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April 2, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefits Specialist
for Sonepar - US in SC

Assistant General Counsel
for IAM National Pension Fund and National IAM Benefit Trust Fund in DC

Corporate Benefit Associate
for Financial Services Firm in NY

Pension Consultant/Administrator
for Wender & Company in OH

Conversions Specialist
for The Newport Group in NC

Senior Consultant, Income Planning
for Nationwide Insurance in AR, IA, LA, MO, NE, OK, TX

Consultant, Retirement Plans
for Cammack LaRhette Consulting in NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

Level I - IRA Seminar
Nationwide on May 1, 2013 presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Level II - IRA Seminar
Nationwide on May 1, 2013 presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

IRA Live Streaming Webinar - Level I, Part 1
Nationwide on May 2, 2013 presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

IRA Live Streaming Webinar - Level I, Part 1
Nationwide on May 16, 2013 presented by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

Valuation and ERISA Fiduciary Liability: How to Protect Yourself
Nationwide on May 14, 2013 presented by BVR (Business Valuation Resources)

The Triple Aim Goes Global Briefing
in District of Columbia on April 11, 2013 presented by Health Affairs

Communications - Half-day Seminar
in Florida on May 21, 2013 presented by ASPPA Benefits Council of Central Florida

Health Care Reform Webinar: Transparency & Accountability
Nationwide on April 19, 2013 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

Health Care Reform Webinar: Mandates & Exchanges
Nationwide on May 3, 2013 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

Health Care Reform Webinar: Operational Changes for Health Plans
Nationwide on May 15, 2013 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

Health Care Reform Webinar: New Taxes and Other Revenue Raisers
Nationwide on May 30, 2013 presented by Davidson Marketing Group -- FutureOffice Network

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Proposed PBGC Regs on Reportable Events and Certain Other Notification Requirements
"Under the new proposal, reporting would be waived for most events currently covered by funding-based waivers if a plan or its sponsor comes within a financial soundness safe harbor based on widely available measures already used in business. Waivers for small plans would be expanded and some other existing waiver provisions would be retained with modifications; other waivers would be eliminated. In this way, PBGC can reduce unnecessary reporting requirements, while at the same time target its resources to plans that are at risk. The revised proposal will exempt more than 90 percent of plans and sponsors from many reporting requirements. Reporting requirements would also be made simpler and more uniform." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)


ACA University Debuts Today!

Sponsored by IFEBP (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

The International Foundation's ACA University is a virtual learning center providing essential information for employers to navigate the Affordable Care Act. Offering live webcasts, Q&A sessions, podcasts, industry networking and more.

[Guidance Overview]

Expanded Guidance from IRS on 403(b) Plans
"The IRS has indicated that it intends to increase its enforcement and compliance efforts related to 403(b) plans. As such, 403(b) plan sponsors should consider conducting an internal review to determine whether they have errors in need of correction. Because of the lower compliance fees associated with the SCP and the VCP, it will likely be less expensive for 403(b) plan sponsors to voluntarily correct compliance defects rather than wait to correct compliance defects during an IRS audit." (Morgan Lewis)

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Releases Long-Awaited 403(b) Plan Approval Procedures (PDF)
"Unfortunately, the new procedure also announces that the Service 'does not contemplate the issuance of individual determination letters to sponsors of Section 403(b) plans.' Essentially, the guidance appears to push individually designed plans into pre-approved plans if such plans want 'reliance' that they satisfy the applicable document requirements. The IRS indicates that these limitations -- which will unfavorably impact many public school, university and church 403(b) arrangements, among others -- are necessary 'to more efficiently direct its limited resources'." (Groom Law Group)

[Guidance Overview]

Retirement Plan Round Up: First Quarter 2013 Guidance
"This alert covers important recent guidance for retirement plan sponsors to keep in mind as the first quarter of 2013 draws to a close. (1) New Content Required for Annual Funding Notice ... (2) PBGC Extends Reportable Event Guidance... (3) Guidance on Expanded In-Plan Roth Conversions by Retirement Plan Participants." (McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)

Pension Issue Haunts Stockton Bankruptcy
"'This is just the beginning of a multi-dimensional.... well, I can't say chess game because it's not a game,' said attorney Karol Denniston, a municipal restructuring expert. 'There's not one thing that will fix the pension system. The net message is you can't see a restructuring when the largest creditor isn't being restructured.'" (Sacramento Bee)


Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference - April 28 - May 1

Sponsored by University Conference Services

The road ahead for employer-sponsored benefits is uncharted. You cannot afford to fall behind with your organization's healthcare and retirement plans. This in-person, 2-1/2 day program provides answers & ideas that no online course or webcast can.

Ruling Sets Up Pension Battle in Bankrupt Stockton
"In the ruling, ... which affirmed the legal status of Stockton's bankruptcy, Judge Christopher M. Klein said he could see battle lines being drawn between CalPERS ... and the city's other major creditors, including several Wall Street companies that either bought Stockton's bonds or insured them. But he ruled that it was still too early in the case for that battle to be joined. 'There are very complex and difficult questions of law that I can see out there on the horizon,' he said." (The New York Times)

Stockton Bankruptcy Case Defers Decision On Pension Benefit Modifications
"U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein ruled Monday on the most important question facing Stockton, Calif. -- whether it could enter into federal bankruptcy protection. Klein agreed that the city is, in fact, broke. But he didn't decide the question of whether the city must renegotiate its pension obligations, as some of its creditors had hoped." (National Public Radio)

Stockton Can Stay in Bankruptcy Despite Creditor Objections
"Stockton, Calif., can stay in bankruptcy protection after a judge said he found that the biggest U.S. city in bankruptcy negotiated in good faith with its creditors, and that the creditors didn't.... Negotiation is a 'two-way street,' said U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher M. Klein in Sacramento, addressing creditors who he said didn't negotiate in good faith. 'You cannot negotiate with a stone wall.' ... The city never held talks with [CalPERS, which] refused to negotiate with Stockton, claiming that under state law it isn't authorized to reduce the city's contributions to the fund. Mr. Klein said Monday that Stockton didn't have an obligation to negotiate with CalPERS." (Pensions & Investments)

IRS Reversal on 'Church' Pension Plan Rescues a Fund
"[A]fter negotiations and an eight-year internal review, the IRS reversed a critical decision it made in 2003 ... to recognize the hospital's pension fund as a 'church plan' under law. That decision took away the former employees' government safety net because the Constitution's church-state separation was said to bar the federal pension insurance program from covering church pensions. Voiding the 2003 decision restored that safety net, something pension experts said they had never seen happen before." (The New York Times)

Few Have Retirement Income Goals Despite Anxiety
"Four in ten (44%) Americans polled admit their retirement savings may not last until the end of their life. Yet, when it comes to developing a retirement savings goal, only one-fifth (21%) of middle-income retirees and preretirees calculated a monthly retirement income goal number; only one in ten (13%) determined a total savings goal number to reach[.]" (PLANSPONSOR.com)

401(k) Eyed to Cut Cost of Tennessee Pensions
"The next generation of Tennessee teachers and state workers could lose the security of a guaranteed pension as state leaders eye a more risky, investment-driven retirement plan. A bill making its way through the General Assembly seeks to overhaul the state's pension plan, shifting risk from the state to employees through a combination pension and 401(k)-style plan.... State Treasurer David Lillard ... says the state's current plan, though one of the strongest-funded ones in the nation, needs to be changed to ensure long-term sustainability." (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

It's Time to Diversify DC Risk with Alternative Investments (PDF)
"[P]lan sponsors should strive for an investment offering that provides better risk balance in an attempt to reduce the volatility experienced by the typical plan participant. One solution to this challenge is to provide access to an asset category broadly referred to as 'alternatives.' In doing so, DC plan sponsors would be incorporating investment strategies and the best practices used by defined benefit (DB) plans, potentially helping to close the performance gap that has long existed between the two plan types." (Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association)

When Good Retirement Plan Loans Go Bad
"Consider a plan that permits loans but restricts participants to only one loan at a time. IRS regulations (and the U.S. Tax Court) look at certain refinancing transactions as consisting of two loans -- the replacement loan (the new one) and the replaced loan (the old one). Therefore, the refinance transaction violates the one loan at a time limit, and the replacement loan is a deemed distribution. This can be addressed by amending the loan provisions to specifically permit refinancing or to allow multiple loans." (Preferred Pension Planning Corporation)

Ninth Circuit Decides Selection of Retail Mutual Funds Was a Breach of Fiduciary Duty
"The Tibble case reminds plan fiduciaries that following a prudent process is the most important defense against future claims for fiduciary breach. It was not what the Tibble Plan Committee did (include selected retail mutual funds), that got it in trouble. It was the fact that they had not investigated or considered available institutional funds which had annual investment fees 40 basis points less than the selected funds in their review process." (Leonard, Street and Deinard)

