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July 10, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Large Group Benefit Consultant
for Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia in GA

Financial Advisor
for retirement advisory services corp in PA

Operations Specialist
for Retirement Plan Services, LLC in MO

401K Administrator
for CPEhr in CA

Enrolled Actuary
for CPEhr in CA

Benefits Specialist
for Foothill-De Anza Community College District in CA

Retirement Plans Regional Sales Manager
for Mutual of Omaha in NE, TX

Pension Administrator
for The Benefits Consulting Group, Inc. in IL

for Benetech, Inc. in CA, GA

Sr. HR Generalist - Worker's Comp/ADA
for Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in

Defined Contrib Analyst II
for The Standard in OH

Retirement Specialist
for Nationwide Insurance in ID

Client Services Manager
for First Federal in SC

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Webcasts and Conferences

US Pensions Summit 2013
July 22, 2013 in IL
(marcus evans)

2013 Retirement Research Consortium Annual Meeting
August 1, 2013 in DC
(Retirement Research Consortium)

"Coverage and Nondiscrimination Testing for Related Employers" Web Seminar
August 1, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2013-49: Updated Static Mortality Tables for Use by DB Plans for Certain Funding and Benefit Requirements (PDF)
"This notice provides updated static mortality tables to be used under Section 430(h)(3)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code and Section 303(h)(3)(A) of [ERISA], and requests comments regarding the publication of mortality tables for future years. These tables apply for purposes of calculating the funding target and other items for valuation dates occurring during calendar years 2014 and 2015. This notice also includes a modified unisex version of the mortality tables for use in determining minimum present value under Section 417(e)(3) of the Code and Section 205(g)(3) of ERISA for distributions with annuity starting dates that occur during stability periods beginning in the 2014 and 2015 calendar years." (Internal Revenue Service)


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[Official Guidance]

Recent Corporate Bond Yield Curve Spot Rates (XLS)
"These yield curves are based on data from the month listed ... For the election in section 430(h)(2)(D)(ii) to use the full yield curve, the yield curve listed under a given month is for use with respect to valuation dates in the following month. See Notice 2009-45 for information concerning additional valuation dates for which a given monthly yield curve may be used." (Internal Revenue Service)

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2013-46: Update for Weighted Average Interest Rates, Yield Curves, and Segment Rates, July 2013 (PDF)
"This notice provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve (and the corresponding spot segment rates), and the 24-month average segment rates under Section 430(h)(2) ... [and] provides guidance as to the interest rate on 30- year Treasury securities under Section 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)( II) as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008, the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate under Section 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I), and the minimum present value segment rates under Section 417(e)(3)(D) as in effect for plan years beginning after 2007. These rates reflect certain changes implemented by [MAP-21]." (Internal Revenue Service)

[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Proposes New Test for Waiver in Reproposed Reportable Events Regulation
"The major feature of the new proposal is a waiver of reportable event reporting where the plan sponsor meets a 'financial soundness' test. This most recent proposal follows proposals by PBGC to use sponsor financial condition as a criterion for enforcement of ERISA section 4062(e) rules and in setting PBGC premiums.... [This article discusses] the 'sponsor financial soundness' provisions of the proposed regulation ... briefly review[s] the standards used in the ERISA section 4062(e) enforcement guidelines and PBGC's proposal for a sponsor-risk-based premium structure ... [and] conclude[s] with a discussion of the implications of these sorts of policies for plan sponsors." (October Three)

[Guidance Overview]

Cross-Tested Plans and the 11(g) Amendment: Failure Is Not a Requirement
"Does the plan actually have to fail nondiscrimination testing before the plan adopts an 11(g) amendment? In other words, must the employer make the contribution, fail nondiscrimination testing and then adopt the amendment, or, can the employer amend the plan without failing the test first? No ... a plan sponsor could amend the plan to place certain highly or NHCEs in different classifications so that it doesn't have to make as large of a contribution to the NHCEs to pass nondiscrimination." (SunGard Relius)


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Upcoming August 29 IRS Phone Forum: 'How to Prepare for an IRS Employee Plans Audit'
"[IRS representatives will] discuss correcting common 401(k) plan mistakes under EPCRS Revenue Procedure 2013-12, and how to find, fix and avoid them ... [and] answer questions [received] in advance." (Internal Revenue Service)

DOMA Decision Raises Big Questions for Retirement Plan Sponsors and Participants
"ERISA historically required a uniform federal process for administering benefit plans and generally preempts state law. However, since ERISA does not define the term 'spouse,' it will likely be necessary to look to the state law definition of marriage. Variation among states' laws regarding same-sex marriage creates significant complexity. Benefit plans may well have to use differing rules when their participants and participants' beneficiaries live or work in multiple states." (Vanguard)

