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March 29, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

ERISA/LTD Attorney
for Law Offices of Eric A.Shore in NJ, PA

401(k) Assistant Administrator
for Third Party Administrator in CA

Employee Benefits Financial Client Manager
for Willis North America in KS

Associate Vice President, Retirement Plan Consulting
for United Retirement Plan Consultants in AK

Consulting Support Specialist
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

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Webcasts and Conferences

10th Annual World Health Care Congress Live Webcast
Nationwide on April 8, 2013 presented by World Congress

Innovations in Workplace and Community Wellness: Advancing Private-Public Partnerships
in District of Columbia on April 3, 2013 presented by U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Des Moines
in Iowa on April 25, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - St. Louis
in Missouri on April 26, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

"401(k) Plan Workshop 2013: Tax Reform and the 401(k) Plan" - Syracuse
in New York on April 26, 2013 presented by SunGard Relius

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Rev. Proc. 2013-22: Opinion and Advisory Letter Procedures for Pre-Approved 403(b) plans (PDF)
"This revenue procedure sets forth the procedures of the Internal Revenue Service for issuing opinion and advisory letters for Section 403(b) pre-approved plans (that is, Section 403(b) prototype plans and Section 403(b) volume submitter plans). Under the program established by this revenue procedure, the Service will accept applications for opinion and advisory letters regarding the acceptability under Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of the form of prototype plans and volume submitter plans, respectively, starting June 28, 2013." (Internal Revenue Service)


Celebrate National Employee Benefits Day on April 2, 2013

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Employee Benefits Day recognizes benefits professionals for their dedication to providing quality benefits and the important role they play in their colleagues' well-being. In conjunction with the day, the highly anticipated ACA University will debut!

[Official Guidance]

Text of 403(b) Plan Sample Plan Provisions and Information Package (The '403(b) LRMs') (PDF)
"This information package contains samples of plan provisions that have been found to satisfy certain requirements of section 403(b) ... The Service has prepared this package to assist sponsors who are drafting section 403(b) pre-approved plans (that is, prototype and volume submitter plans), and to accelerate the review and approval of the plans." (Internal Revenue Service)

[Official Guidance]

Text of Grant of Individual Exemptions from Certain Prohibited Transaction Restrictions (PDF)
"This notice includes the following: 2013-01, UBS Financial Services Inc., D-11610; 2013-02, Atlas Energy, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan, D- 11664; 2013-03, Central Pacific Bank 401(k) Retirement and Savings Plan, D-11666; 2013-04, Silchester International Investors LLP, D-11671; 2013-05, EquiLend Holdings LLC, D-11724; and, 2013-06, Coca-Cola Company and Red Re, Inc., L-11738." (Employee Benefits Security Administration)

[Official Guidance]

Many Retirees Face April 1 Deadline To Take Required Retirement Plan Distributions
"The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers who turned 70 1/2 during 2012 that in most cases, they must start receiving required minimum distributions (RMD) from individual retirement accounts (IRA) and workplace retirement plans by Monday, April 1, 2013. The April 1 deadline applies to owners of traditional IRAs but not Roth IRAs. Normally, it also applies to participants in various workplace retirement plans including 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans. The special April 1 deadline only applies to the required distribution for the first year. For all subsequent years, the RMD must be made by Dec. 31." (Internal Revenue Service)

Moody's Downgrades Rating on Sacramento County Pension Obligation Bonds
"Moody's said the outlook is stable, reflecting 'as predicated on our expectation that the economy will continue to slowly improve while management controls costs to maintain general fund cash and reserve levels no worse than current amounts.'" (Reuters)


Learn, Network and Sell at the SPARK National Retirement Industry Conference - June 16-18, Washington DC

Sponsored by SPARK (Society of Professional Asset Record Keepers)

Join top industry recordkeepers, asset managers, TPAs, advisors, marketing and sales executives for unequaled educational and networking opportunities. Learn the latest market trends, business strategies, regulatory and legislative issues, and product developments.

