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President Names PBGC Advisory Committee Members
"President Donald J. Trump has appointed the following members to serve on the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Henry Charles Eickelberg ... Jeanmarie Grisi ... Babette Ann Ceccotti ... Guy Pinkman ... Donald J. Butt ... Regina T. Jefferson ... and Jackson Miller[.]" (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])
Debt Close to Retirement and Its Implications for Retirement Well-Being
"The most financially-knowledgeable older adults are the least likely to report that they hold too much debt or that they are financially fragile. Older people with higher incomes and more education people tend to hold long-term debt, such as mortgages, while those with lower incomes and less education tend to carry high-cost debt, such as payday loans." (TIAA Institute)
IRS 2018-2019 Priority Guidance Plan, Third Quarter Update (PDF)
37 pages. Updated March 31, 2019; released June 17, 2019. Employee benefits items begin on page 14. (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
[Opinion] Achieving Economies of Scale in State-Facilitated Retirement Savings Programs
"By joining together, states have the potential to offer better services and reduce the cost of building or supporting a retirement savings platform. A multi-state approach of one kind or another can make the process easier and more cost-effective -- and can accelerate the date when a program can become self-sustaining and fees can be reduced." (AARP)
[Opinion] Will the SECURE Act Increase Retirement Security?
"For years the retirement industry has bemoaned the lack of a lifetime income option in defined contribution plans.... DC plan sponsors have -- largely -- seen little upside in signing on for a decision that they see as carrying with it a liability that extends well beyond the employment relationship.... The SECURE Act attempts to resolve some of that resistance ... Arguably, a legislative safe harbor is 'safer' than one staked out by regulators, but plan fiduciaries hoping to find a fiduciary 'free pass' won't find one here, despite the concerns expressed in the Times." (Data 'Points')
Oregon Set to Penalize Noncompliant Employers Without Retirement Plans
"Now that OregonSaves - the country's first state-run retirement plan for employers who do not sponsor a qualified retirement plan - is in full swing, effective January 1, 2020, penalties of up to $5,000 per calendar year may be imposed on noncompliant employers." (Buck)
Ninth Circuit Rules ERISA Pension Plan Must Pay Survivor Benefits to Registered Domestic Partner
"[The] plan document specifically incorporated California law, which has long required that registered domestic partners be given the same rights, protections, and benefits under law as are granted to spouses. The terms 'spouse' and 'married' were not defined in the plan document.... The Court of Appeals held that the plan's incorporation of California law meant the term 'spouse' must include a domestic partner, and that neither ERISA nor the Code provided binding guidance that was inconsistent with that interpretation." [Reed v. KRON/IBEW Local 45 Pension Plan, No. 17-17176 (9th Cir. May 16, 2019; unpub.)] (Hanson Bridgett LLP)
The Impact of Extreme Changes in Defined Contribution Plans on Retirement Income Adequacy in America
"[T]his Issue Brief provides a comprehensive exploration of the impact on retirement income adequacy ... if defined contribution retirement plans were completely eliminated.... The youngest age cohort (those currently ages 35-39) would suffer the most, with average retirement deficits increasing 23 percent from $49,182 to $60,253.... The Issue Brief then analyzes the opposite end of the ... spectrum by exploring the impact of a ... scenario where every employer ... is assumed to sponsor a defined contribution plan.... The youngest age cohort would benefit the most from this scenario, with average retirement deficits decreasing 24 percent from $49,182 to $37,506." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])
What the SECURE Act Could Mean for Businesses
"In order for a plan to be treated as a MEP or what would be called a 'pooled employer plan,' a 'pooled plan provider' (PPP) would have to be selected and be responsible for performing all necessary administrative duties to ensure compliance with regulations such as ERISA and the IRS Code. The PPPs would serve as a fiduciary and administrator, and be subject to registration, audit and examination by regulators." (MassMutual)
Multiemployer Pension Reform Bill Approved by House Education and Labor Committee
"Also known as the Butch Lewis Act, H.R. 397 would establish the Pension Rehabilitation Administration and a related trust fund within the Treasury Department to make loans to multiemployer plans in critical and declining status that are approved by Treasury to reduce benefits, or to plans that are already insolvent but not terminated." (Pensions & Investments)