The Disclosure Paradox: How Much Information Is Too Much?
"New research provides insight into the promise and perils of disclosure as a policy tool. At its worst, disclosure is a waste of time and resources, draining millions of dollars from the financial services industry and achieving few measurable improvements in investor outcomes. At its best, disclosure can instantly achieve efficiency improvements within markets where it's difficult for investors to assess price or quality." (Advisor One)

Employee Ownership Update, April 1, 2013
NCEO Executive Director Loren Rodgers discusses employee ownership in the largest 900 companies, a district court's uploading of an indemnification provision, UK tax relief for employee ownership, an update to the DOL delinquent filer voluntary compliance program, and a UPenn program for ESOP company executives. (National Center for Employee Ownership)

BOLI Assets Reached $138 Billion in 2012 (PDF)
"Bank-owned life insurance (BOLI) assets reached nearly $138 billion in 2012, reflecting a 4.5% increase from $132 billion in 2011 BOLI assets held by commercial banks, savings banks and savings associations ... BOLI is used to recover costs of employee benefits and offset liabilities for retirement benefits, helping banks to keep up with ever-rising benefit costs." (Equias Alliance and Michael White Associates)


CalPERS Statement on City of Stockton Bankruptcy Ruling
"'We recognize the difficult decisions the City of Stockton needs to make to restore its financial and economic health. Today's action gives the City the opportunity to propose a forward looking plan of adjustment in the bankruptcy case that will allow them to restore long term financial stability and to provide essential services to the Stockton community through the City's valued public employees. The City has consistently acknowledged the importance of providing benefits to its employees through its existing relationship with CalPERS consistent with state law. CalPERS will continue to act as a fiduciary and protect and defend the integrity and soundness of the Pension Plan,' said [Anne Stausboll, CalPERS Chief Executive Officer]." (California Public Employees' Retirement System)


Are Official Education Spending Numbers Really Too Low Due to Underestimates of Teacher Pension Costs?
"The financial economics model for the discount rate may work beautifully for critics of public sector defined benefit plans when, as now, there is a very long period of very low interest rates. It can make it appear that plans are discounting future pension liabilities at too high a rate. Consequently, critics argue, basing the discount rate on the expected return on plan investments systematically understates the costs of funding public pension plans. However, what happens when interest rates are very high?" (National Council on Teacher Retirement)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Happy National Employee Benefits Day
"National Employee Benefits Day acknowledges trustees, administrators, corporate benefits practitioners and professional advisors for your dedication to providing quality benefits and the important role you play in your colleagues' well-being. This year, National Employee Benefits Day focuses on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We encourage you to use the day to ensure you are informed and compliant on the latest regulations and to address your employees' questions." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Colorado Governor Signs Civil Unions Into Law
"Colorado will recognize civil unions entered into by same-gender and opposite-sex couples, granting rights afforded to traditionally married couples ... Colorado health plans 'issued, delivered, or renewed or after January 1, 2014' will be required to treat a partner in a civil union and a marriage the same. This means that if a Colorado employer offers health insurance to the spouse of an employee, the employer must also offer health insurance for the partner in a civil union.... If a group health plan is self-insured, it will not be governed by state law ... Under a Colorado public retirement system, civil union partners will now be entitled to any survivor benefits provided to spouses under public sector pension plans." (Holland & Hart)

[Guidance Overview]

Insurer Executive Compensation Regulations Released
"Employers who utilize captives for health coverage will need to determine how the proposed regulations will apply to the employer's captive and the other subsidiaries and affiliates in its controlled group. It may also be possible to fall within the 2-percent de minimis exception." (Kilpatrick Townsend)

Delaware Federal Court Dismisses Say-on-Pay Case (PDF)
"In evaluating the plaintiff's claims, the court found that [1] The Dodd-Frank Act explicitly prohibits construing a negative say on pay vote as 'overruling' a Board's compensation decision or altering the directors' fiduciary duties ... [2] Plaintiff's 'selective' characterization of the company's compensation philosophy as 'pay for performance' excluded other goals discussed in the company's proxy statement[.]" (Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC)

Executive Compensation 2012 Year in Review and Implications for 2013 and Beyond (PDF)
"Market observations through two years under [Say on Pay ('SOP')]: [1] Most companies continue to obtain majority shareholder support for their SOP proposals. For companies that passed in 2012, the average shareholder support was 92%. [2] The number of failing companies increased 52% year-over-year (38 in 2011; 58 in 2012). 2011 success did not guarantee positive 2012 results.... [3] Failure to receive support from proxy advisors ... may not result in failed SOP votes, but significantly impacts shareholder support levels , e.g., generally greater than 20%." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)

Press Releases

CEFEX Renews 19 Registrations
Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX)

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