Public Pension Reform Success Stories
"Most states and many municipalities have passed some kind of pension reform in recent years, but a smaller number have been able to do so in a way that addresses the immediate unfunded liability of their plans.... While the processes vary, the themes for progress are consistent: education, reciprocity and trust. While it may seem essentially a public relations campaign to engage employees and inform the public, it is by no means a simple road to meaningful reform. It can, however, be worth the effort." (Governing)

The Impact of On-line Calculators and Financial Advisors on Setting Adequate Retirement-Savings Targets (PDF)
"Those using an on-line calculator or asking a financial advisor appear to set more adequate savings targets, as measured by the probability of not running short of money in retirement. Those in the lowest-income quartile show a 9.1 -- 12.6 percentage point improvement (depending on family/gender) in the probability of not running short of money in retirement if a financial advisor has been asked, and a 14.6 -- 18.2 percentage point increase if an on-line calculator is used. Those who 'guessed' at a retirement savings target were less likely to choose an adequate target." (EBRI)

It's Not Lights-Out for Edison's Investment Committee
"[In view of] the Court's rejection of the safe harbor exception for plan fiduciaries when deciding a plan's investment options, Plan fiduciaries should be sure to probe the plan's financial advisors and consultants as to why their investment recommendations are prudent. This opinion also guides plan fiduciaries to present every crumb of evidence at trial that was considered by the plan fiduciaries, and their consultants, when deciding between shares of mutual funds." [Edison Int'l v. Tibble, No. 10-56406 (9th Cir. Mar. 21, 2013)] (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)

CalPERS Remains Cool on Commodities
"CalPERS pushed its allocation to inflation-linked assets to almost $10 billion by the end of January, 3.9 percent of the total fund, up from $7.6 billion, 3.0 percent, at the end of December. It was easily the largest allocation to inflation protection since the fund began reporting monthly numbers in this format in November 2011." (Reuters)

District Court Dismisses Stock-Drop Lawsuits Over Morgan Stanley Retirement Plans
"Plan participants contended that Morgan Stanley officials knew the risks of owning its stock were growing, citing $9.4 billion of mortgage securities-related writedowns in 2007, and increased market volatility that led to Bear Stearns Cos' demise and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc's bankruptcy the next year. They said Morgan Stanley should have done a better job of warning about the risks of owning its stock, and should not have been matching their contributions with company stock.... But U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts agreed with Morgan Stanley that continuing to offer its stock in the plans did not violate any duty of prudence." (Reuters)

How Do You Know What's Working in Your DC Plan?
"According to [a recent] survey, 65% of plan sponsors said they look to participation rates. Deferral rates (25%), savings to the match (19%), advice tools (10%) and employee satisfaction surveys (18%) were other measures used to benchmark plans. However, more than a quarter (28.5%) of plan sponsors said they were not using any measures at all to assess plan effectiveness." (PLANADVISER.com)

Maybe We Should Retire The Word 'Retire'
"Time was, the official portrait of a retired American included a steady, dependable pension; leisurely mornings puttering about the house in soft slippers -- maybe replacing the chain on the toilet tank ball or knitting a doorknob cozy ... No mas. 'I think the word "retired" needs to be retired,' says financial writer Kerry Hannon[.]" (National Public Radio)

A List of Form 5500 Audit Triggers for Retirement Plans
"[Recently] an IRS official responded to a question regarding which responses on the Form 5500 will increase the likelihood of audit.... [1] Line items that are left blank when the instructions require an answer.... [2] Inconsistencies in the data disclosed on the Form 5500 schedules.... [3] A large drop in the number of participants from one year to the next... [4] A large dollar amount in the 'Other' asset line on the Schedule H." (SunGard Relius)

Ninth Circuit: Plan Fiduciaries Breached Duty of Prudence by Failing to Investigate Possibility of Institutional Class Shares
"The participants and the [DOL], as amicus, urged the Court to adopt a 'continuing violation theory' to find that claims related to all six challenged plan investments were timely under ERISA section 413, ad long as those investments remained in the Plan. The Ninth Circuit rejected [this] theory, concluding that it would 'make has out of ERISA's limitation period and lead to an unworkable result.'" (Groom Law Group)

