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401(k) plans

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Why an Emergency Savings Account Should Be Your Next Employee Benefit
"One way to avoid taxation issues with emergency savings accounts is to establish a deemed Roth IRA account, which would be funded by after-tax contributions. Called a sidecar, money is deferred into an account until a certain amount is reached, called the buffer. Once that point occurs, the deferrals can switch into the retirement plan. Since this is still a relatively untested approach, there are a few hurdles to cross." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])
What is a Solo 401(k) Plan?
"In addition to the Form 5500 exemption, because the plan is ONLY covering the owner(s) of the business, it can avoid the normal compliance testing that would apply to a 401(k) plan. For this reason, some financial institutions and recordkeepers have drafted a stripped-down version of a plan document that may be used by a one-participant plan, which only contains language that applies to a plan that is not subject to Title I of ERISA." (Retirement Management Services, LLC)
[Guidance Overview] Congress Eases Restrictions on Hardship Withdrawals
"None of these changes are mandatory. And they won't apply to a plan unless the plan is amended to reflect them.... [O]ne could argue that facilitating such withdrawals is actually bad for participants -- because it undermines their retirement readiness.... [S]ponsors and administrators of these plans may want to consider whether these new rules simplify plan administration." (Spencer Fane)
Corrections and Substantive Fixes Needed with Respect to Employee Benefit Changes Made by the 2017 Tax Act
"[T]he 2017 Act limits the personal casualty loss itemized deduction for property losses (not used in connection with a trade or business or transaction entered into for profit) to apply only to losses incurred as a result of federally-declared disasters.... Another possible error in drafting involves distributions from retirement plans that are used to pay for expenses for qualified higher education.... As the rules are currently written, it is unclear whether public universities are included in the definition [of an applicable tax-exempt organization], and therefore subject to the excise tax on excess executive compensation under Section 4960." (Bloomberg BNA)
401(k) Investment Menu Best Practices
"Keep it simple ... Consider ESG factors ... Offer only one fund per asset class.... Provide more fixed income choices ... Offer index options ... Always use the cheapest share class ... Keep diversification in mind ... Select a QDIA ... Elect to comply with section 404(c) ... Investigate using CITs ... Consider passively managed TDFs ... Don't use funds that require synthetic benchmarks ... Don't white label your investment funds." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
[Guidance Overview] Recent Legislation Impacts Retirement Plans
"Beginning with distributions occurring on or after January 1, 2018, employees will have until the due date of their tax return (including extensions) to roll over a loan that has been offset.... [T]his change only applies to loans that are being distributed. If a loan goes into default because no loan payment has been made within the default cure period ... the loan will be treated as a taxable distribution to the participant." (Retirement Management Services, LLC)
EBSA Private Pension Plan Bulletin: Abstract of 2015 Form 5500 Annual Reports (PDF)
68 pages; February 2018. "The total number of pension plans grew again in 2015 to approximately 694,000 plans, a 1.3 percent increase over 2014.... [T]he number of DB plans increased in 2015 by 1.8 percent.... The number of 401(k) type plans increased yet again in 2015 by 2.5 percent, from 534,000 to 547,000. There were 65.3 million active participants in 401(k) type plans.... [T]he total amount of assets held by pension plans decreased for the first time since 2008, by 1.8 percent from $8.3 trillion to $8.2 trillion." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
How to Think About Your 401(k) Vesting Schedule
"Your plan's vesting schedule provides another way to tailor employee benefits to produce the combination of incentives and rewards that best fit your business.... If you are competing heavily for workers, you may want to consider your employer contribution as a hiring incentive and your vesting schedule as an incentive to remain with the company." (ForUsAll)
New Tax Law Creates Uncertainty for Some Hardship Distributions
"One option is to deny a hardship request for repair to a primary residence if the loss occurs on or after January 1, 2018 and is outside of a federally declared disaster area. To account for this change, a plan may need to modify the instructions provided as part of hardship request materials as well as the guidelines used for reviewing and approving hardship requests. Alternatively, a plan could opt to ignore the section 165 amendment -- and maintain the status quo -- when determining hardship eligibility, unless and until the IRS issues guidance to the contrary." (Conduent)
Making Sure Your Plan's 401(k) and 403(b) Fees Are 'Necessary' and 'Reasonable'
"You should create a master list of items you want to see addressed by each respondent. This can, essentially, be the items in your RFP. You'll want to create a fairly detailed spreadsheet to analyze the fee component of the proposals. [Your list should include] at least the following items[.]" (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)
Budget Bill Affects Retirement Plans and Retirees -- Plan Amendments Expected
"[T]he Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 ... provides expanded tax relief for victims of natural disasters, relaxes the rules for hardship distributions from employer plans, makes slight changes to portability rules, and requires the IRS to create a simplified tax return for filers age 65 or older." (Ascensus)
[Guidance Overview] Budget Deal Includes Retirement Plan Changes (PDF)
"[1] Hardship distribution rules eased (in 2019): Six month delay no longer required after hardship distributions ... Sources for hardship distributions are expanded ... No requirement to borrow before a hardship distribution ... Amendments will be required ... [2] More retirement plan relief for natural disasters ... [T]he area affected, the specific relief allowed, and applicable dates ... vary based on when the disaster occurred.... Relief is immediately effective, and amendments can be made later.... [3] Relief after IRA retirement plan levies ... [4] Joint Select Committee on solvency of multiemployer pension plans." (Chimento & Webb, P.C.)