How a Raising the Age for Required Withdrawals Could Impact Your Retirement
"The Secure Act, which passed the House of Representatives in May and awaits action in the Senate, would increase the age for required minimum distributions to 72 from 70-1/2. A theoretical $500,000 portfolio, earning 5% annually, would have $33,500 more at age 89 if the RMDs started at age 72." (CNBC)
Supreme Court Will Hear ERISA Statute of Limitations Case
"Issue presented: Whether the three-year limitations period in Section 413(2) of [ERISA], which runs from 'the earliest date on which the plaintiff had actual knowledge of the breach or violation,' bars suit when all the relevant information was disclosed to the plaintiff by the defendants more than three years before the plaintiff filed the complaint, but the plaintiff chose not to read or could not recall having read the information." [Sulyma v. Intel Corp. Investment Policy Comm., No. 17-15864 (9th Cir. Nov. 28, 2018; cert. pet. granted June 10, 2019)] (SCOTUSblog)
House Education and Labor Committee Sets Vote on Multiemployer Reform Bill
"The bill, H.R. 397, also known as the Butch Lewis Act, would establish the Pension Rehabilitation Administration and a related trust fund within the Treasury Department to make loans to multiemployer plans in critical and declining status that are approved by Treasury to reduce benefits, or to plans that are already insolvent but not terminated. Treasury would issue bonds to finance the loan program." (Pensions & Investments)
Congress Looks to Overhaul Retirement System for First Time in More Than a Decade
"Through some version or another, this legislation has been proposed for nearly five years. This is the farthest it has gone ... The real centerpiece is the multiple-employer defined-contribution plans expansion. Time will tell whether this will drastically increase the number of small employers offering 401(k) plans or whether the ones that do today obtain real savings through economies of scale." (Lockton)
Employers Now Face Penalties for Failure to Comply with OregonSaves
"The new law gives Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries authority to investigate and penalize noncompliant employers.... Employees can report noncompliant employers to the bureau -- although complaints can't be made earlier than two years after the employer's applicable registration deadline.... Employers found to be noncompliant face civil penalties of up to $100 per affected employee, capped at $5,000 total per calendar year." (Mercer)
House Passes the SECURE Act, Senate Will Consider -- 401(k) Plans Would Be Affected in Big Ways
"In its current form, the SECURE Act is an amalgamation of a number of pension-related proposals that have been offered on and off during the course of the past several years. In fact, the Senate presently has a similar bill before it that was introduced last year, entitled the Retirement Enhancement Securities Act (RESA). Many of RESA's provisions could eventually make their way into the SECURE Act, and, of course, the SECURE Act might also be significantly modified through committee or other Congressional action before being finalized." (Compliance Dashboard)
[Official Guidance] ERISA Advisory Council to Meet June 25-27
"[The next meeting of] the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (also known as the ERISA Advisory Council) will be held on June 25-27, 2019 ... to hear testimony from invited witnesses and to receive an update from [EBSA].... The Advisory Council will study the following topics: [1] Beyond Plan Audit Compliance: Improving the Financial Statement Audit Process ... and [2] Permissive Transfers of Uncashed Checks from ERISA Plans to State Unclaimed Property Funds[.]" (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
CalSavers Moves to Dismiss ERISA Preemption Complaint
"The new motion ... argues that CalSavers is not preempted by ERISA because it is not an employee benefit plan under ERISA nor does it require employers to maintain an ERISA plan. CalSavers establishes IRAs for employees who participate and IRAs are not ERISA plans.... Employers are only required to perform ministerial acts under the law and program and have no discretion as to the administration of the program." (Murphy Austin)
Bipartisan Bill Paves the Way for Significant Retirement Plan Reforms
"The SECURE Act ... proposes a number of changes to existing retirement plan rules that are designed to make it easier for employees to save for retirement. The legislation aims to help employees achieve retirement security by ensuring that more workers have access to a retirement plan, are able to save enough money to maintain their standard of living in retirement and do not outlive their retirement savings." (McDermott Will & Emery)
Senate Republicans Raise Concerns Over House's Bipartisan Retirement Bill