Cypen & Cypen Newsletter for March 28, 2013
Covers employee benefit developments with an emphasis on governmental plans. Topics include: [1] Brainard Says Plight of Public Pensions Not So Ominous; [2] Double-taxed on Plan Loans? [3] EBRI 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey; [4] Meeting the Retirement Challenge; and [5] Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations Survey Reveals Various Views on Retirement. (Cypen & Cypen)

Fourth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment in Case Challenging Financial Services Company's Use of Proprietary Products in Its Retirement Plans
"With respect to claims concerning the defined benefit plan, the Fourth Circuit found that, under the plan, the plaintiffs were entitled to receive only a fixed level of retirement benefits. As a result, any risk to the plan's investments resulting from the defendants' investment selection had no effect on the participants' benefit rights, particularly where the plan was over-funded." [David v. Alphin, 704 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 2013)] (Goodwin Procter LLP)

Significant Changes in Pension Plan Participation, 1979-2011 (PDF)
"[I]n 1979, fewer than 1 in 3 private-sector wage and salary workers participated only in a [DB] plan, while another 10 percent participated in both a DB plan and a [DC] plan. By 2011, just 3 percent participated only in a [DB] plan, while 11 percent were covered by both a DC and a DB. Roughly a third (31 percent) participated only in a DC plan." (EBRI)

IRS Official Describes Future Guidance Under Code Sec. 436
"The IRS is currently working on several items of guidance relating to the plan funding rules under Code Sec. 436, Carolyn Zimmerman, actuary, IRS Employee Plans, Rulings & Agreements, said [recently] ... In particular, she stated that the IRS was working on proposed regulations that involve a review of the list of deemed immaterial changes for purposes of certifying a plan's adjusted funding target attainment percentage[.]" (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)

Legislative and Regulatory Issues Retirement Plan Sponsors Need To Follow in 2013 (PDF)
"[1] Plan sponsors pay careful attention to their fiduciary responsibilities and should continue to invest time and energy keeping abreast of regulatory and legislative issues; [2] Plan sponsors are opposed to state-run multi-employer plans such as those created by legislatures in Massachusetts and California and should urge their Advisor to get involved; [3] Despite the pressure on the Federal government to raise taxes, plan sponsors are not as concerned as they should be about potential cuts to maximum contribution levels." (Retirement Advisor Council)

The Tibble Case: Thoughts on Revenue Sharing and the Small Recovery for the Class Plaintiffs
"[A] few more victories similar to this one for class plaintiffs in excessive fee cases will put an end to this area of litigation quicker than anything else could, as these types of cases simply would no longer be worth the costs and risks to the class action plaintiffs' bar. However, it is important to remember that the dollar value of the recovery in Tibble was likely driven down substantially by the statute of limitations ruling, which took much of the time period of potential overcharging out of the case and with it, presumably much of the recovery." (Boston ERISA Law Blog)

401(k) In-Plan Advice Users More At Ease About Retirement
"The relatively few employees who use the advisory services offered to them through their 401(k) plans are far more at ease about their retirement than those who do not ... the 18% of participants who use their plans' online or in-person investment advice have a decidedly better retirement outlook.... [A]lmost half of those who engage with in-plan advice (49%) believe that they will have enough money to pay for health care, and 40% expect to live as well or better than they did when they were working. That compares with 35% and 29%, respectively, for all respondents." (Financial Planning)

Pension Funds Increasingly Focused on 'Culture of Risk'
"Every corporate pension fund respondent has considered [liability-driven investing], with 55% implementing the strategy. Funded status-based glidepaths were the second-most popular 'risk-centric' approach for corporate plans. That coincides with 73% of corporate respondents implementing a long-duration bond strategy, as opposed to just 11% for foundations and endowments, and 8% for public plans. For public pension funds, 25% have implemented asset allocations based on economics to manage risk, followed by risk-factor based allocations and risk parity, at 21% each." (Pensions & Investments)

