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All News > Retirement Plan Administration

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Editor's Pick One Cent, Two Cents, Red Cents, Blue Cents: What Counts as Plan Compensation?
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center Link to more items from this source
Mar. 5, 2021

"It is amazingly common for folks to lose track of where compensation for plan purposes should come from. Between the different possible entity types, there are different ways that companies should treat compensation and pull the data for census purposes."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

California Public Agency Plan Administrators Need to Keep Track of Participants Before They Go 'Missing'
Best Best & Krieger LLP Link to more items from this source
Mar. 5, 2021

"[P]ublic agency plans in California are subject to ERISA-like rules and would benefit from following the DOL's recent guidance on missing participants ... [which] identified [specific] 'red flags' as indicators of a missing participant problem."

Tags: Local Regulation  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  State and Local Government Plans

SECURE Act Changes: Risks and Opportunities
HUB International Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Mar. 4, 2021

"Some changes are required, others are optional. Some provisions have tight deadlines. Others give you more breathing room. And, relevance depends on your plan and its pool of participants and variations like numbers of full- to part-time workers."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design  •  SECURE Act

The Benefits of Enacting a Plan Sponsor Philosophy
Portfolio Evaluations, Inc. Link to more items from this source
Mar. 3, 2021

"[A Philosophy] serves to direct a committee's thinking in carrying out their fiduciary duties -- a constant reminder that while regulatory obligations and industry best practices need to be met and followed, they are the means to achieving a plan's purpose, not the end."

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Higher Education Institutions Turn to Retirement Plan Service Providers to Help Address Unprecedented Challenges (PDF)
Transamerica Link to more items from this source
Mar. 3, 2021

"Nearly three out of five institutions report increased demand for investment and in-plan retirement income opportunities and one in four report an increased need for access to professionally managed accounts."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design

Research Finds Women Outperforming Men in Managing DC Plans
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
Mar. 2, 2021

"Morningstar used the Form 5500 data to track auto enrollment, defaults and compliance with ERISA's Section 404(c) from 2009 to 2017.... When researchers compared female vs. male administrators over time with the growth of the three factors over time, they concluded women did a better job."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

Partial Plan Termination Relief Not a Free Pass for Reportable Events
Mercer Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Mar. 2, 2021

"Pandemic relief in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act may help defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors with large workforce reductions avoid the cost of a partial plan termination ... But the relief won't excuse sponsors from the [PBGC] reporting requirements for an active-participant reduction."

Tags: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Outbreak Extension Period: When Does It End?
Trucker Huss Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Mar. 2, 2021

"[T]he Plan Administrator could choose to voluntarily extend the tolling period until the end of the Outbreak Period for all impacted deadlines.... [F]or fully-insured coverage, the carrier would need to agree (which may be unlikely); and for self-funded plans with stop loss coverage, it would need to be permitted under the stop loss policy."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

District Court: Benefit Denial Letter Omission Renders Limitations Period Unenforceable
Faegre Drinker Link to more items from this source
Mar. 2, 2021

"An Illinois federal court recently held that the failure to identify a contractual limitations period in a benefits denial letter renders the limitations period unenforceable, even before applicable regulations were changed to expressly require that the limitations period be included." [Hewitt v. Lincoln Financial Corp., No. 18-8235 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 2, 2021)]

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Daily Valuation of Alternative Assets in DC Plans a Framework for Plan Sponsors and Industry Stakeholders (PDF)
Defined Contribution Alternatives Association [DCALTA] Link to more items from this source
Mar. 1, 2021

12 pages. "[T]his paper sets out a detailed operational framework for the daily valuation of private assets. Using an existing approach, [the authors] describe a robust and scalable daily valuation procedure that can help meet both legal and operational requirements of plan sponsors."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Investments

Agencies Clarify Outbreak Period Relief Due to COVID-19
Winston & Strawn LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Mar. 1, 2021

"[T]he DOL notes that prior disclosures made to plan participants during the pandemic regarding the mechanics of the Outbreak Period may need to be revised and reissued if they failed to provide accurate information regarding the time in which participants and beneficiaries were required to act."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Suspended Deadlines Under ERISA, Part Two: Sound the Alarm!
Morgan Lewis Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Mar. 1, 2021

"The Notice encourages plan fiduciaries to be proactive about communicating these changes so participants and beneficiaries are aware that deadlines may expire soon. Plan fiduciaries will also need to revisit this once the National Emergency ends to decide whether to provide additional communications at that time. In fact, the Agencies suggest that supplemental notices may be necessary to fulfill ERISA fiduciary duties."

