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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

May 3, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Director of Sales Operations
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

Retirement Plan Administrator
for Mullin TBG in CA

Client Service Call Center Associate
for Aspire Financial Services in CO, FL

Conversion Systems Manager
for J.P. Morgan in KS

Manager of Associate Wellness
for Publix Super Markets, Inc. in FL

Mutual Fund Settlement & Reconciliation
for Aspire Financial Services in CO

Defined Contribution Specialist
for United Retirement Plan Consultants in CA

401(k) Administrator
for Pension Strategies in AZ

Trust Specialist
for New York Life Retirement Plan Services in MA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Medicare Advantage Member Accounting & Reconciliation Conference
July 25, 2013
(Healthcare Education Associates) in DC

Inside the Beltway Series: Discussion of the Impact of the Presidential Budget on DOL Staffing Levels and Other Relevant Topics
May 21, 2013
(Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP) WEBCAST

Basics: 403(b) Plan And 457(b) Plan Overview
May 30, 2013
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits) WEBCAST

403(b) Prototype Plans: Pre-Approval Procedures
June 13, 2013
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits) WEBCAST

Basics: Governmental and Church Retirement Plans
June 19, 2013
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits) WEBCAST

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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


[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Department Third Quarter Update to the 2012-2013 Priority Guidance Plan (PDF)
Includes 43 retirement plan projects and 30 that relate to executive compensation, health care, other benefits, and employment taxes. Excerpt: "The 2012-2013 Priority Guidance Plan contains 317 projects that are priorities ... during the twelve-month period from July 2012 through June 2013 (the plan year). The plan represents projects we intend to work on actively during the plan year and does not place any deadline on completion of projects." (Department of the Treasury)


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[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Proposes Significant Changes to 'Reportable Event' Regulation (PDF)
"The proposed rule retains a modified version of the small plan waiver for active participant reductions and makes it applicable to more events.... The small plan waiver would be extended to controlled group changes, benefit liability transfers, and extraordinary dividends." (Groom Law Group)

[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Posts 4062(e) Enforcement Guidelines on Web Site
"[T]he PBGC generally considers a company creditworthy if: (I) The company has unsecured debt-equivalent ratings from both Moody's and S&P, and the ratings are at least Baa3 by Moody's and BBB- by S&P; (II) The company is rated by only one of those agencies, and the rating is at least Baa3 or BBB-; or (III) The company is rated by neither of those agencies, and: (i) The company has a D&B Financial Stress Score of 1477 or higher; and (ii) The company's secured debt (disregarding debt incurred to purchase real estate or equipment) does not exceed 10 percent of its asset value." (Proskauer's ERISA Practice Section Blog)

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Tips to Avoid Processing Delays with Your Voluntary Correction Program Submission
"[1] Missing compliance fee check. Include the required compliance fee or your submission will be returned to you.... [2] Some late interim amendments not properly identified. Identify your late interim amendment failures.... [3] Appendix C Part I and Appendix C Part II, Schedule 2 are not completed properly. Check the right boxes.... [4] Form 8950 or Power of Attorney form not signed by the correct person. Ensure that the right person signs your forms.... [5] Remember the limits of your compliance statement." (Internal Revenue Service)

401(k) Matches Being Eliminated
"The number of companies providing matching money for employees' 401(k) plans is shrinking as business owners try to save money ... 5 percent of employers who provided matches dropped the match in 2010 and another 2 percent dropped it in 2011.... A total of 42 percent of the companies with active 401(k) plans in 2011 did not provide money to match employees' savings[.]" (Financial Advisor)

Top Treasury Official Defends 401(k) Tax Proposal
"Mary John Miller, a veteran of the asset-management industry who now serves as Treasury's under secretary for domestic finance ... began with the premise that any effort to bring the nation's fiscal situation into order must include a mixture of spending cuts and revenue increases, noting that the cap on the 401(k) tax break is projected to generate some $9 billion in revenue over the next 10 years.... [She] pointed to a widening gap between the very wealthy and the rest of the population, noting that the proposed modifications to retirement plan taxes would only affect a fraction of 1% of the country." (On Wall Street)

Illinois House Passes Sweeping Pension Reform Bill in Close Vote
"The Madigan bill, which is designed to eliminate a $96.8 billion funding shortfall over 30 years, relies on changes to retirement benefits that unions say are a violation of the state constitution. Union leaders have said they will challenge the measure in court if it becomes law ... No actuarial analysis of Madigan's measure has yet emerged, but the speaker said it would fully fund the pension system by 2044 and reduce the state's pension payment by $1.5 billion in fiscal 2015." (Reuters)

California Dreaming: The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act
"Contrary to the drafters' intent, the savings accounts authorized under the [California] Act do not qualify as individual retirement accounts under the Code. Hence, employees participating in savings arrangements established under the Act will not receive the income tax benefits associated with individual retirement accounts.... [T]he Act should survive ERISA preemption if [it] is amended to have true individual retirement accounts.... President Obama has recently proposed a federal mandate under which employers with more than ten employees would be required to maintain either retirement plans or IRA coverage.... The Golden State's Act will play an important role in that debate." (Prof. Edward A. Zelinsky, via SSRN)

Cypen & Cypen Newsletter, May 2, 2013
Article titles include: [1] Frontline does a number on 401(k) plans; [2] Why 401(k)s have failed; [3] Fitch's local government pension analysis; and [4] Revised 60's hits for baby boomers. (Cypen & Cypen)

Frontline Producer Explains Controversial 401(k) Documentary (Part 4 of 4)
"That so many believed 'The Retirement Gamble' didn't feature the importance of savings suggested the show's producers might have been unfamiliar with a 2012 Wharton Study that concluded savings were more important than asset allocation when it comes to retirement success.... Is it possible, rather than assume personal accountability for his plan's failings, Smith has instead chosen to blame Wall Street? ... As of result of Smith's public admission regarding his personal 401k difficulty, the [Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA)] offered him free membership. When FiduciaryNews.com asked Smith if he'd take the PSCA up on their offer, he said, 'No, I don't think so.' Again, is it the failure to take responsibility that prompts this response, or the bitterness and lack of trust after having been a victim?" (Fiduciary News)

Forget the Nest Egg, Savers Expect to Be in Hock for $25K at Retirement
"67% of 495 pre-retirees polled said they expect to carry mortgage debt into retirement. Only 59% of the 526 retirees in the survey actually had that debt when they stopped working.... [I]n 2007, only 30% of the pre-retirees predicted they would carry a mortgage into retirement. That year, 53% of the retirees ended up having a mortgage in retirement." (Investment News; free registration required)

Using an Aggregation Program to Manage the 'ASO' Risk in the Professional Employee Organization Multiple Employer Plan (PDF)
"A MEP aggregates services and investments to a number of unrelated employers by the common authority granted under a single plan document adopted by each participating employer. An Aggregation Program [AP] aggregates those same services, but does it by the common authority granted by coordinated language in separate plan documents (though those documents may be part of a mass submitter, and thus the operative language can be the same) adopted by each employer participating in the AP." (Business of Benefits)

What Are Your Real Retirement Costs?
"[F]ive important yet often-overlooked retirement costs that you'll want to consider. Health Care and Long-Term Care ... Home and Car Upkeep ... Hobbies ... Taxes ... Inflation." (Smart401k)

401(k) World: A Deeper Look into Tom Friedman's Nightmare
"What's created in a 401(k) world other than companies that are gradually unburdened by health and retirement expenses? A void. Retirees won't have enough to live a comfortable lifestyle in their most vulnerable years. Either old-age poverty increases dramatically like it did before the New Deal/Great Society programs like Medicare kicked in, or the government steps up to help people save for retirement and blunt the oppressive risk of being bankrupted by health-care expenses." (John Wasik in Forbes)

Common 401(k) Administrative Mistakes
"While the number of errors that can occur during a plan year is extensive, there are certain mistakes that are relatively commonplace.... Not Incorporating the Annual Compensation Limit ... Misjudging the Relationship Between Service Requirements and Entry Dates ... Not Following Rules Listed in Plan Document." (Schneider Downs)

Global Pension Finance Watch, First Quarter 2013
"The first three months of 2013 saw generally strong investment returns in all global markets, but a varying range of movements in prevailing interest rates. The net result was solid improvement in the Towers Watson Pension Index in all seven tracked global markets. Trailing 12-month results indicate similarly strong asset returns, but the effects were offset by significant decreases in benchmark discount rates." (Towers Watson)