[Guidance Overview] Impact of Recent Legislation on 401(k) Hardship Withdrawals
"When a plan document specifically cross references deductibility under Section 165, permitting a withdrawal for expenses that result from an isolated incident could now be contrary to the plan's terms.... It isn't clear whether Congress intended to narrow the circumstances in which a hardship withdrawal may be taken when enacting the change to Section 165, and it's possible that the IRS will publish guidance obviating the need to impose the Federally-declared disaster requirement in the hardship context." (Mayer Brown)
[Guidance Overview] Budget Act Contains Retirement Plan Changes
"The current rules have the dual effect of reducing the amount available to a participant who has suffered a hardship, as well as complicating recordkeeping by requiring that a plan keep track of the 'principal' deferrals made by participants. The new rules resolve both issues.... There is no rush to change plans and procedures: all of these provisions go into effect for plan years beginning January 1, 2019, and later." (Ferenczy Benefits Law Center)
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Eliminating Unnecessary Tax Regulations
67 pages. "This notice ... proposes to streamline IRS regulations by removing 298 regulations that are no longer necessary because they do not have any current or future applicability under the Internal Revenue Code and by amending 79 regulations to reflect the proposed removal of the 298 regulations.... Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by May 14, 2018." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Gig Workers Saving for Retirement: What's in Their Best Interest?
"The form of business entity controls many factors when it comes to saving for retirement. The new tax law may have subtly changed the calculus ... Most freelancers ... have stand-alone business structures. Being the sole employee within their operation, they have long benefited from certain structural advantages in terms of retirement saving. Their choice of legal structure can impact those advantages." (Fiduciary News)
PSCA Annual Survey of Profit Sharing and 401(k) Plans
"More participants made contributions in 2016 -- 84.9 percent. Roth availability increased again -- now offered at 63.1 percent of companies. Company contributions increased to an average of 4.8 percent of participants' pay. Target-date funds are now offered in nearly three-fourths of plans.... Sixty percent of plans use automatic enrollment. Three-fourths of those plans automatically increase default deferral rates over time." (Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA])
[Guidance Overview] 401(k) Hardship and Retirement Plan Rollover Rules Modified By the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 with Rapid Effective Dates
"The hardship withdrawal modifications that are to be made will apply to plan years after December 31, 2018 and will also require modifications to most 401(k) plan documents.... [The] modification to the levy provision now permits the individual to rollover the amount returned ... any time up to the due date (without any extension) for the individual to file the tax return for the year in which such property or money seized was returned. It also permits the interest on the amount returned from the seizure to be eligible to be rolled over." (Winstead PC)
An Annual Retirement Plan 'Check-Up' May Be Just What the Doctor Ordered!
"Some common mistakes to check for during any review of your retirement plans include: [1] failing to timely enroll eligible employees in the plan or inadvertently allowing ineligible individuals to participate in the plan; [2] using incorrect elements of 'compensation' under the plan when determining deferral amounts or employer contributions; [3] incorrectly calculating a participant's hours or years of service under the plan; [4] failing to timely deposit employee deferrals or employer contributions; [5] failing to provide employees necessary notices and plan information; [6] improperly administering plan loan repayments; and [7] failing to satisfy IRS maximum contribution limits." (Foley & Lardner LLP)
[Guidance Overview] Liberalized Hardship Withdrawals and California Wildfire Relief in Budget Act
"The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which President Trump signed into law [February 9], makes several changes affecting retirement plans.... [E]limination of six-month suspension following hardship withdrawals.... Elimination of requirement to take available loans before a hardship withdrawal.... Expansion of amounts available for hardship withdrawals.... Participants affected by recent wildfires in California [have] greater access to retirement funds.... Tax-favored withdrawals.... Repayment for home purchases.... Loan relief.... Extended amendment deadline." (Mazursky Constantine LLC)
Lessons from Across the Pond: DC Plans in the U.S. and the U.K. (PDF)
36 pages. "[M]andatory auto-enrollment and re-enrollment in the UK has been a huge success in boosting participation rates in workplace pension plans to around 90% for many employers ... [A]uto-escalation has proved to be a successful tool to get US plan participants to save more in workplace retirement plans ... [L]itigation on the issue of excessive investment fees has forced US plan fiduciaries to focus on negotiating lower fees, and government regulation has demanded greater disclosure of fees[.]" (Eversheds Sutherland)
Best Practices: 401(k) Loan Policy
"Educate employees about the implications of a loan ... Implement service fees ... Don't appear to advocate borrowing ... Discourage savings interruptions ... Make repayment easy ... Don't rule out loans altogether ... Consider limiting loans to specific purposes." (ForUsAll)
Hardship Withdrawals: An Attractive Nuisance Becomes More Attractive
"[The Budget Act] includes provisions that make hardship withdrawals more attractive -- removing barriers, increasing available monies, and removing the suspension of contributions.... [A]dding 21st Century loan processes, features like 'commitment agreements' and electronic bill paying, will reduce leakage. The leakage from defaulted loans will generally be less, much less than the leakage from hardship withdrawals." (Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA])
Two-Year Budget Deal Will Impact Employer Plans
"In addition to a next step for multiemployer plan funding problems and relief for plan distributions aimed at supporting individuals affected by the late 2017 California wildfires, the Budget Act includes some provisions from the House tax bill last year that had been omitted from the final agreement." (Conduent)
Budget Brings Pension and Health Care Relief (PDF)
"The bill includes some helpful relief for plan sponsors and participants of qualified plans: [1] Expanded hardship relief.... [2] California wildfire relief.... [3] Relief for improper federal tax levy.... [4] Joint Select Committee on multiemployer plans.... [The bill] makes no changes to the [ACA] tax provisions nor does it include provisions related to market stabilization. It does, however, make keys changes to Medicare and provide funding for a number of popular domestic health programs." (Groom Law Group)
Federal Budget Deal Becomes Law, Includes Retirement Provisions
"The provisions in [H.R. 1892, the 652-page 'Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018'] that affect the retirement industry include: [1] Remove six-month prohibition on contributions to retirement plans after a hardship withdrawal (section 41113) ... [2] Allow QNECs, QMACs and profit-sharing contributions to be included in a hardship withdrawal (section 41114) ... [3] Provide IRS authority to release a levy on property held in retirement plans (section 41104) ... [4] Special disaster-related rules for use of retirement funds for individuals impacted by the California wildfires (section 20102) ... [5] Create a Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans (sections 30421-30424) ... [6] Create new Form 1040SR for individuals over age 65 (section 41106)." (National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA])
Don't Make These 'Rookie Mistakes' When Calculating Service!