"Among the items causing concern are the House's resistance to letting people pay for home-schooling expenses with money in 529 tax-advantaged education-savings accounts. Senators are also looking at a House-passed provision that relaxes pension-funding rules for some community newspapers and considering whether they want to make even larger retirement-policy changes than the House[.]" (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)
[Opinion] Confusing Annuity Options May Be Coming to Your 401(k)
"Among the two dozen or so rule changes is a provision that is strongly supported by insurance companies but has consumer advocates worried. It would eliminate some of the liability for employers who add annuities to the menu of options for their 401(k) plans -- including expensive and complex products that purport to offer the peace of mind of a guaranteed income stream." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
Consider Retirement Plan Mandates When Expanding to New States
"[M]any employers -- especially employers that currently offer 401(k) or pension plans to their employees -- may quickly dismiss these laws as not applicable. However, as employers add small employee groups, resulting from multistate expansion through organic growth or acquisitions, they should be aware of state-run retirement plan mandates to ensure compliance and avoid the accumulation of penalties." (Foley & Lardner LLP, via National Law Review)
New State-Run IRA for Private Sector Opens July 1
"A new state workplace retirement savings program, CalSavers, will open to an estimated 250,00 to 300,000 employers on July 1 -- offering an automatic IRA payroll deduction for the 7.5 million California workers with no retirement plan on the job.... For businesses with five or more employees, the program is mandatory. They must offer employees CalSavers, or a qualified retirement plan chosen by the employer, to avoid a penalty for repeated non-compliance of $750 per employee." (Calpensions)
Reimbursement of Direct Expenses: Ninth Circuit Upholds Decision in City National
"CNB had calculated the amount that it charged to the plan for its services simply as a portion of mutual fund revenue sharing payments.... CNB was also recordkeeper for over 200 other plans. It did not, however, 'maintain a system for tracking how much time its employees specifically spent servicing the [City National] Plan.' ... [DOL alleged] that this fee arrangement violated ERISA's prohibition on self-dealing.... [T]he Ninth Circuit [held] that ERISA's prohibited transaction exemption for 'reasonable compensation' for the provision of services is not available for fiduciary self-dealing. " [Acosta v. City National, No. 17-55421 (9th Cir. Apr. 23, 2019)] (October Three Consulting)
SECURE Act: Key Changes for Plan Sponsors and Employers
"[1] Expansion of part-time employee eligibility ... [2] Changes to section 401(k) safe harbor plans ... [3] Addition of 'qualified birth or adoption distributions' ... [4] Prohibition on using credit card arrangements for plan loans ... [5] New lifetime income disclosure requirement ... [6] New portability for lifetime income investment options ... [7] Nondiscrimination testing relief for closed defined benefit plans ... [8] Changes to minimum required distributions ... [9] New statutory safe harbor for annuity provider selection." (Proskauer Rose LLP)
RESA and SECURE Act's 'Non-MEP' Fintech Alternative May Have Greater Impact Than MEP Provisions
"These rules are based upon old DOL regulations called 'Group Insurance Arrangements' (or GIAs) for welfare plans ... which permit unrelated employers on the same insurance platform to file a single Form 5500. Under the proposed statutory language, retirement plans participating in a group arrangement could rely upon a single annual report filed by the common Plan Administrator, subject to requirements similar to that required of the GIA ... [T]his arrangement will be more welcome in the TPA community than a MEP." (Business of Benefits)
Current Population Survey: Checking in on the Retirement Plan Participation and Retiree Income Estimates
"[T]he U.S. Census Bureau redesigned the CPS questionnaire in 2014 ... The survey redesign resulted in lower retirement plan participation estimates -- which some policy advocates have misinterpreted as actual changes in the employment-based retirement plan system.... This study finds: [1] The overall percentage of workers participating in a retirement plan leveled off ... [2] The survey estimates do not conform to trends in another government survey ... [3] The ratio of participation within demographic groups remained the same after the redesign ... [4] The survey redesign did not fully capture retiree income." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])
Puerto Rico Board Asks for Investigation of Delinquent DC Transfers
"Puerto Rico's oversight board is asking the U.S. Department of Justice and the Puerto Rico Secretary of Justice to investigate local government employers for failing to transfer payments to employees' defined contribution accounts.... Puerto Rico Act 106-2017 provides for prison terms and penalties against head of government entities failing to remit the employee contributions, and the conduct may also violate Title 18 of the U.S. Code, board officials said." (Pensions & Investments)
