EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com logo BenefitsLink.com logo

BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

June 5, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
         Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for Pension Consulting Firm in CA

Manager - Underwriting & Funding Implementation
for Mullin TBG - A Prudential Company in CA

Senior Director - Client Relationship Manager
for Mullin TBG - A Prudential Company in CA

Retirement - Executive Assistant
for Mullin TBG - A Prudential Company in FL

Data Conversion Specialist
for Transamerica Retirement Solutions in NY

Trading & Corrections Associate
for Aspire Financial Services in CO

Post Your Job on EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Anti-Cutback Guidance for ESOP Amendments (PDF)
"The relief is available provided the amendment is both adopted and put into effect under the plan by the later of: [1] The last day of the first plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2013; or [2] The deadline for amending the plan to reflect the PPA diversification rules of IRC Section 401(a)(35)." (Prudential)


ftwilliam.com, TAG Data, CCH and Aspen Publisher's Customer Conference

Sponsored by ftwilliam.com

Join us August 4-6 and learn from industry specialists! We'll cover hot topics including Coverage & Testing, TPA Workflow, Advanced Plan Design and much more! Make sure to drop in on our hands-on product training sessions with fellow TPAs.

Monitoring the Providers of IRA Rollover Services: What Are a Plan Sponsor's Responsibilities? (PDF)
"While the [GAO] report discusses a number of issues ... there is also a message to plan sponsors about the practices of some providers. As a part of the study, the GAO reviewed the practices and materials of selected plan providers and their IRA rollover services (e.g., call centers) and determined that, in some cases, participants were receiving biased information.... Is it possible that plan sponsors could be viewed as 'endorsing' or selecting the provider for that purpose and, therefore, be obligated to prudently select and monitor the IRA rollover services of their provider? Unfortunately, neither the courts nor the DOL have provided a clear answer to that question." (Drinker Biddle)

Text of Ninth Circuit Opinion Reversing Dismissal of Plaintiffs' Suit in Amgen Stock Drop Case (PDF)
From the syllabus: "Reversing the dismissal of an ERISA class action brought by current and former employees of Amgen, Inc.... the panel held that a presumption of prudence did not apply and that, in the absence of the presumption, the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged violation of defendants' fiduciary duties regarding two employer-sponsored pension plans.... [T]he panel concluded that the plan terms did not require or encourage the defendant fiduciaries to invest primarily in employer stock.... The panel also held that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that defendants violated their duties ... by failing to provide material information to plan participants about investment in the Amgen Common Stock Fund.... The panel held that the plaintiffs, like other investors in publicly-traded stock, could rely on a rebuttable presumption of reliance based on the 'fraud-on-the-market' theory." [Harris v. Amgen, No. 10-56014 (9th Cir. June 4, 2013)] (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)

GAO Report on Social Security Representative Payee Program: Long-Term Strategy Needed to Address Challenges
"In summary, we found that SSA struggles to effectively administer its Representative Payee Program, despite steps the agency has taken to address its challenges in identifying, selecting, and monitoring representative payees.... In fiscal year 2012, about 5.9 million payees managed $72 billion in Social Security benefits for nearly 8.4 million beneficiaries. Since 2002, the number of beneficiaries needing a payee has increased by nearly 20 percent, and is likely to grow further as the population ages." (U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Fidelity Investments Yields the Small 401(k) Plan Market to Its RIAs
"Fidelity Investments, the powerhouse 401(k) provider, will no longer compete with RIAs in the small and midsize 401(k) plan arena, says Ted Madden, senior vice president, sales for Fidelity. This is a major move that shows RIAs have become a major force in that arena, industry leaders say.... The actions of Fidelity make sense and deserve applause but they are likely the result of Fidelity finding it more difficult to beat RIAs -- making the choice to join them easier, according to Doug Dannemiller, principal of Duxbury, Mass.-based Dannemiller Analytics & Consulting LLC." (RIABiz)


Self-Auditing Your Employee Benefits - June 12, 2013

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

This live audio conference gives you a legal and a practical perspective for each type of benefit plan. Helps you identify and prioritize so you can focus your time and resources on the important areas. Registration discount for BenefitsLink readers.

Variable Annuity Sales Improve Slightly in Q1 2013 (PDF)
"Industry-wide annuity sales for the first quarter reached nearly $49.6 billion, down 2.0 percent from $50.6 billion in the previous quarter and down 6.6 percent from $53.1 billion in the first quarter of 2012. Variable annuity total sales topped $34.6 billion in the first quarter of 2013, according to Morningstar. This is a 0.6 percent increase from $34.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, but down 4.4 percent from $36.2 billion in the first quarter of 2012." (Insured Retirement Institute)

Social Security's Unfunded Obligation Rises by $1 Trillion
"U.S. taxpayers now owe $12.3 trillion to pay scheduled benefits -- in addition to what Social Security can hope to collect from payroll taxes -- over the 75-year horizon. That's $98,517 for every household in America today.... But even this figure excludes $2.7 trillion in IOUs owed to the Social Security trust fund, and adding it in brings the total unfunded obligation to $12.3 trillion." (The Heritage Foundation)

The Billion Dollar Question: When Will Interest Rates Rise?
"[D]espite the fact that employers contributed more than $45 billion to their pension plans in 2012, pension deficits still increased by a whopping 17% to $295.2 billion by the end of 2012. This begs the billion-dollar question: When will interest rates go back up?" (The Principal Blog)