Tags: Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

New Guidance from DOL Regarding the Suspension of Certain Employee Benefit Plan Deadlines Due to COVID-19
Akerman Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Mar. 1, 2021

"[I]ndividuals and plans with deadlines that are suspended pursuant to the previously-issued rule will have the applicable periods under the Notices disregarded until the earlier of: [1] one year from the date they were 'first eligible for relief' ... or [2] 60 days after the announced end of the National Emergency."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  HIPAA  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Text of EBSA Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 26, 2021

"Subject to the statutory duration limitation in ERISA section 518 and Code section 7508A, all group health plans, disability and other employee welfare benefit plans, and employee pension benefit plans subject to ERISA or the Code must disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until sixty [60] days after the announced end of the National Emergency or such other date announced by the Agencies in a future notification (the 'Outbreak Period") for all plan participants, beneficiaries, qualified beneficiaries, or claimants wherever located in determining the following periods and date:

  1. The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable) to request special enrollment under ERISA section 701(f) and Code section 9801(f),
  2. The 60-day election period for COBRA continuation coverage under ERISA section 605 and Code section 4980B(f)(5),
  3. The date for making COBRA premium payments pursuant to ERISA section 602(2)(C) and (3) and Code section 4980B(f)(2)(B)(iii) and (C),
  4. The date for individuals to notify the plan of a qualifying event or determination of disability under ERISA section 606(a)(3) and Code section 4980B(f)(6)(C),
  5. The date within which individuals may file a benefit claim under the plan's claims procedure pursuant to 29 CFR 2560.503-1,
  6. The date within which claimants may file an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan's claims procedure pursuant to 29 CFR 2560.503-1(h),
  7. The date within which claimants may file a request for an external review after receipt of an adverse benefit determination or final internal adverse benefit determination pursuant to 29 CFR 2590.715-2719(d)(2)(i) and 26 CFR 54.9815-2719(d)(2)(i), and
  8. The date within which a claimant may file information to perfect a request for external review upon a finding that the request was not complete pursuant to 29 CFR 2590.715-2719(d)(2)(ii) and 26 CFR 54.9815-2719(d)(2)(ii)....

"With respect to group health plans, and their sponsors and administrators, the Outbreak Period shall be disregarded when determining the date for providing a COBRA election notice under ERISA section 606(c) and Code section 4980B(f)(6)(D)."

Tags: COBRA  •  Coronavirus (COVID-19)  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01: Guidance on Continuation of Relief for Employee Benefit Plans and Plan Participants and Beneficiaries Due to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Outbreak
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 26, 2021

"Individuals and plans with timeframes that are subject to the relief under the Notices will have the applicable periods under the Notices disregarded until the earlier of (a) 1 year from the date they were first eligible for relief, or (b) 60 days after the announced end of the National Emergency (the end of the Outbreak Period). On the applicable date, the timeframes for individuals and plans with periods that were previously disregarded under the Notices will resume. In no case will a disregarded period exceed 1 year."

Tags: COBRA  •  Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Text of PBGC Comprehensive Premium Filing Instructions for 2021 Plan Years (PDF)
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 26, 2021

67 pages. "This document provides information for plans paying premiums for plan years beginning in 2021, including instructions for each data element that must be reported."

Tags: PBGC  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Making Sense of DOL Guidance on Missing Participants
Keightley & Ashner LLP Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Feb. 26, 2021

"Although intended for EBSA investigative teams, [Compliance Assistance Release No. 2021-01] also provides a roadmap for fiduciaries to review their own plan operations, identify and resolve issues, and engage in process improvement."

