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June 19, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

401K Administrator
for Farmer & Betts in OR, WA

Retirement Plan Relationship Manager
for Full Service Employee Benefits Consultant/ Broker in DC, VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Employee Plan Fix-It Programs and How to Use Them (NY CLE Program)
July 16, 2013 in NY
(Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP)

What Every Retirement Practitioner Should Know About IRA's -- Web Seminar
July 11, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

In-Plan Retirement Income Solutions: Understanding Participant Interest -- Webinar
June 27, 2013 WEBCAST
(Transamerica Retirement Services)

In-Plan Roth Conversions -- Webcast
June 27, 2013 WEBCAST
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

Advanced Required Minimum Distributions -- Web Seminar
July 16, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

Western Benefits Conference
July 21, 2013 in CA
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

Finding Lost Pension Plans -- Recorded Webinar
June 18, 2013 WEBCAST
(Pension Rights Center)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


CalPERS Switches to All-Passive DC Plans
"The California Public Employees' Retirement System's investment committee has voted to replace the stand-alone actively managed funds in its supplemental-income plans with passive options.... The plans' custom target date funds also will be switched to passive management. Fees for the funds will drop to 6 basis points, from 52, because of the change." (Investment News; free registration required)


TPAs: Your Paperwork Nightmare is Over!

Sponsored by ASC

You and your clients can exchange information with astonishing efficiency with the ASC Web Portal. For example: Accurate census data can be collected automatically. Click to learn more!

DOL Audits Might Catch Money Managers by Surprise
"Department of Labor officials estimate 4,400 financial institutions have designated qualified professional asset manager exemptions for their own defined benefit and defined contribution plans. The QPAM designation gives them more flexibility in investment decisions without having to worry about prohibited transactions.... The audit requirement, which was added in 2010, stems from concern that there was no oversight of financial institutions managing their own pension plans." (Pensions & Investments)

DOL's Borzi Says Fiduciary Rule Will Be Simple: Clients Come First
"[Phyllis Borzi, Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration,] broke down three basic components of the re-proposal. The regulation aims to do away with a five-part test to determine who is a fiduciary under [ERISA], applying this higher standard of care to brokers and advisers working with 401(k) plans. 'Our rule is simple and straightforward,' she said. 'In the re-proposal, we're making it very clear that there is only one rule: that you have to put the best interest of your client ahead of your own interest.'" (Investment News; free registration required)

Fiduciary Duty Bill Could Kill DOL Rule
"The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to vote [this week] on legislation that would require the [SEC] and the [DOL] to coordinate their efforts to strengthen investment-advice rules. But some observers say coordination is likely to mean the end of the DOL's efforts.... 'Consider a scenario in which the SEC decided not to promulgate a rule,' said Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, director of public policy and communications, at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. 'It could prevent the [DOL] from engaging in rule making.'" (Investment News; free registration required)

Presumptively Prudent? It Depends: Applying Moench to EIAPs
"Recent cases issued in the US Courts of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits, however, do not apply this so-called Moench presumption of prudence to fiduciaries of employee individual account plans (EIAPs) where the plan document permits, but does not require or encourage, the continued inclusion of company stock funds as plan investment options ... In light of these developments, companies that sponsor EIAPs should review their plans and determine if: [1] The terms of the plan require company stock as a plan investment option or merely include a company stock fund as a permitted investment option. [2] The plan provides its fiduciaries with discretion to remove or replace the company stock fund as an investment option." (Practical Law Company)


ACI's Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination Litigation, 7/31 - 8/1, NY

Sponsored by ACI (American Conference Institute)

The premier employment discrimination litigation conference returns for a fourth year -- more in-house counsel client presence, more government regulators and enforcers, and top federal and state jurists actively involved in these cases. Discount Code BEN200.

Fee Disclosure Regs Bring Changes to 401(k) Investment Lineups
"Fifty-one percent of 401(k) plans expect to change their investment lineups in the next 12 months ... a 'considerable' increase from the 44% that forecast changing lineups a year ago, said Linda York, lead author of a report describing the survey results.... Ms. York attributed the increase to a greater sensitivity to fee disclosure thanks to [DOL] fee-disclosure regulations that took effect last year." (Pensions & Investments)

SEC Officials Warn Insurers on Annuity Disclosures
"The SEC wants to see plain-English disclosure on potential investment losses and gains associated with products, as well as the risk of principal loss based on early withdrawals. The agency even has asked insurers to change the names of some new products because they made the offering sound risk-free." (Investment News; free registration required)