"Failing to understand the concept of 'once in, always in' ... Confusing 'break in service' with 'termination of employment' ... Using the wrong eligibility computation period to calculate years of service/breaks in service." (Cammack Retirement Group)
February 2018 Market Volatility Affects 401(k) Trading
"February's trading activity is in sharp contrast to participant actions in January when the majority of trades were from fixed income to equities. In January, only 4 of the 21 trading days saw participants favoring fixed income. All 4 of the trading days so far in February have had more money going to fixed income than equities." (Alight Solutions)
Millennials Embrace ESG Option in Bloomberg's 401(k) Plan
"Millennials are the largest identifiable group that has elected to participate in the ESG-focused fund in Bloomberg's $2.5 billion U.S. 401(k) plan ... Just under 1% of the plan's total assets are invested in the Parnassus Core Equity Fund, which focuses on socially conscious U.S. large-cap companies." (Pensions & Investments)
Making Sure 401(k) and 403(b) Fees Are 'Necessary' and 'Reasonable'
"[C]ontact at least six firms ... [Y]ou are held to the standard of an expert in matters of plan management. If you don't have the resources to run an RFP ... find an independent consultant who can do it for you.... Unless you are using an integrated RFP platform to issue your request, to receive and aggregate information and to perform your analysis, you will want to allow about four [4] weeks from the date you issue the RFP to the date responses are due." (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)
Fidelity Finds Increase in Retirement Plan Millionaires
"[T]he average 401(k) balance rose to $104,300 by year's end, finishing 2017 fully 13% higher than the close of 2016. The average IRA balance climbed to $106,000, which is also a 13% year-over-year increase, Fidelity says. These numbers compare with an average 401(k) balance of just $77,600 in 2012 and a 2012 average balance of IRAs at $76,600.... The number of 401(k) savers with at least $1 million in their 401(k) increased to 150,000 at the end of 2017, up from 93,000 a year ago." (PLANSPONSOR)
DC Participants with 401(k)s and HSAs Have Higher Savings Rates for 401(k) and Overall
"[P]articipants using a 401(k) plan in conjunction with an HSA had an average 401(k) savings rate of 8.9% plus another 2.9% for the HSA. By contrast, the savings rate for 401(k)-only participants was 6.8%." (Pensions & Investments)
Retirement Savers Fled Equities in Market Selloff
"Retirement savers violated a cardinal rule of investing this past week: they sold into a plunging market. After racing into equities in January, they did an about-face as markets fell on Friday Feb. 2. Savers moved into money and fixed-income funds, trading at close to three times the norm[.]" (Bloomberg)
401(k) Plan Documents: Keeping All Your Ducks in a Row
"[A table describes] several important documents that are smart to keep handy, either in the event of an audit, or to reference during the ongoing administration of the 401(k)." (ForUsAll)
RadioShack Defeats Challenge to Stock Losses in 401(k) Plan
"The workers' allegations -- that the executives were imprudent by failing to respond to public information on RadioShack's financial decline and insider information suggesting the stock was overvalued -- aren't sufficient to state a claim under [ERISA], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held Feb. 6." [Singh v. RadioShack Corp., No. 16-11587 (5th Cir. Feb. 6, 2018)] (Bloomberg BNA)
A Simple Guide for Meeting 401(k) Fiduciary Responsibilities
"[1] Meeting investment-related responsibilities ... [2] Meeting administration-related responsibilities ... [3] Paying only reasonable expenses from plan assets.... [4] Depositing employee contributions timely ... [5] Maintaining adequate ERISA fidelity bond coverage ... [6] Selecting and monitoring 401(k) service providers." (Employee Fiduciary)
[Guidance Overview] PBGC's Missing Participants Program Now Available to Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"The pilot program's success at reuniting missing participants with their money also has led the DOL to conduct more audits of a plan fiduciary's duty to make reasonable attempts to locate missing participants, examining the efforts of a plan sponsor or administrator to follow the guidance in [FAB 2014-01].... PBGC's final rule might be useful in the plan termination context, but concerns remain for ongoing plans with missing participants." (Milliman)
Tax Cut Spurs Employers to Boost 401(k) Contributions
"[An] increase in 401(k) contribution match may be more effective than a one-time bonus as it can help with retention, increase employee contribution rates and provides an ongoing tax credit for employers." (Voya)
Generation X 401(k) Savers Indicate Financial Peace of Mind as Major Financial Objective
"77 percent of Generation X retirement savers with 401(k)s view having financial peace of mind as a major financial objective, leading the 16 financial objectives scored in the survey.... 45 percent of [millennials (ages 18-35),] said their expected contribution rate is now higher than their contribution rate in the last 12 months. For Generation X (ages 36-51) and baby boomers (age 52 or older), 36 percent and 30 percent, respectively, said they expect to increase their 401(k) contributions in the coming months.... The majority of individuals determine their contribution rate based on their employer match, with 65 percent taking full advantage of the match." (T. Rowe Price)
Decision-Making Best Practices for 401(k) Plans
"Ensure you have a properly structured retirement plan committee ... Discuss the right stuff ... Company hats off, participant hats on ... Use a sound decision-making process ... Document your process." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
American Views on Defined Contribution Plan Saving, 2017 (PDF)
32 pages. "Seventy-four percent of US households had favorable impressions of 401(k) and similar retirement plan accounts in fall 2017, up from 70 percent in fall 2016, and similar to the 72 percent reporting a favorable impression in fall 2015.... More than eight in 10 DC-owning households said the tax treatment of their retirement plans was a big incentive to contribute. Nearly all households with DC accounts agreed that it was important to have choice in, and control of, the investments in their DC plans." (Investment Company Institute [ICI])
America's Retirement Score: In Fair Shape, Moving Closer to Green (PDF)
"America's Retirement Score for the typical American household is 80, which falls into the yellow 'Fair' zone, meaning the typical saver is on target to have 80 percent of the income Fidelity estimates they will need to cover retirement costs ... Based on the Retirement Scores, 50% of American households are at risk of not being able to cover essential expenses in retirement.... Overall 61% of households believe they will have enough money to maintain the lifestyle they want in retirement." (Fidelity)
Common Pitfalls in 401(k) Plan Administration
"401(k) Plans with fewer than 100 participants must deposit salary deferrals withheld from participants' paychecks no later than 7 business days following each and every pay date.... Proper compliance requires maintaining accurate service records for all employees, not just those employees who participate in the plan.... [A]ny funds in the forfeiture account must be disposed of in the year they are forfeited or the following year." (TriStar Pension Consulting)
[Guidance Overview] The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: New Rules for Retirement Plans and IRAs
"Employers may also wish to review the types of roll-ins their plans will accept in light of the new [loan repayment] rules.... Employers will need to modify their criteria for approving 'safe-harbor' hardship distributions that are made to reimburse expenses for damage to the employee's principal residence.... The Act provides various types of tax relief for 2016 and 2017 distributions from eligible employer plans (and IRAs) due to 2016 storms and flooding." (Spencer Fane)
Mutual of Omaha Sued Over Affiliated Funds in 401(k) Plan
"The proposed class action accuses Mutual of Omaha of filling its 401(k) plan with affiliated investment funds that were essentially funds offered by third parties plus an extra layer of fees that went to the Nebraska-based insurer. The company also tacked on extra layers of fees to unaffiliated funds in the 401(k) plan, according to the complaint. These extra layers of fees allowed Mutual of Omaha to pocket more than $1 million per year at the expense of workers' retirement savings, the lawsuit says." (Bloomberg BNA)
2017 Retirement Plan Mobile Enhancements
"Over the course of 2017, multiple Retirement Plan Monitor coverage group firms launched new mobile apps and revamped existing apps, integrating more account data, introducing transaction capabilities and harnessing new mobile technologies to add app features.... A recent report finds that in the U.S., 71% of time spent online is on mobile devices, and 87% of time spent on those mobile devices is in apps. [In this article, the authors] review this past year's major mobile enhancements[.]" (Corporate Insight)
Hardship Withdrawals for Personal Casualty Losses Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (PDF)
"[B]efore approving a hardship withdrawal request for repair to damage of the participant's principal residence it is important to make sure that the 'immediate and heavy financial need ' has been caused by an event that meets the revised definition of 'disaster' under Internal Revenue Code Section 165. To meet this new requirement the event must be the result of a federally declared disaster." (VOYA Financial)
2017 Saw Lowest 401(k) Trading Activity in Two Decades
"1.45% of total plan balances were traded during the year, down from 2.13% in 2016.... The percentage of assets invested in target date funds grew in 2017 from 24.1% at the beginning of the year to 27.2% by the end of the year.... In 2017, 43% of contributions were to target date funds." (Alight Solutions)
Retirement Readiness Improves When Income Replacement Rates Provided
"[I]ncome replacement scores for participants receiving a projected view of future monthly income were higher than the scores of participants who didn't receive such a projection. For the former group, ... projected income replacement scores rose to 77.8% from 68% during a roughly six-year period ... [Nationally,] projected income replacement rates remained relatively flat between 2013 and 2016 -- hovering each year between 58% and 62%." (Pensions & Investments)
The Saver's Credit
"[This article provides] ...[A] three-page question and answer explanation intended for employers and employees who want to know all the related details.... [A] two-page notice, drafted by the federal government, to explain the rules to employees. Three charts of examples, showing the value of combining a tax deduction, a tax credit, and a matching contribution[.]" (Retirement Management Services, LLC)