Women Need to Plan for a Longer Post-Work Life Than Men
"[T]he repercussions of not planning for a long retirement are higher for women, who face strong odds their retirement will be far longer than that. Average life expectancy at 65 is 20 years for women, compared with 17 for men. There is a 50 percent chance a woman age 65 today will still be alive at 85. And that's just if you're average. Nearly a third of women age 65 today will celebrate their 90th birthdays." (The Washington Post)

Canadian Plan Sponsors Confident in Retirement Benefits
"95% of plan sponsors [in Canada] are 'somewhat or very confident' in the competitive position of their plan and see it as a key priority; 59% are likely to assess retirement program design during 2013; 83% will review plan member communication material; and 12% are 'very confident' that employees are taking accountability for their retirement future." (PLANSPONSOR.com)

Despite Higher 401(k) Balances, Only 12 Percent of Plan Sponsors Believe Employees Will Be Ready for Retirement
"Eighty-six percent of plan sponsors who implemented automatic enrollment have seen a positive impact on plan participation by employees. The Roth 401(k) feature continued to increase in popularity among plan sponsors, with 53 percent of respondents reporting that their plans now offer a Roth feature, representing a 6 percent jump from 2011. More plan sponsors began offering employees individual financial counseling and advice -- up from 50 percent in 2011 to 61 percent in 2012 -- further underscoring the emphasis plan sponsors are placing on participant education." (Deloitte)


Retirement As a Cultural Concept Needs to Go Away
"Retirement as a national cultural concept arose because of concerns contingent to the Industrial Revolution... These conditions no longer obtain today.... Retirement is a little death.... The way we're dealing with old people today is not working and we need to get more imaginative.... Generational warfare on the young is, like, not good.... A truly flexible labor market would be truly flexible.... If poor people die sooner, that's not a retirement problem.... The safety net system should deal with problems qua problems and not age-based classes." (Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, in Forbes)


'Frontline' Episode on Retirement Plans Erroneous (PDF)
"The irresponsible and manipulative, one-sided portrayal of retirement plans that ran on public television's 'Frontline' on April 23 demands a strong response. The retirement plan industry, and particularly 401(k) plans, were portrayed as the source of the 'retirement crisis.' The story was as erroneous as it would be to allege that the American health care system is the source of illness and death." (John Blossom, President/CEO, Alliance Benefit Group of Illinois)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

Text of Final IRS Regs Requiring Updating of Employer Identification Numbers (PDF)
"This document contains final regulations that require any person assigned an employer identification number (EIN) to provide updated information to the IRS in the manner and frequency prescribed by forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance. These regulations affect persons with EINs and will enhance the IRS's ability to maintain accurate information as to persons assigned EINs." (Internal Revenue Service)

Making Plan Administration Mistakes: Keep Track of How You Got There
"Plan sponsors are making decisions about how to count employees, what coverage to offer and how to measure hours. Undoubtedly, mistakes will be made. There should be a record of how conclusions were reached for each of these issues so that there is both proof of diligence and a reference point for correction if necessary. Mistakes can be fixed, but it is usually easier (and less costly) to fix things if there is a record to look back on." (Fox Rothschild LLP)

New York Postpones Caps on Executive Compensation and Administrative Expenses for State Contractors (PDF)
"In certain circumstances, the cap on allowable administrative expenses and the reporting requirements apply to subcontractors and agents of covered providers. If the cap applies, covered providers must incorporate by reference the terms of these regulations into their agreements with a subcontractor or agent.... The caps are effective on the first day of the provider's reporting period -- July 1, 2013 for providers using a July 1st fiscal year and January 1, 2014 for providers that annually report on a calendar-year basis." (Buck Consultants)

Deferred Compensation Planning Opportunities for Executives of Tax-Exempt Entities
"[B]y carefully tying additional deferrals to the executive's targeted retirement date and inserting appropriate provisions in the executive's employment agreement, the executive can effectively defer significant additional compensation, subject only to a risk of forfeiture in the event that the executive elects to voluntarily terminate employment prior to the targeted retirement date." (Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC)

Press Releases

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