EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com logo BenefitsLink.com logo

BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

March 1, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
         Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Sr. Compliance Administrator
for VALIC in TX

Retirement Plan Administrator
for PenSys, Inc. in CA

RS Operational Consultant
for MassMutual Financial Group in MA

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Valley Forge Pension Management in PA

401(k) Administrator
for Mid-Atlantic Pension Specialists, Inc. in PA

Junior Pension Administrator
for Priority Pension Services, Inc. in CA

Assistant Manager, Distributions
for RPG Consultants in NY

Retirement Security Education Counselor, Part-time
for Prudential in NY

Post Your Job on employeebenefitsjobs.com

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program And Abandoned Plan Workshop
in Kentucky on March 18, 2013 presented by U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Employee Plan Compliance Resolution Systems (EPCRS)2013
Nationwide on March 28, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Health Care Reform: Employer "Shared Responsibility" Penalty Recorded Webcast
Nationwide on March 31, 2013 presented by Jackson Lewis LLP

Form 5500 Update
Nationwide on March 26, 2013 presented by McKay Hochman Co., Inc.

Strategic Implementation of Employer Shared Responsibility Rules Webinar
Nationwide on March 21, 2013 presented by Findley Davies, Inc.

Healthcare Benefits Forum
in Pennsylvania on May 9, 2013 presented by Conrad Siegel

View All Webcasts and Conferences

We also publish the BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe


[Official Guidance]

From DOL: 'Target Date Retirement Funds: -- Tips for ERISA Plan Fiduciaries' (PDF)
"[EBSA] prepared the following general guidance to assist plan fiduciaries in selecting and monitoring TDFs and other investment options in 401(k) and similar participant-directed individual account plans. [Topics include:] Establish a process for the periodic review of selected TDFs.... Understand the fund's investments -- the allocation in different asset classes (stocks, bonds, cash), individual investments, and how these will change over time.... Review the fund's fees and investment expenses... Inquire about whether a custom or non-proprietary target date fund would be a better fit for your plan.... Develop effective employee communications.... Take advantage of available sources of information to evaluate the TDF and recommendations you received regarding the TDF selection.... Document the process." (Employee Benefits Security Administration)


Industry Education Begins with RPF

Sponsored by ASPPA

Earn Your RPF Certificate and start your journey to a credential. RPF webcourses, texts and exams cover terminology, issues, and requirements for anyone starting the credential process or building a career. Start your journey today.

[Official Guidance]

Handouts from IRS Phone Forum on 2012 Cumulative List of Changes in Plan Qualification, February 28, 2013 (PDF)
Topics in this phone forum included: Current determination letter program; Changes to determination filing procedures for Cycle C - IRS Re. Proc. 2013-6; Changes to determination letter submissions related to VC; Cumulative List change items -- Notice 2012-76; Future possible changes and program guidance. (Internal Revenue Service)

Understanding the Role of the Investment Fiduciary (PDF)
"A guide for those responsible for a 401(k), 403(b), or profit sharing plan's investments[:] Who is considered a fiduciary with respect to a plan's investments? ... What are the basic responsibilities of a plan's investment fiduciaries? ... What happens if a fiduciary does not fulfill his or her duties? ... I am an investment fiduciary, but I am not an expert. Can I outsource my liability? ... What type of fiduciary should I hire to help us oversee our plan?" (Conrad Siegel Actuaries)

Oppenheimer Wins Dismissal of Pension Plan Suit Over Fund Valuation
"The retirement boards of Brockton and Quincy [Massachusetts] had sued over Oppenheimer Global Resource Private Equity Fund I and its investment in a fund called Cartesian Investor-A, , according to the complaint. Cartesian's assets were shares in S.C. Fondul Proprietatea SA (FP), which Romania created to compensate citizens whose property was seized under the former Communist regime. The pension plans claimed that in an 'aggressive marketing campaign,' Oppenheimer changed the valuation method for the Cartesian holdings, which caused the stated return of the Oppenheimer fund [according to the complaint] to be 'vastly overstated'." (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

Top 10 Questions (and Answers) to Help Advisors Address DOL Audit Questions Under Section 408(b)(2) of ERISA
"This guide provides a 'Top 10 List' of questions and answers to help financial professionals: [1] prepare for questions they may receive as a result of a DOL audit concerning the 'covered service provider' role, their compensation and the reasonableness of the service arrangement; [2] clarify the different roles they play, dispel misconceptions and explain the value proposition and quality of services they bring to plan clients; and [3] ensure the fees charged by their firm are effectively evaluated against those of comparable providers[.]" (Principal Financial Group)


Try Plan Sponsor Video FREE for a limited Time.

Sponsored by Gross Strategic Marketing

Try Plan Sponsor Video FREE for a limited Time. Our 60-day Sign & Drive offer is really easy. FREE: GSM-hosted web page with your branding, video hosting for your audience, access to the PSV Library, and GSM-hosted email template and messaging.