Law Professors Ask SCOTUS to Limit 'Forum Selection' Plan Provisions
"Eleven law professors called on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that companies can't unilaterally limit the courts in which workers can sue over their health and retirement benefits.... The Supreme Court expressed interest in the issue in 2016, after the Sixth Circuit became the first appeals court to hold that forum selection clauses are permissible under ERISA.... Since then, the Third, Seventh, and Eighth circuits all followed the Sixth Circuit's lead in upholding these clauses from ERISA challenges." (Bloomberg Law)
[Opinion] The SECURE Act and RESA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
"[Certain provisions of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act and the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA)] reduce barriers to complicated and opaque 401(k) products and investments favored by many large insurance and mutual fund companies.... [T]hese products and investments are likely to benefit providers more than 401(k) participants.... The fiduciary safe harbor appears to only protect employers from a provider that can't afford to pay promised benefits. The employer would still be responsible for determining whether the lifetime income option is 'prudent' ... A tough job given the complexity of these insurance products." (Employee Fiduciary)
House Passes Bipartisan Retirement Reform Legislation
"Senate leadership is now considering whether and how to move the SECURE Act. At this point, it does not appear that Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) will bring the bill up for a full floor consideration this year, so Senate leadership is attempting to move the bill via unanimous consent, which is only possible if no Senator objects. Currently, there appears to be at least one objection. Another possible option is to attach the SECURE Act to a larger, must-pass bill, such as a spending bill later this year." (Groom Law Group)
House Passes SECURE Act; Retirement Legislation Moves Closer to Enactment
"[T]he SECURE Act: [1] Provides coverage, non-discrimination, and minimum participation testing relief for defined benefit plans that have been closed to new participants; [2] Provides new options for safe harbor 401(k) plans; [3] Requires 401(k) plans to expand eligibility to long-time part-time employees ... [4] Requires disclosure of lifetime income projections on annual account statements for defined contribution plans and provides a new fiduciary safe harbor for annuity selection; [5] Increases the required beginning date for minimum distributions ... [6] Imposes a new 10-year distribution maximum for death benefits from IRAs and defined contribution plans for designated beneficiaries ... [7] Facilitates open multiple employer defined contribution plans; [8] Increases penalties for failure to file form 5500, 8955-SSA, 5310-A, or distribute a tax withholding election." (Buck)
How the SECURE Act Could Impact Your Retirement Plan
"[1] Increase small employer access to retirement plans ... [2] Increase annuity options inside retirement plans ... [3] Increase required minimum distribution ages ... [4] Removal of age limitation on IRA contributions ... [5] Tax credit for automatic enrollment ... [6] Penalty-free distributions for birth of child or adoption ... [7] Lifetime income disclosure for defined contribution plans ... [8] Removal of 'stretch' inherited IRA provisions." (Forbes)
Supreme Court Could Soon Consider Several ERISA Cases
"The cases include examples of 'stock drop' litigation; litigation about the burden of proof to establish loss; a case that tests the 'actual knowledge' standard for statute of limitations purposes; and a case that examines pleading standards under ERISA." (planadviser)
House Passes the SECURE Act
"What are the absolute gems in this version of the SECURE Act? [1] Creates the Pooled Employer Plan (the new name for what has been referred to as an open MEPs). [2] Increases the Required Minimum Distribution start date from 70-1/2 to 72 (no one likes calculating a half year). [3] Allows penalty-free distributions of up to $5,000 within a year for new parents (birth or adoption). [4] Extends the period of time for companies to adopt new plans beyond the end of the year to the due date for filing the company tax return. [5] Permits employers to add a safe-harbor feature to their existing 401(k) plans once the year has already started if they agree to make at least a 4% of pay contribution to employees (instead of the regular 3%). What is potentially much ado about nothing? The annuities!" (DWC)
House Passes SECURE Act by 417-3 Vote
"Many believe the overwhelming bipartisan support for SECURE in the House makes early passage of a final bill by the Senate more likely. In the current context, however, risks to final passage remain.... On May 14, 2019, Senators Portman (R-OH) and Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2019. The bill generally tracks legislation the Senators introduced last year, and many of the proposals included in it are expected to be part of the nextbipartisan retirement policy reform effort (after SECURE/RESA)." (October Three Consulting)
Senate Could Vote Friday on Bill Expanding Annuity Options in Plans
"The SECURE Act is designed to expand access to workplace retirement plans, particularly for small businesses, and will improve the ability for employers to extend greater access to annuity options in those plans. House committees have debated the proposal for several weeks." (
Bill Expanding Annuity Options in Retirement Plans Passes the House
"The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act is designed to expand access to workplace retirement plans, particularly for small businesses, and will improve the ability for employers to extend greater access to annuity options in those plans. The measure also requires retirement plans to provide participating workers with an illustration of how much monthly income a retirement savings account might deliver. Additionally, the bill raises the age to begin required minimum distributions from retirement accounts from 70-1/2 to 72." (
House Passes Bill Making Big Changes to U.S. Retirement System
"[T]he House version of the legislation would repeal the age cap for contributing to individual retirement accounts, currently 70-1/2. It would also increase the age to start taking required withdrawals from 401(k)s and IRAs to 72 from 70-1/2.... The bill passed Thursday, which includes many of the provisions in a similar bill in the Senate, would encourage 401(k)-style plans to offer annuities by giving certain employers some protection from future liability if their chosen insurer fails to pay claims.... Both the House and Senate versions allow employers without an affiliation to band together to offer a 401(k)-type plan." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)
Senate Reintroduces Expansive Retirement Bill
"The Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2019 (S1431) ... would [1] let sponsors of 401(k), 403(b), governmental 457(b) and SIMPLE plans match their workers' student loan payments as if the payments were salary reduction contributions.... [2] make a number of changes to the Code Section 401(a)(9) rules for required minimum distributions (RMDs) ... [3] relax the rules for qualified longevity annuity contracts (QLACs) and commercial annuities to encourage retirees to choose those income-preserving options.... [4] expand the self-correction program (SCP) under IRS's Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS)." (Mercer)
Recognizing the Importance of Employee Ownership, More States Move Forward with Pro-ESOP Initiatives
"Taking cues from Colorado, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Jersey, and Virginia, all of which have recently enacted legislation supporting and encouraging the establishment of ESOPs, the states of Texas, Indiana, and Nebraska are now moving forward with their own pro-ESOP initiatives." (Morgan Lewis)
[Opinion] Things You Probably Didn't Know About Retirement Savings
"[1] People are saving more than ever.... [2] Retirement savings are higher than they ever have been.... [3] Retirees say that they're doing fine.... [4] The poverty rate for retirees is falling.... [5] Coverage by traditional pensions was not that high in their 'golden age.' ... [6] Social Security benefits are more adequate than you think.... [8] The way Social Security is fixed can have a significant effect on the economy.... [9] U.S. retirement plan assets are far larger than other countries'.... [10] Seniors' out-of-pocket health spending is not eating that much more of their incomes.... [11] Pension plans are not a bellwether.... [12] Retirement inequality has not worsened due to the shift from traditional pensions to 401(k)s.... [13] The real gap in retirement savings is in government." (National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA])
Crowdout in the Decumulation Phase: Evidence from the First Year of Required Minimum Distributions
"This study estimates the extent to which a policy-induced increase in distributions at retirement crowds out dissaving from taxable assets.... The study shows that retirement distributions at age 70 vary discontinuously at a statutory threshold in exact day of birth. Using this discontinuity as a first stage, the study finds that taxable saving becomes more positive (or less negative) among those whose retirement distributions are induced to be higher. In the baseline specification, ratio at which induced retirement contributions crowd out taxable dissaving is estimated to be 0.42." (Lucas Goodman, via SSRN)
The New Social Contract: Empowering Individuals in a Transitioning World (PDF)
Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2019; 80 pages. "This year's survey report delves further into the specifics of a new social contract with an emphasis on empowering individuals to play a greater role in their preparations in our transitioning world. It outlines the Five Fundamentals for Retirement Readiness, which are action steps they can and should be taking right now. It also outlines specific recommendations for governments, employers, industry, and other social partners to begin building the new social contract." (Aegon)
Defined Contribution Plans and the Challenge of Financial Illiteracy
"[The authors] show that people whose only exposure to investment decisions is by virtue of their participation in an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan ... suffer from higher levels of financial illiteracy than other investors. This lack of financial literacy is critical both because of the financial consequences of poor financial decisions and because of a legal structure that relies on participant choice to limit the fiduciary obligations of the employer with respect to the structure and options provided by the retirement plan.... [The authors] propose mandated employer-provided financial education ... [and] identify and discuss three requirements that a financial education program should incorporate." (Jill E. Fisch, Annamaria Lusardi, and Andrea Hasler, via SSRN)
[Opinion] Urban Institute Testimony to House Budget Committee on Promoting Middle-Class Retirement Security: The Importance of Accounting for Inequality in Resources, Burdens, and Risk (PDF)
29 pages. "Social Security is the bedrock of the US income security system.... For many, employer-sponsored retirement plans and Social Security complement one another, but access to such plans is not yet universal, and government subsidies to these plans now mostly go to those who need them least.... Medicare is a vital support for older Americans.... Americans face a significant, unpredictable risk of needing long-term services and supports. For many, this is the largest financial risk in retirement.... Decades of income stagnation and high levels of inequality in health risks have compounded many of these challenges." (Urban Institute)
New Bill Links 401(k) Matches to Student Loan Payments
"Among other changes, such as stepping up the age for required minimum distributions, ... the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2019 allows companies to match an employee's student loan payment in the form of a contribution to their workplace retirement plan.... The student loan provision would effectively apply universal approval to a practice that has been gaining traction on a one-off basis, requiring private-letter rulings from the [IRS]." (InvestmentNews; subscription may be required)
Senate Finance Committee Hearing: Challenges in the Retirement System
May 14 hearing. Page includes video of hearing along with statements from Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and testimony from witnesses: [1] Joni Tibbetts, The Principal Financial Group; [2] The Honorable Tobias Read, State of Oregon; [3] Joan Ruff, AARP; and [4] Lynn D. Dudley, American Benefits Council. (Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate)
Age and Wisdom: Retirement Readiness in the U.S., U.K. and Australia (PDF)
11 pages. "In 2015, the American Academy of Actuaries, the Australian Actuaries Institute and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the United Kingdom identified longevity risk ... as a major issue in all three countries ... [T]he survey sought to identify significant differences in the perceptions of and planning for a secure retirement.... This article seeks to explore more deeply the differences in response by age in that original survey, focusing on the U.S. respondents in the 2016 survey but with a comparative look at the responses from Australia and the U.K." (Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS])
GAO Issues Report on IRA and Retirement Plan Early Withdrawals
"Survey interviewees offered suggestions on steps that could be taken to limit early retirement plan distributions. [1] Allow continued repayment of outstanding plan loans after separation from employment ... [2] Restrict early access to employer-made retirement plan contributions. [3] Encourage partial distributions (rather than lump sums) when an employee separates from service with an employer. [4] Build emergency savings features into employer-sponsored retirement plans, with access criteria that differ from amounts earmarked for retirement." (Ascensus)
Senate Confirms New PBGC Director
"Gordon Hartogensis was approved by the Senate [on April 30] to serve as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Mr. Hartogensis, who was confirmed by a vote of 72-27, replaces W. Thomas Reeder Jr., who was nominated by Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in October 2015." (Pensions & Investments)
GAO Report: Retirement Savings -- Additional Data and Analysis Could Provide Insight Into Early Withdrawals
"For both IRAs and 401(k) plans, GAO was asked to examine: [1] the incidence and amount of early withdrawals; [2] factors that might lead individuals to access retirement savings early; and [3] policies and strategies that might reduce the incidence and amounts of early withdrawals.... GAO recommends that, as part of revising the Form 5500, DOL and IRS require plan sponsors to report the incidence and amount of all 401(k) plan loans that are not repaid." [GAO-19-179, pub. Mar. 28, 2019; released Apr. 29, 2019; 60 pages] (U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO])
[Opinion] Multiemployer Plan Reforms are Needed Before It's Too Late
"[I]ncreasing PBGC premiums alone will not save the multiemployer system. A variable-rate premium could encourage better funding. Without other reforms, however, it could drive more employers out of the system. Among the reforms that have been suggested are stakeholder premiums, changes to funding, withdrawal liability, and benefit adjustment rules, stronger governance rules, and clearer rules on plan termination and windup." (The Wagner Law Group)
Proposed Legislation Would Provide Plan Sponsors Opportunity to Provide 401(k) Match on Student Loan Repayments
"[T]he Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act ... would allow employers to pair student loan payments with 401(k) savings.... [by giving] employers the option to match student loan payments with 401(k) contributions. Currently, contingent benefits rules make it difficult for employers to link workplace benefits in this fashion and so few employers choose to do so." (Hall Benefits Law)
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Notice 2019-30: Public Comment Invited on Recommendations for 2019-2020 Priority Guidance Plan (PDF)
"The Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy and the Service use the Priority Guidance Plan each year to identify and prioritize the tax issues that should be addressed through regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices, and other published administrative guidance.... Please submit recommendations by Friday, June 7, 2019, for possible inclusion on the original 2019-2020 Priority Guidance Plan." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
CBO Interactive Tool: How Changing Social Security Could Affect Beneficiaries and the System's Finances
"This interactive tool allows the user to explore seven policy options that could be used to improve the Social Security program's finances and delay the trust funds' exhaustion. Four options would reduce benefits, and three options would increase payroll taxes. The tool allows for any combination of those options. It also lets the user change implementation dates and choose whether to show scheduled or payable benefits.... The tool also shows the impact of the options on different groups of people." (Congressional Budget Office [CBO])
[Guidance Overview] New Jersey to Require Certain Employers to Participate in 'Auto-IRA' Program
"Employers will be ... required to automatically enroll their employees in the New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program if they: [1] Employed no fewer than 25 employees at all times in New Jersey in the prior year; [2] Have been in business for at least two years; and [3] Have not offered a qualified retirement plan ... Implementation of the Program and the beginning of employee enrollment are to occur by March 28, 2021[.]" (Epstein Becker Green)
ERISA Advisory Council Recommends Safe Harbor for Lifetime Income
"[The Council] recommended that the DOL amend the qualified default investment alternative [QDIA] rule to address ... the permissibility of including fixed annuities, living benefits and other lifetime income approaches in a QDIA, and address the importance of tailoring QDIA options to affected participants, similar to rules applicable to QDIA balanced funds." (Pensions & Investments)
ERISA Advisory Council Finds Noncompliance With ERISA Fidelity Bond Rules
"[T]he ERISA Advisory Council is recommending that the [DOL] relaunch the updated rules it published in [FAB 2008-04], this time focusing directly on plan sponsors and other plan officials and plan service providers as the targeted audience.... [T]he Council says the instances of noncompliance are concentrated in the small plan market[.]" (planadviser)
[Opinion] America's Retirement System Is a Mess -- This New Legislation Can Help
"While it's probably unrealistic to expect a return to widespread pension coverage, this new legislation fosters better retirement security by encouraging employers to include annuities as an option their employees can buy with their payroll retirement contributions. With annuities, retirees purchase their own pensions from an annuity provider, and receive that money back as regular payments for as long as they live -- ensuring a steady stream of income throughout their retirement." (The Brookings Institution)
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