Using Plan Assets to Pay 401(k) Fees? Reasons to Consider Payment by Plan Sponsor Instead
"Because so few 401(k) providers offer plan sponsors the opportunity to pay 401(k) administration fees themselves, many business owners don't know this option even exists. That's too bad because it's not just 401(k) plan participants that benefit when their employer pays 401(k) administration fees. Business owners also benefit by reducing their fiduciary liability, lowering their taxes, increasing their 401(k) returns and improving their plan's attractiveness to employees." (Employee Fiduciary)
401(k) Fees: Best Practices for Plan Sponsors
"Based upon guidance from the DOL, you should conduct an RFI or RFP process every three to five years for the providers you work with.... Use lowest-cost share classes ... Make sure you offer the right investment options ... Perform an annual investment fund review ... Evaluate service provider fees each year ... Consider replacing an advisor with an investment adviser ... Distribute required fee notices ... Seek balance in all things." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
Changes to Personal Casualty Loss Deduction Could Affect 401(k) Hardship Withdrawals
"[B]ased on the language in the statute and existing regulations, it would appear that qualified hardship withdrawals to repair a severely damaged principal residence are effectively eliminated unless in a federally declared disaster area, pending any future guidance." (National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA])
Survey Says: Least/Most Effective Retirement Industry Developments in the Last 25 Years
"The No. 1 pick for developments in the retirement industry respondents think has been the most effective for improving retirement outcomes is the adoption of automatic enrollment for defined contribution (DC) plans (48.9%).... [The least effective was the] increase in move from defined benefit (DB) plans to DC plans (45.6%), followed by increase in pension transfers to insurance companies (17.4%) and increased focus on retirement income options by regulators (10.9%)." (PLANSPONSOR)
401(k) ERISA Plan Compliance Calendar, 2018
"[This] Calendar highlights the critical compliance deadlines for ERISA 401k(k) defined contribution retirement plans.... [T]here may be additional deadlines for specific plans that are not covered here. Plans with non-calendar plan years may be subject to different deadlines." (Cammack Retirement Group)
HSA 'Chicken' or 401(k) 'Nest Egg' -- Which Comes First?
"The important question to ask may be how to prioritize for those who have limited ability to save.... The answer depends, in part, on a number of factors, including but not limited to: geographic location, the match (if any) in the 401k plan, whether the 401k plan offers a robust loan feature, whether there is an employer contribution to the HSA and if so, whether it is in the form of a match or if it meets the comparability rules." (Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA])
DC Plan Sponsors Continue Focus on Fees
"Sponsors, by a wide margin, cited reviewing plan fees as the most important step they took in improving their fiduciary position in 2017, and 60% of survey respondents said they are somewhat or very likely to conduct a fee survey in 2018.... Nearly three quarters of non-government plans used auto enrollment; four out of five plans with auto enrollment also offered automatic contribution escalation; and plan sponsors reported the highest average auto enroll default contribution rate in the survey's history (4.6%)." (Callan Associates)
Putnam Gets Industry Support in 401(k) Fund Appeal
"The Investment Company Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other groups urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to uphold a ruling rejecting claims that Putnam was wrong to put its own investment funds -- which earned fees for the company -- in the 401(k) plan for its workers. The groups argued against a judicial standard that would require Putnam -- and not the workers -- to prove that the challenged investments caused losses to the company retirement plan." (Bloomberg BNA)
[Guidance Overview] Tax Reform: Retirement Plan and IRA Provisions (PDF)
"[If] your plan allows the continuation of loan repayments following termination of employment, consider eliminating this option, or reconsider if a loan note should be rolled over to a successor plan on plan termination ... It is unlikely that a plan amendment would be needed to reflect the extended period ... This change is unlikely to impact the timing of loan offsets and reporting and withholding of loan offsets, but gives participants additional time to come up with the additional funds to avoid the adverse tax consequences." (Groom Law Group)
Employer Contributions to 401(k)s Show Steady Increase
"53% of plan sponsors funded an employer contribution in 2013. This increased to 55% in 2014, 69% in 2015 and 81% in 2016.... In 2013, plans that funded employer contributions had an average 7% higher participation rates than those that did not, while in 2014 plans with an employer contribution had 9% higher participation rates. In 2015, participation rates on average were 12% higher for plans with an employer contribution than for those without, and in 2016 participation rates were 19% higher." (planadviser)

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