Tags: Lost/Missing Participants  •  Retirement Plan Administration

IRS Announces Tax Relief for Oklahoma Severe Winter Storm Victims
Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Feb. 26, 2021

"Individuals and households affected by severe winter storms that reside or have a business in all 77 counties in Oklahoma qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after February 8, 2021, and before June 15, 2021 are postponed through June 15, 2021.... Taxpayers also have until June 15 to make 2020 IRA contributions."

Tags: Reporting to Government Agencies  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Avoid the Most Common 401(k) Compliance Error with These Best Practices
Cassell Plan Audits Link to more items from this source
Feb. 25, 2021

"[T]he first step is to audit all of your company's income types against the inclusions and exclusions outlined in your benefits plan, point by point. Make sure each compensation type is correctly flagged as eligible compensation for 401k contribution calculations."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Retirement Plan Administration

Retirement Apps Can Drive Engagement and Promote Positive Saving Behaviors
Corporate Insight Link to more items from this source
Feb. 25, 2021

"Those who reportedly log in to mobile platforms at least once a month tend to have a higher salary deferral rate, with 39% of these respondents contributing at least 11%.... [R]espondents (23%) who log in less than once per month ... mostly contribute 3%-6% (41%)."

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Design

Implementation and Launch of a New Benefits Administration Solution
bswift Link to more items from this source
Feb. 25, 2021

"Implementing your new solution ... Requirements gathering ... Site building and configuration ... Testing your solution ... Launching and communicating your solution."

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration

How Big Can a Retirement Plan Be and Still Qualify for the Small Plan Audit Exemption?
Belfint Lyons Shuman Link to more items from this source
Feb. 24, 2021

"In the good old days, if you had more than 100 or 120 participants, as applicable, you had a large plan -- AUDIT REQUIRED! Pursuant to the SECURE ACT, however, starting on January 1, 2021, a group of Small Plans can band together in one Pooled Employer Plan (PEP) and still escape the audit requirement, but only until the total number of participants in the PEP reaches 1,000 (or one of the Small Plans becomes a Large Plan)."

Tags: MEP/PEP  •  Reporting to Government Agencies  •  Retirement Plan Administration  •  SECURE Act

Editor's Pick Partial Plan Terminations and the Consolidated Appropriations Act
Hall Benefits Law Link to more items from this source
Feb. 24, 2021

"[The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021] possibly offers relief for partial plan terminations that occur in either 2020 or 2021, even if the employer-initiated terminations occurred prior to March 13, 2020 or after March 31, 2021.... [L]egislation extending or modifying the relief period is likely."

Tags: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021   •  Retirement Plan Administration

TPAing in the Time of COVID, Part I
TriStar Pension Consulting Link to more items from this source
Feb. 23, 2021

"The COVID-19 pandemic presented our industry with new and unusual challenges. It also brought old challenges to light and required us to address them immediately rather than postponing them ... until the end of next busy season or even the end of the busy season after that.... Making your workforce entirely remote in 24 hours … and then what? ... The CARES Act ... How on earth does Zoom work? ... How on earth do we keep our sanity?"

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration

District Court Denies Dismissal for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies; Highlights Importance of Communication About Appeal Procedures
Roberts Disability Law Link to more items from this source
Feb. 23, 2021

"The court explained how Ferguson's attorney asked the Plan Administrator to explain in writing whether there was a grievance policy, and he did not respond to that request.... The court found that Ferguson and McClinton did not have to appeal the denial of their administrative breach of fiduciary claim for two reasons: [1] Section 8.7 states that they 'may appeal;' and [2] requiring them to appeal would be a futile exercise because the Retirement Committee already decided Drake's appeal which involves the same claims and sought-after remedies." [Ferguson v. BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc., No. 19-1135 (N.D. Ala. Feb. 19, 2021)]

Tags: Health Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Administration


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