Pension Finance Update, May 31, 2013 (PDF)
"After a strong first quarter, pension finances took a step back last month, with lower interest rates pushing pension liabilities up by more than assets, though plans remain solidly 'in the black' so far this year. The two 'model' plans ... both saw improvements in funded status last month: traditional 'Plan A' was up 5% last month and is now 11% ahead year-to-date, while 'Plan B' improved about 2% last month and is up 3 % for the year." (October Three)

Funded Status of U.S. Corporate Pensions Rises in May
"The funded status of the typical U.S. corporate pension plan rose 5.6 percentage points in May 2013 to 86.4 percent, the highest level since July 2011 ... Year to date, the funded ratio is up 10.1 percentage points ... Liabilities for the typical corporate plan fell 6.3 percent as the discount rate on the Aa corporate bonds increased 46 basis points to 4.30 percent, the sharpest rise in nearly two years," (BNY Mellon)

How Employers Can Restructure a 401(k) Investment Menu to Increase Participation
"Here's a look at how professional advisers have successfully implemented the four proven strategies to reduce choice overload in 401k plans. [1] Reduce the Number of Choices ... [2] Make the Consequences of their Actions More Vivid ... [3] Group Investment Options into Groups More Aligned with Employee Psychology ... [4] Develop a Decision Tree Beginning with Questions with the Fewest Options and Ending with Questions with the Most Options[.]" (Fiduciary News)


Opening Statement at Hearing on How Social Security Protects the Benefits of Those Who Cannot Protect Themselves
"Today there are almost 6 million representative payees who manage $72 billion in benefits each year for 8.4 million beneficiaries. Over the past ten years, the number of people needing a representative payee has grown by 20 percent and will only continue to grow as people live longer.... Clearly Social Security must do better. The agency must rise to the challenge of doing what's right to protect the benefits of those who cannot protect themselves, today, and in the future." (Rep. Sam Johnson, Subcommittee on Social Security, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives)


Text of Testimony of American Benefits Council to ERISA Advisory Council on Private Sector Pension De-Risking and Participant Protections (PDF)
"While de-risking is a strategy being considered by many sponsors, there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to why some companies adopt de-risking approaches and others do not, nor is there a simple answer as to why companies that do de-risk do so in different ways. On the contrary, the decision as to whether and how to de-risk is made differently by different companies based on both economic factors and company risk tolerance.... Again, there is no one-size-fits-all with regard to participant elections of lump sums as each participant's individual situation is different." (American Benefits Council)


Text of Testimony of American Benefits Council to ERISA Advisory Council on Locating Missing and Lost Participants (PDF)
"[The Council encourages] the Department to consider that plan sponsors are subject to a myriad of other regulatory mandates regarding lost participants, including the SEC's recently adopted rules on lost security holders and existing state insurance and unclaimed property regulators' requirements for locating beneficiaries.... If a solution is too costly relative to the results -- or likely results -- then the solutions proffered may not be solutions in practice at all. This is especially true when handling small benefit amounts as search costs can rapidly deplete the benefit itself." (American Benefits Council)


Retirement Minus Politics: Public Employees Must Move to 401(k) Model
"Some states have pursued -- or are pursuing -- a shift to a defined contribution plan like the 401(k), which most private companies already offer. These states are leading the way in government pension reform. By simply moving to a 401(k)-style plan, states will put themselves on surer financial footing and protect taxpayers from the political games that have created this funding crisis." (The Montgomery Advertiser)


Statement of the Pension Rights Center to the ERISA Advisory Council Proposing Creation of Lost Pension Plan Registry (PDF)
"The Pension Rights Center is proposing the establishment of a Lost Pension Plan Registry that will provide the information participants need to locate their plans when their former employer has changed names, location, or corporate structure through merger or acquisition. The proposed registry would be an online searchable listing of these employers posted on the [PBGC]'s website.... The registry would apply for future changes but plan sponsors would be encouraged to also provide any earlier changes to the PBGC." (Pension Rights Center)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

Text of OPM Proposed Regs on Phased Retirement for Federal Employees
"The purpose of phased retirement is to allow the Federal Government to continue to benefit from the services of experienced employees who might otherwise choose to retire. These proposed regulations inform agencies and employees about who may elect phased retirement, what benefits are provided in phased retirement, how an annuity is computed during and after phased retirement, and how employees fully retire from phased retirement." (Office of Personnel Management)

OPM Issues Guidance on How Federal Employees May Partially Retire
"All retirement-eligible employees working full time in federal service for the previous three years are eligible for phased retirement, OPM said, though the agency must consent to the arrangement. An employee 'does not have an entitlement' to partially retire.... These employees will receive half of the normal pay of the position, as well as half their normal retirement annuity.... Most other benefits -- such as health benefits, the Federal Employee Group Life Insurance benefit, survivor benefits and annuity garnishment protection -- are calculated as if the partial retiree were still a full-time employee." (Government Executive)

Assessing the Reasonableness of Physician Executive Compensation
"With reimbursement levels (and, thus, the bottom line) increasingly contingent on clinical performance, many acute care providers are beginning to employ physicians in executive positions. In many cases, these 'physician executives' choose to maintain a clinical practice -- and, at some organizations, are required by the organization to continue to practice medicine on a part-time basis. While these physician executives serve a crucial role in influencing physician behavior, they present specific challenges for tax-exempt organizations when evaluating the reasonableness of their pay." (Towers Watson)

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: