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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

February 14, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Associate/Consultant - Benefits Consulting
for Fidelity Investments in NC

Plan Consultant
for Benefit Plans Administrative Services (BPAS) in PA

Retirement Team Manager
for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in AZ

Consulting Actuary
for Charles Schwab in OH

Client Services Sr. Manager
for Charles Schwab in TX

Director - Relationship Manager
for Charles Schwab in CO

Client Service Manager
for Charles Schwab in AZ

Education Consultants Managing Director
for Charles Schwab in OH

Business Acceptance Consultant
for Charles Schwab in OH

Document and Technical Services Sr. Specialist
for Charles Schwab in TX

Defined Contribution Pension Plan Administrator
for The Angell Pension Group, Inc. in ANY STATE

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Webcasts and Conferences

Getting to Loyal: How Legal Services Distinguish Your Company & Help Satisfy Employees
Nationwide on February 25, 2013 presented by Hyatt Legal Plans, a MetLife company

4th Annual Financial Advisor Retirement Symposium
in Florida on March 12, 2013 presented by Financial Advisor and Private Wealth Magazines

Behind the Scenes of IRS Employee Plans Enforcement Strategies Webinar
Nationwide on February 28, 2013 presented by Employee Benefit Adviser

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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[Official Guidance]

IRS Employee Plans News, February 13, 2013
Articles include: 403(b) plan audits -- how the new correction revenue procedure affects current and future audits of 403(b) plans; Voluntary Correction Program Submission Kit for 403(b) plan sponsors who missed the December 31, 2009, deadline to adopt a written plan; SIMPLE IRA plan -- exclusive-plan requirement explains when you can have a SIMPLE IRA plan after terminating another qualified plan; and 401(k) Excess Deferral Project found errors in elective deferrals reported on Form W-2, Box 12. (Internal Revenue Service)


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[Official Guidance]

PBGC Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans for March, 2013
"The March 2013 interest assumptions under the benefit payments regulation will be 1.00 percent for the period during which a benefit is in pay status and 4.00 percent during any years preceding the benefit's placement in pay status. In comparison with the interest assumptions in effect for February 2013, these interest assumptions represent an increase of 0.25 percent in the immediate annuity rate and are otherwise unchanged." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)

[Official Guidance]

DOL Extends Comment Period for Proposed Amendment to Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2006-06 for Services Provided in Connection with the Termination of Abandoned Individual Account Plans
"The proposed amendment to PTE 2006-06 would expand the definition of a qualified termination administrator (a QTA) to include bankruptcy trustees and certain persons designated by such trustees to act as QTAs. The Department is proposing the amendment because it has determined that, in certain instances, it may be appropriate for a bankruptcy trustee to provide termination services to a plan. The comment period was scheduled to close on February 11, 2013.... [T]he Department is extending the comment period for the proposed amendment to PTE 2006-06 to March 18, 2013." (U.S. Department of Labor)

[Official Guidance]

IRS Employee Plans FY 2012 Annual Report and FY 2013 Workplan (PDF)
Highlights of recent and upcoming guidance, examination projects and outreach efforts. Excerpt: "Employee Plans' four operation priorities for fiscal year 2013 are: ... continue to analyze and use the data from the 401(k) questionnaire project and dialogue with 401(k) stakeholders to address compliance in the 401(k) market segment.... Opening the 403(b) pre-approved plan program that will assist plan sponsors in complying with the 403(b) written plan requirement ... Sharing our examination results within the 403(b) community to reduce common error trends." (Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Resolves Important ERISA Issues About Cleared Swap Transactions (PDF)
"Retirement plans are regular and sophisticated users of swap contracts in their investment portfolios. These plans are also regularly subject to the fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction rules of ERISA or the Internal Revenue Code. A concern had arisen about the potential ERISA consequences of the participation by retirement plans in mandatory clearing, including whether a Clearing Member could be deemed an ERISA 'fiduciary,' subject to ERISA statutory obligations to act exclusively for a retirement plan in a manner fundamentally inconsistent with its obligations as a clearing member." (Sutherland)

Retirement Balances of 401(k) Faithfuls Quadrupled in Past Decade
"U.S. workers who stayed put in the same company 401(k) plan for the past decade saw the size of their accounts quadruple to an average of nearly $200,000, despite major stock market turmoil ... The results underscore the stock market's recent resurgence and how important it is for 401(k) participants to keep contributing to their accounts, even when their balances decline, like they did during the height of the financial crisis. This is good feedback for young workers, too, because more 401(k) plans automatically enroll them in retirement plans while escalating their contribution rates each year, experts said." (Reuters)