401(k) Plans: Potential Commodity Pool Issues in the United States
"While a number of Participant-Directed Plans are the subject of exclusion notices that have been filed with the NFA by trustees, named or designated fiduciaries, or employers, many such plans -- and indeed maybe the overwhelming majority of such plans -- are not the subject of NFA exclusion filings. ... [R]ecently [there] has been increased concern by some that those in charge of Participant-Directed Plans should consider whether to file an NFA notice (and make related disclosure to plan participants and beneficiaries)." (Dechert LLP)

More Plan Sponsors Intend to Offer Pension Cash-Out Option (PDF)
"Nearly four in 10 employers with defined benefit plans say they are at least somewhat likely to offer terminated vested participants and/or retirees a lump-sum option during a specified time period in 2013, compared with 7 percent that actually made such a move in 2012 ... Pension 'de-risking' strategies have been defended as necessary for businesses to reduce their pension liabilities but criticized as putting retired and former employees' retirement security at risk[.]" (Bloomberg BNA, via Pension Rights Center)

Target-Date Fund Adoption in 2012
"In 2012, more than one-third of all Vanguard participants were invested in a professionally managed account option, including 27% who were invested in a single target-date fund (TDF). Use of TDFs in defined contribution (DC) plans continued to grow rapidly. At the end of 2012, 84% of plans offered a TDF, half of all participants had a position in the funds, and the funds accounted for 31% of total plan contributions." (The Vanguard Group, Inc.)

GOP Sequester Alternative Targets Federal Employees' Pay and Benefits
"[T]he 2013 Sequester Replacement and Spending Reduction Act ... includes provisions to extend the federal pay freeze through 2014 and increase current employees' pension contributions by 2.3 percent over three years. The bill ends the government's Federal Employees Retirement System annuity supplement for anyone hired after Dec. 31, 2013.... The legislation is similar to several attempts by lawmakers in both chambers to decrease the pay and benefits of federal employees in the name of deficit reduction." (GovExec.com)

Evolving Role of Defined Contribution Plans in the Public Sector (PDF)
21 presentation slides. Topics include: Changing Workforce and Fiscal Condition of Governments; Revisions to Pension Plans; Reduction in Workforce; Evolving Compensation Philosophy; Impact of Rethinking; Income replacement reductions from traditional pensions; Increased importance of individual savings. (NAGDCA)

Investors Saving beyond Workplace Savings Plans: Average Combined Balance Exceeds $225,000
"Reviewing the savings behaviors of investors during 2012, Fidelity examined the account balances and contributions of those using a workplace 401(k) or 403(b) and an IRA. The key findings include: ... While the combined average balance for investors in their 20s was $30,200, the numbers steadily increase with age -- up to $397,400 for those who are on the verge of or entering retirement (between the ages of 65 and 69).... The average combined contribution for investors in their 20s was $6,000 and gradually increased with age. The average combined contribution for all investors in the population was $11,150." (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies)

The Latest on America's 401(k)s
"According to Fidelity Investments ... the average account balance increased by 12 percent in 2012 to $77,300, the highest recorded since 2000. That was a dramatic turnaround from the recent low level of $46,200 in the first quarter of 2009. Still, when adjusted for inflation, the fund company acknowledges that 401(k) balances were higher during the first half of 2000 than they are now -- ouch!" (Chicago Tribune)

Fidelity Analysis Reveals Retirement Savings Are Increasing
"The findings show an average combined retirement savings balance of more than $225,000, with an average yearly contribution of more than $11,000. The analysis is based on individuals with both an IRA and 401(k) or 403(b) balances at Fidelity as of year-end 2012. This is significant in that it shows employees are not relying solely on workplace-sponsored plans but are increasingly taking control of their personal retirement goals." (Financial Advisor)

Change in Average 401(k) Account Balances by Age and Tenure, Updated as of February 28, 2013
Reports show change in average account balances (by age and tenure) from January 1, 2011 through March 1, 2013. (EBRI)

A New 401(k) Success Formula: Low Cost Plus Advice
"A growing number of employers are adding unbiased third-party investment guidance options as they work to improve their retirement plans. The advice can add to your investment costs, but it's coming from the best type of planner: independent advisers who have the fiduciary responsibility to put client interests first." (Reuters)

More Canadians to Make RRSP Contributions But with Less Money
"The Bank of Montreal found that 63 per cent of Canadians have contributed or will contribute by the deadline, up from 38 per cent last year. But the average RRSP contribution amount was $3,544, down $1,100 from 2012 ... Canadians may not be putting away too much into retirement savings because they may already feel squeezed by everyday expenditures and paying down debt." (Ottawa Business Journal)


Broke Public Pension Funds and Exotic Boondoggles
"The [Contra Costa, California] pension fund reported total unfunded liabilities of $1.215 billion. After Moody's adjustments have been applied, they explode to $3.519 billion. It gets worse. To paper over pension deficits, governments issue Pension Obligation Bonds (POB), which are often not reported as liabilities by pension funds. Pension funds grab the cash, governments hold the debt. When Contra Costa County's $516 million in POBs are included, total unfunded pension liabilities rise to $4.037 billion -- over 3.3 times the reported amount." (Business Insider)


Problems With Morningstar's New Rating System for Actively-Managed Mutual Funds
"Morningstar unveiled a new rating system in late 2011. This system sought to avoid 'recency bias' by keeping a long-term perspective and by not being influenced by 'what investors are buying and selling'.... Fast forward one year. How did the new ratings system do in 2012? Not well." (U.S.News and World Report)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Hodgson Russ Employee Benefits Developments, February 2013
Articles Include: Health Care Reform: HHS Proposes Substantial Reinsurance Fee; No ERISA Section 510 Violations Found in Pair of Sixth Circuit Cases; Failure to Process Rollover Request May Constitute Fiduciary Breach; Improper Delegation to TPA Results in Loss of Deferential Review; Eighth Circuit Upholds Company Denial of Severance Benefits. (Hodgson Russ LLP)

Press Releases

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

Copyright © 2013 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. but feel free to forward this newsletter if done without modification in any way.

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

Useful links: