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All News > Retirement Plan Policy

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Protecting and Expanding Retirement Options for America's Workers
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Blog Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Sept. 30, 2022

"More than 1 in 3 of plan participants withdraw part or all of their retirement plan assets following a job change, with lost savings amounting to between $60 billion and $105 billion per year. Decoupling retirement plans from individual employers could alleviate job-change-induced retirement savings loss.... State automatic individual retirement account programs can help workers save even when they don't have a workplace savings plan.... Workers should be able to easily take their retirement savings as they move from one job to another."

Tags: Retirement Plan Policy

Senate Confirms Lisa Gomez as EBSA Leader
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
Sept. 30, 2022

"More than 14 months after her nomination, the Senate on [September 29] confirmed Lisa M. Gomez as assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA] in a 49-36 vote."

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Text of EBSA Meeting Notice for ERISA Advisory Council
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Sept. 22, 2022

"[T]he 212th open meeting of the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (also known as the ERISA Advisory Council) will be held via a teleconference on Tuesday, October 18, 2022.... The purpose of the open meeting is for the members of the ERISA Advisory Council to discuss potential recommendations for the Secretary of Labor on the issues of: [1] Cybersecurity Issues Affecting Health Benefit Plans, and [2] Cybersecurity Insurance and Employee Benefit Plans. Descriptions of these topics are available on the ERISA Advisory Council's web page[.]"

Tags: Cybersecurity  •  Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Debate: Should the EARN Act Let Savers Tap 401(k)s to Pay for Long Term Care Insurance?
ThinkAdvisor Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Sept. 21, 2022

"In its current form, the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act would allow retirement savers to withdraw up to $2,500 in retirement plan assets each year to cover the cost of long-term care insurance premiums without paying the otherwise applicable early withdrawal penalties.... [ThinkAdvisor] asked two professors and authors of ALM's Tax Facts with opposing political viewpoints to share their opinions about the narrow provision allowing penalty-free withdrawals to cover long-term care insurance."

Tags: 401(k) Plans  •  Health Plan Costs  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Seventh Circuit Confirms DOL's Broad Subpoena Power
Faegre Drinker Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2022

"The Seventh Circuit's opinion is a good reminder of the breadth of the DOL's subpoena authority ... Recipients of DOL subpoenas should object in writing to each request they find objectionable and be able to clearly articulate the burden compliance would impose in terms of 'the number of documents implicated, the cost to produce those documents, the hours production would require, or how compliance would threaten the normal operation of' the recipient's business." [Walsh v. Alight Solutions LLC, No. 21-3290 (7th Cir. Aug. 12, 2022)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Policy

Here's Why the $39 Trillion U.S. Retirement System Gets a C+ Grade
CNBC Link to more items from this source
Sept. 21, 2022

"There are shortcomings in the U.S. approach, such as a lack of 401(k) access, experts say. But improvements have been made in the past 15 or so years.... Where the U.S. largely lags behind [other] countries ... is that its retirement system isn't set up so that everyone has a chance at a financially secure retirement."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

CRS Report on Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision
Congressional Research Service [CRS] Link to more items from this source
[Guidance Overview]
Sept. 20, 2022

19 pages. "The windfall elimination provision (WEP) ... reduces the Social Security benefits of certain retired or disabled workers who are also entitled to pension benefits based on earnings from jobs that were not covered by Social Security ... Recent legislation has generally proposed either to eliminate the provision for all or some affected beneficiaries, or replace the current-law provision with a new proportional formula based on past earnings from both covered and noncovered employment." [98-35 updated Sep. 19, 2022]

Tags: Retirement Plan Policy  •  Social Security

Supreme Court Asked to Provide Uniform ERISA Arbitration Guidelines
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
Sept. 19, 2022

"Cintas petitioned the Supreme Court because it disputed an April ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ... Appeals court judges rejected the use of arbitration, noting the key factor was the absence of the Cintas 401(k) plan's consent to arbitration.... Arbitration isn't prohibited in ERISA complaints, but the Cintas case is just part of the differing court rulings about arbitration in allegations of fiduciary mismanagement." [Hawkins v. Cintas Corp., No. 21-3156 (6th Cir. Apr. 27, 2022; cert. pet. filed Sep. 8, 2022)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Policy

Optimal Retirement Age and a Suggested Lower Bound on the Interest Rate
Nalinaksha Bhattacharyya, via SSRN Link to more items from this source
Sept. 16, 2022

"This paper generates a simple model to understand the interaction between current wealth, savings rate, interest rate and retirement age. The model also suggests a lower bound on the interest rate. The minimum interest rate at which Americans of median age with median wealth and median income, and retiring at the age of 67, turns out to be 10%."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

How Should Courts Analyze Arbitration Clauses in ERISA Plans?
Stephen Rosenberg, The Wagner Law Group Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Sept. 16, 2022

"In each instance -- contractual statutes of limitations, venue selection clauses and arbitration clauses -- courts have often approached the issue as though it were just another instance of private contracting and applied doctrinal approaches developed in the context of private contracts entered into at arm's length by the contracting counterparties. But to see the parties to an ERISA plan in that light requires imposing an extensive legal fiction."