Pension Finance and MAP-21 Update as of January 31, 2013 (PDF)
"Pension sponsors enjoyed a strong boost in January, building on improvements seen in the last five months of 2012. The two 'model' plans ... both saw improvements in funded status last month -- with traditional 'Plan A' improving by more than 5%, while 'Plan B' gained almost 2%." (October Three)

Are You Doing a Quarterly Loan Checkup?
"Plan sponsors should check with their third party recordkeepers on a quarterly basis to check on the status of any loans for which payment is not current. Ideally, this checkup should occur a month or six weeks before the end of the calendar quarter to allow time to correct any loans that could inadvertently go into default (such as when a plan sponsor fails to process loan repayment elections due to a payroll error)." (Benefits Bryan Cave)

Five Retirement Myths to Avoid
"Make sure you aren't blindly following these common myths about retirement: A comfortable retirement is all about reaching a target net worth number.... Saving more is always the ideal choice.... There's a perfect withdrawal strategy.... You can map out retirement with good certainty. ... The last day of work is the finish line." (U.S.News and World Report)

What's Your Social Security Break-Even Age?
"The key things to keep in mind for [these three example] claiming ages is that someone who claims at 62 will receive benefits equal to only 75 percent of what they'd get if they wait until their full retirement age. And someone who waits until they turn 70 to claim will receive 132 percent as much as they would get by claiming at age 66." (U.S.News and World Report)

State of California to Defend Pension Reform Law from County Union Lawsuits
"After staying out of the fray for several months, Gov. Jerry Brown has asked attorney general Kamala Harris to defend California's new public pension law from lawsuits filed by employee unions in at least four counties.... While the lawsuits vary in the particulars, they share a common union contention that 'compensation earnable' -- various types of pay considered for pension purposes -- can't be altered for those existing members." (The Sacramento Bee)

Experts Question a Main Premise of Municipal Pension Reform
"Actuarial and financial investment experts told [Florida] lawmakers that an oft-quoted study by two non-profits is exaggerating the problems facing pensions for city and county workers throughout Florida.... [Both the CEO of a Fort Myers actuarial firm and] an investment manager at an Orlando firm said that a slumping stock market was largely to blame for flat returns from pension funds in recent years. But they both said that was about to change and now was not the time to overreact." (Miami Herald)

Compensation Matters: The Case of Teacher Pension Cuts
"Many public sector pension plans have recently cut pension benefits for new hires, thereby reducing compensation. One proxy for teacher quality is the average SAT score at a teacher's undergraduate institution. School districts with higher wages and/or higher pensions are able to hire teachers from institutions with higher SAT scores. Cutting compensation for new teachers is not costless, as it will likely reduce applicant quality." (Center for State & Local Government Excellence)

Early Retirement Incentives Making a Comeback Among Municipalities
"In 2012, several municipalities -- including Kalamazoo, Mich.; Southampton County, Va.; and Broome County, N.Y. -- offered early retirement incentives to eligible employees in an effort to save money. Whether these and similar incentives offered elsewhere achieve their desired results, however, is up for debate." (Governing)

Corporate DB Plans Eyeing Jump Through Lump-Sum Window
"More than one-third of corporate defined benefit plan sponsors are considering lump-sum payouts this year for retirees and vested former employees, up from 7% last year ... The survey also found an increase in liability-driven investing." (Pensions & Investments)


Five Ways to Fix Social Security
"Here are five potential Social Security changes, and how much of the budget shortfall they would address: Increase Social Security taxes.... Lift the payroll tax cap.... Raise the retirement age.... Means-test.... Change the cost-of-living adjustment." (U.S.News and World Report)


Policymakers Must Focus on Retirement Security Challenges
"The facts show that Americans are struggling to save and are lacking confidence in attaining a financially secure retirement. According to [the Insured Retirement Institute's] Baby Boomer research, only 36 percent of Americans aged 50 to 66 believe they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years. The work the Administration has done to promote lifetime income options within retirement plans has been laudable. The next step is to provide clarity to plan sponsors to alleviate their concerns so that in-plan options can become more broadly available." (Insured Retirement Institute)


Comparing Public Employee Benefits to the Private Sector: The Welch Factor
"There may be nine fallacies used to defend public-sector pensions but Dr. Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation propagates one major fallacy used to attack them when he avers: 'Primarily because DB benefits are guaranteed to workers while DC benefits are not, public-sector retirement benefits are almost always more generous than those of comparable private-sector workers.' Nothing could be more misleading ... or dangerous." (Burypensions)

Press Releases

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