Applying Fiduciary Rule to IRAs Would Hurt African-Americans, Congressmen Charge
"The focus was on advisers assisting clients with IRAs. 'If brokers who serve these accounts are subject to [ERISA's] strict prohibitions on third-party compensation, they may choose to exit the market rather than risk the potentially severe penalties,' the letter states. 'If that occurs, it could cause IRA services to be unattainable by many retirement savers in the African-American community.'" (Employee Benefit News)


How to Get a Lifetime Pension in 7 Easy Years: Work for the State of California
"A financial planner did some quick math recently and told me, based on my age and a target monthly payment of around $1,000, that an annuity as generous as my State of California retirement plan would have cost me a lump sum of $300-400k. Yet my total contributions to CalPERS ... were only about $20k. The difference between the amount I paid into the system and the real cost of my pension is the simple definition of 'unfunded liability.'" (Reason Foundation, via FlashReport)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Supreme Court Review of the Defense of Marriage Act: Implications for Employers (PDF)
"[If] Section 3 of DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, employers will likely need to ... move to a regime for benefit administration that provides equal ERISA plan benefits and rights to employees with same-gender spouses -- at least with respect to those employees that live in states that allow for or recognize same-gender marriage.... If the Supreme Court determines it does not have jurisdiction to decide the case, plan sponsors and service providers could face interesting issues given that the First and Second Circuits have ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional[.]" (Crowell & Moring LLP via American Benefits Council)

Same-Gender Marriage Cases in the Supreme Court: Are Your Benefit Plans Prepared?
"[This advisory summarizes] the cases and the issues that sponsors of employee benefit plans should be considering now in preparation for the [Supreme Court] decision. If the Court determines that ... Proposition 8 (Prop 8) and Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), are constitutional, very little would change for employee benefit plans. However, if the Court affirms either case, employers will need to be prepared because a ruling striking down DOMA could require plans to promptly cover same-gender spouses." (Davis Wright Tremaine LLP)

Appeals Court Denies IRS Request for Stay in Return Preparer Regulation Case
"The IRS lost another round in its court battle to regulate tax return preparers when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied its motion to stay an injunction halting its return preparer regulation program, pending appeal of a lower court's decision ... In denying the IRS's motion, the court said the IRS had 'not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending appeal.'" (Journal of Accountancy)

Requiring Choices by Employees: Employer Health and Retirement Plans Converging
"Driven by rising costs and the Affordable Care Act, employee health programs are beginning to look like employee retirement plans. Using 401(k)s and other tools, administrators of those plans have spent decades trying to influence employees to save more money and make better retirement investment decisions. Employers increasingly are approaching their health plans in similar ways, according to a recent survey. The result is a convergence that finds both types of plans trying to use incentives to change employee behavior even as they offload more key decisions and financial responsibility onto employees." (U.S.News and World Report)

Recruitment and Retention of Older Workers: Considerations for Employers
"This brief presents the motivational factors that drove companies to focus on older workers, the cultural contexts of businesses that have undertaken these practices, and the range of recruitment and retention practices and initiatives they used. Researchers offer suggestions to employers on the relevance of the findings to their own workplace practices, initiatives, and cultures." (National Center on Workforce Development/Adult)

Recruitment and Retention of Older Workers: Application to People with Disabilities
"This brief identifies strategies that can benefit both older workers and workers with disabilities. It describes each strategy that companies discussed in relation to older workers and makes a case for its effectiveness in employing workers with disabilities, offering action steps employers can take. The brief ends with recommendations for the disability community to better support businesses to employ people with disabilities. Including these practices in business operations will position employers to become more reflective of their diverse communities and the customers they strive to serve." (National Center on Workforce Development/Adult)

Press Releases

Wilton Re & Farmington Capital Join New L&H Insurance Startup Community
New England Life & Health Insurance Startup Community

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