties and extending certain deadlines in response to the Severe Storms, Tornadoes and Straight-Line Winds that began on February 7, 2017, in Louisiana.... The disaster area consists of Livingston and Orleans parishes."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

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Strategically Coping with Escalating PBGC Premiums (PDF)
12 pages. "[This article reviews] the most strategically relevant intricacies of PBGC premium calculations, with an emphasis on how the structure of the premiums shapes plan sponsor incentives. [The authors] also weigh the primary options at sponsors' disposal for lessening the sting of rising premiums. The analysis will prove most relevant for sponsors of the many plans currently impacted by the Per-Participant Cap on PBGC Variable-Rate Premiums, but is also applicable for any U.S. corporate (single-employer) defined benefit pension plan sponsors subject to PBGC premiums."
Standish

Small Companies Have a Big Retirement Problem
"The Pew Charitable Trusts asked business owners what they think [about auto-IRA programs], surveying more than 1,600 companies with from five to 250 employees. The majority liked the general idea of an auto-IRA plan, with 27 percent strongly supporting and 59 percent somewhat supporting the concept.... Just 41 percent supported the federal government sponsoring auto-IRAs, with 59 percent opposed, and just 44 percent supported state government-sponsored auto-IRAs. By contrast, 82 percent liked the idea of mutual fund companies sponsoring auto-IRAs, and 72 percent favored insurance companies running the program."
Bloomberg

Pension Finance Update, January 2017
"Pension sponsors enjoyed a modest boost in January on the strength of higher stock markets and steady interest rates during the month. Both model pension plans ... were up ... Plan A gained a bit more than 1%, while Plan B gained less than 1% ... Discount rates were basically unchanged last month. We expect most pension sponsors will use effective discount rates in the 3.8% - 4.4% range to measure pension liabilities right now."
October Three Consulting

The Real Reason Big Savers Retire Early
"[T]he impact of increased savings (and the associated reduction in spending) can actually go a long way to help bridge the gap for retirement ... [F]or those who are still younger, strategies that help to maintain (but not substantially increase lifestyle), and let future raises be directed towards savings instead, can dramatically accelerate the path towards early retirement as well by controlling the retirement savings need. In the extreme, highly frugal living allows for extreme early retirement, precisely because it facilitates both substantial savings, and doesn't necessitate much to achieve financial independence given that very frugality."
Michael Kitces in Nerd's Eye View

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[Opinion]

American Benefits Council Letter to House Leaders about State-Sponsored Retirement Plans for Private-Sector Employees
"While well intentioned, the rules could hurt retirement savings and participants by discouraging plan sponsorship and limiting protections for workers.... [Key issues include:] Undermining ERISA's protections ... Additional burdens on plans sponsors ... Less retirement savings ... Great potential for states to regulate retirement plans ... Great potential for conflicting mandates on multi-state employers ... Depriving the system of innovation."
American Benefits Council

Benefits in General

Settlement Amounts in DOL Enforcement Suits Declined Substantially in 2016
"Federal government enforcement lawsuits brought by the [DOL] -- including those centered on [ERISA] violations -- continued at an aggressive pace in 2016 but were less effective in terms of number of filings and recoveries when compared with previous years ... [C]lass action dynamics increasingly were shaped and influenced by recent rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court, including in the retirement plan arena.... [T]he monetary value of the top employment-related class action settlements declined significantly in 2016."
HR Daily Advisor

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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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