Securing Retirement Outcomes for the Employee: Why the Employer Should Intervene
"Employers who proactively develop a retirement income strategy for their employees during their retirement phase ... may enjoy increased alignment between retirement and workforce management, as well as enhanced employee engagement and loyalty. This [article] explores the rationale for employers to take an active role in addressing the retirement income challenge, and proposes practical steps to enable employers to take action toward designing and implementing a strategy." (Mercer; free registration required)

Mercer U.S. Pension Buyout Index, May 2013
"[T]he cost of purchasing annuities for retirees increased slightly over May 2013, from 109% to 109.5% of the accounting liability and the economic cost of retaining the retirees remained at 108.5% of the accounting liability.... Comparing the cost of annuitization to the economic cost of retaining the liabilities indicates that the margin for buyout over the cost of retaining the plan continues to be relatively small at approximately 1% as of May 2013, indicating that buyout premiums are currently attractive for sponsors when compared with all-in retention costs." (Mercer)

Generation X Employees Most Likely to Dip into Retirement Savings
"[M]ore than one-third (36 percent) of Gen X employees think it's likely they will need to dip into their retirement savings to pay for nonretirement expenses, a percentage significantly higher than for both Baby Boomers and Gen Y, the 'Millennials.' Thirty percent of Gen X employees admit having already withdrawn money held in their retirement plans for expenses other than retirement." (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Pension Annuitization Attractiveness Picking Up Steam (PDF)
"'Summertime typically brings a steady (or increasing) rate environment and 2013 is no exception thus far,' says Geoff Dietrich ... Plan sponsors who are in position to transact are taking advantage of decent price reductions; three to five percent in many cases." (Dietrich & Associates)


Comments to PBGC on Regs Requiring Greater Reporting by Pension Plan Sponsors
"Aon Hewitt made the following recommendations regarding the proposed regulations: Modify and clarify requirements for financially sound plan sponsors or controlled group members.... Lower the criteria for plan financial soundness.... Provide exemptions for active participant reduction reportable event requirements.... Simplify waivers for controlled groups." (Aon Hewitt)


Text of Comments to DOL on Proposed Fiduciary Standard (PDF)
"At a time when many Americans are struggling to ensure a secure retirement, we have concerns that the Department's re-proposal could severely limit access to low cost investment advice.... We urge the [DOL] to learn from its earlier experience by ensuring that the re-proposal addresses the concerns raised by a bipartisan, bicameral Congress that caused the Department to withdraw the original proposal in September 2011." (32 Members of Congress (Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus))


Text of Request to DOL for Extension of July 7 Deadline for Comments on Proposed Lifetime Benefit Illustration Requirement
"The Notice includes approximately 27 technical and complex questions, many of which are time consuming to answer. For example, the Department's request for comments on the costs (and benefits) of including the illustration described in the Notice and how such costs might be reduced necessarily involves a complex and time consuming analysis. The illustrations under consideration will require software reprogramming and modeling changes. Consequently, the information requested by the Department requires input from information technology professionals and other experts, including internal and potentially outside experts. A comment period of 60 days simply does not present sufficient time to complete such an analysis.... We respectfully urge the Department to extend the response deadline 30 days from July 8th to August 7th." (ASPPA, ICI, SPARK, PSCA and Six Other Industry Organizations)


What Actuaries Need to Learn from Detroit
"It should not be the job of the actuary to find 'solutions that all stakeholders can embrace' but to value benefits dispassionately, independently, and accurately and leave it at that. With the tools we have that should be easy. What's getting hard is developing ever more irrational machinations to make it appear that all stakeholders will get everything they want. Eventually people catch on, if not when they notice on page 127 of the valuation report that the 5-year asset smoothing method has been extended to 7 years, then surely when their next annuity check is missing a digit or two." (Burypensions)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

New York Adopts Final Regulations Limiting Executive Compensation for State-funded Service Providers
"The limit applies to executive compensation paid to covered executives. The regulations define covered executive as a compensated director, trustee, managing partner, officer or key employee whose: [1] Salary and/or benefits, in whole or in part, are administrative expenses (generally expenses authorized under agency rules that are incurred in connection with overall management and overhead and cannot be attributed to the provision of program services). [2] Executive compensation during the reporting period exceeds $199,000." (Practical Law Company)

Ruminations on Terminations in the Age of Long-Term Performance Plans
"[P]erformance-based [long-term incentive ('LTI') plans] made up 38% of the senior executive LTI mix in 2012, versus 30% in 2010. While this shift is targeted at aligning senior executive pay with shareholder outcomes, it should prompt a fundamental review of LTI award terms. In most cases, the terms of the LTI grants ... have not been changed to reflect the growing prominence of performance-based LTI, subtle differences in award timing and the increased emphasis on long-term performance." (Towers Watson)

Press Releases

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