Tags: Retirement Plan Policy

DOL Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuit Challenging Cryptocurrency Guidance
Pensions & Investments Link to more items from this source
Sept. 15, 2022

"[DOL] said the case should be dismissed for several reasons, including ForUsAll lacking standing to challenge the guidance because it hasn't alleged the guidance has caused it harm or that vacating the guidance 'would remedy this alleged injury.' Also, the department said its guidance 'does not constitute final agency action' on the crypto issue, nor is it required to submit interpretative rules and general agency policy statements to public notice and comment under the Administrative Procedure Act." [ForUsAll v. DOL, No. 22-1551 (D.D.C. motion to dismiss filed Sep. 12, 2022)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Senate Finance Leaders Formally Introduce EARN Act
American Retirement Association [ARA] Link to more items from this source
Sept. 9, 2022

"We now have legislative language for the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act -- and a quick review finds a change from the concept draft regarding catch-up contributions."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

District Court Compels Proposed ESOP Class to Individual Arbitration Based on Plan Document
Holland & Knight Link to more items from this source
Sept. 8, 2022

"[The opinion synthesizes] the historical case law and [provides] guidance and clarification on when mandatory class action waiver and arbitration provisions in ESOP plans are enforceable. Ultimately, the Court compelled the plaintiff to arbitrate her claim on an individual basis, enforcing the mandatory class action waiver and arbitration provisions set forth in the ESOP plan document." [Robertson v. Argent Trust Co., No. 21-1711 (D. Ariz. Jul. 27, 2022)]

Tags: ESOPs  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Defined Benefit Pensions Aren't the Answer to Retirement Readiness Anxiety
Allison Schrager via the The Washington Post; subscription may be required Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Sept. 6, 2022

"The future of retirement should be individual retirement accounts. We should phase out pensions in public sector jobs and make retirement accounts accessible to more people rather than enlarging Social Security."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

What's in the New 401(k) Retirement Bills
U.S. News & World Report Link to more items from this source
Aug. 31, 2022

"[Proposed] retirement bills would: [1] Increase the maximum annual contribution for retirement accounts by $4,000. [2] Increase the age when you must begin required minimum distributions. [3] Require automatic enrollment and escalation for employer-sponsored plans. [4] Increase the amount for the catch-up provision for those 50 and older. [5] Allow employers to help those who are burdened with student debt save for retirement."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

DOL Cybersecurity Investigations: The Trap Door to Endless Document Requests?
Groom Law Group Link to more items from this source
Aug. 29, 2022

"The Seventh Circuit is the first court ... to hold that non-fiduciaries fall within the scope of the DOL's investigatory authority under section 504(a).... The Seventh Circuit ... has provided targets of administrative subpoenas with a clear blueprint for demonstrating that the DOL's requests are unduly burdensome: they must articulate via affidavit or witness testimony precisely how responding will disrupt their normal business operations." [Walsh v. Alight Solutions LLC, No. 21-3290 (7th Cir. Aug. 12, 2022)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Second Circuit: Participant's 401(k) Plan Accounts Were Subject to Garnishment
Thomson Reuters Practical Law Link to more items from this source
Aug. 26, 2022

"After the participant was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, he was ordered to pay $10,447,979 in restitution.... [T]he government applied for a writ of garnishment ... [T]he Second Circuit concluded that the participant's 401(k) accounts were subject to garnishment but remanded to the district court to consider issues related to the 10% tax on early distributions." [United States v. Greebel, No. 21-993 (2d Cir. Aug. 24, 2022)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Second Circuit: ERISA Anti-Alienation Provision Does Not Protect 401(k) of Shkreli Co-Conspirator Lawyer
Bloomberg Law Link to more items from this source
Aug. 24, 2022

"A former Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP lawyer convicted of conspiring with Martin Shkreli to commit securities fraud can be forced to put part of his $921,000 retirement accounts toward his $10.4 million restitution order, the Second Circuit ruled ... In allowing portions of Greebel’s retirement accounts to be garnished, the Second Circuit acted in line with earlier decisions by the Fourth and Ninth circuits." [United States v. Greebel, No. 21-993 (2d Cir. Aug. 24, 2022)]

Tags: Retirement Plan Administration  •  Retirement Plan Policy

When Should Sanctions Be Imposed in ERISA Class Actions?
Euclid Specialty Managers Link to more items from this source
[Opinion]
Aug. 23, 2022

"[T]he Obeslo v. Great-West Capital Management, LLC lawsuit is not an ERISA class action and thus the legal standard to prove excessive fees is codified by statute.... [That standard] is unfortunately higher than how courts treat the same type of case under ERISA. But as copycat plaintiff lawyers push the boundaries of excessive fee and investment underperformance litigation, it is time for sanctions to be considered against lawyer-driven cases involving manufactured claims with no proof of a defective fiduciary process. " [Obeslo v. Great-West Capital Mgmt. LLC, No. 16-230 (D. Colo. Aug. 7, 2020; order granting motion for sanctions Sep. 28, 2020; order specifying sanctions Aug. 16, 2022)]

Tags: Fiduciary Duties  •  Retirement Plan Investments  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Text of EBSA Announcement of Public Hearing and Reopening of Comment Period on Proposed Changes to PTE Application Procedures
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Aug. 19, 2022

"[EBSA] will hold a virtual public hearing regarding the proposed amendment to its prohibited transaction exemption filing and processing procedures.... The public hearing will be held on September 15, 2022, and (if necessary) September 16, 2022 ... [The] comment period for the proposed amendment [will be reopened] on September 15, 2022. The Department will publish a Federal Register notice announcing that the hearing transcript is available on EBSA's webpage and when the reopened comment period closes."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Text of EBSA Request for Nominations: Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL] Link to more items from this source
[Official Guidance]
Aug. 18, 2022

"The terms of five Council members expire at the end of this year. The groups or fields they represent are as follows: [1] Employee organizations; [2] employers; [3] the general public; [4] insurance; and [5] accounting.... Nominations must be received on or before [45 days after publication in the Federal Register, currently scheduled for August 19, 2022]."

Tags: Health Plan Policy  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Senators Aim to Reverse DOL Positions on ESG, Crypto Investing
Mercer Link to more items from this source
Aug. 16, 2022

"While unlikely to advance this year with Democrats in charge of Congress, these GOP bills may foreshadow a major effort next year if Republicans take control of either chamber after this fall's midterm elections.... [The Maximize Americans' Retirement Security Act (S 4613)] would amend ERISA to require that plan fiduciaries select investments based 'solely on pecuniary factors,' which are factors expected to have a material effect on an investment's risk and return."

Tags: Retirement Plan Investments - ESG  •  Retirement Plan Policy

Risk Sharing in a Voluntary Retirement Plan (PDF)
Economic Policy Institute Link to more items from this source
Aug. 12, 2022

35 pages. "This study looks at the feasibility and fairness of adding two risk sharing mechanisms -- automatic annuitization and a reserve fund -- to Auto IRA and similar plans in the absence of other needed reforms.... Does it make sense for state-sponsored Auto IRA plans to offer guaranteed lifetime benefits ... if it is not politically possible to adopt other key features ... especially mandatory contributions and a progressive subsidy?"

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

SECURE Act 2.0 Would Bring Significant Changes for Retirement Plan Sponsors, IRA Providers, and Service Providers
Morgan Lewis Link to more items from this source
Aug. 11, 2022

"While there appears to be bipartisan support for many of the EARN Act's proposals, before being considered by Congress, there will need to be a reconciliation between the EARN Act and the other proposed retirement legislation.... [M]any are hopeful that the final version of the new retirement legislation, dubbed SECURE Act 2.0, will be passed later this year. A few of the EARN Act's key provisions affecting larger plan sponsors and IRA providers are summarized [in this article]."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

State-Mandated Retirement Plans for Private-Sector Employees Gain Traction
MassMutual Link to more items from this source
Aug. 11, 2022

"As of July 2022, 11 states have passed legislation authorizing auto-IRA programs. Six of those states ... have live programs.... There are more than 497,000 funded accounts with $457 million in retirement savings that can be traced to state mandates ... [One] estimate is that when all 11 states have live programs, they will provide retirement accounts to 31 percent of the current uncovered workforce, or 19 million workers."

Tags: Retirement Plan Design  •  Retirement Plan Policy

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