Someday, There Won't Be Enough Financial Advisers
"The industry is aging. The average adviser is in his or her 50s, and 25% of advisers will retire in the next decade. The 'readiness gap' -- the difference in experience between founding principals and their successors, if any -- averages 11 years. Our 'adviser of the future' research estimates that the financial advice industry will fall far short of replacing the 237,000 advisers needed to cover anticipated retirement departures over the next 10 years -- potentially leaving investors who want to work with an adviser unable to find one." (Investment News)

SEC Closes Rhode Island Pension Disclosure Probe Without Action
"For more than two years, the SEC had been investigating whether the state made adequate disclosures about its pension finances to investors in offering documents that accompany municipal bond sales. The probe examined the financial statements and disclosures made from 2007, when Frank Caprio was treasurer, until Gina Raimondo stepped into the office in 2011. Rhode Island's retirement system for public employees has five funds worth about $7.7 billion altogether." (Reuters)

CBO Finds Lifetime Annuities a Bad Idea for Retirees
"In opposition to long-standing conventional wisdom and research that extolls annuities' ability to provide life-long income, most households should not annuitize any of their wealth, according to a study from the Congressional Budget Office. In explaining their conclusion, the study's authors ... state that 'the present value of the annuity stream falls after a negative shock to health that reduces a household's life expectancy.' At the same time, the authors state that negative health shocks often produce 'correlated costs' such as a loss of income, an increase in uninsured medical outlays, or both. Such factors, along with the 'liquidity constraints' of annuities, combine to reduce their appeal." (Financial Planning)

Solving the Lifetime Annuity Puzzle
"[E]conomists have long struggled to explain the so-called 'annuity puzzle' -- the fact that while the research suggests annuitization should be optimal, in practice remarkably few people ever choose to do so.... [Previous research] assumed that once the path of rising mortality rates over time was set, based on the individual's health conditions at the start, it would always evolve in the same manner, without any volatile shocks along the way. Yet of course, in the real world, health shocks do occur, and can change the course of the original longevity path... In the context of annuitization, this issue is especially important, as health shocks present an uncertainty that has a unique 'double whammy' risk ... the risks of decreased annuity value and higher costs are triggered by the same health event, which means they're actually correlated with each other in a remarkably undiversified manner, and as a result may be especially unappealing to a risk-averse investor!" (Michael Kitces, in Nerd's Eye View)


Comments by Committee of Annuity Insurers to SEC on Duties of Brokers, Dealers and Investment Advisers (PDF)
"[We] urge that any new disclosure obligations embrace electronic delivery. We also strongly oppose any effort to abolish FINRA's long-standing framework that applies to non-cash compensation paid with respect to sales of variable insurance and other securities products." (Committee of Annuity Insurers)


Three Steps That Could Shore Up Retirement Security
"A full-auto approach means all automatic features -- automatic enrollment, re-enrollment, escalation, and default to qualified funds -- for all workplace savings plans.... Any worker paying FICA taxes should have access to a retirement savings plan at work.... [W]orkers should be encouraged to set realistic expectations about retirement, and auto-escalation can help them achieve their retirement savings goals." (Putnam Investments)


Jane Q. Investor Testifies, and with Good Reason: 'I Am Angry. I Feel Betrayed.'
"I was able to discern that [she] was being harmed, by a high level of fees and costs, a questionable asset allocation, and a somewhat tax inefficient portfolio. And, while the precise amount of additional compensation paid to the dual registrant firm and its 'wealth managers' will likely never be known, it is certain that insidious conflicts of interest were present -- which no doubt affected the quality of the 'advice' being provided.... [I]s this what the fiduciary standard has come to? ... Why do firms rely upon complex written disclosures ... when we have substantial academic evidence that investors don't read the disclosures ...? Even those that try to read disclosure statements ... rarely understand them[.]" (Ron Rhoades)


Comments by fi360 to SEC on Duties of Brokers, Dealers and Investment Advisers (PDF)
"fi360 strongly believes that there should be a uniform standard of conduct for personalized investment advice provided to retail investors ... We believe that investors expect that a uniform standard should be applied, no matter the regulatory affiliation of the individual providing the advice. We believe that the adoption of a uniform standard would not reduce the availability of appropriate investment services or investment products to retail investors." (fi360)


Sample Letter to Senators Urging Preservation of ESOP Tax Treatment
"The Senate has officially begun a process to identify what to include or eliminate in tax reform. Following is information that can be used as a sample letter, email, and/or the basis for a phone call.... [Excerpt from the sample letter:] '[D]uring the Great Recession employee stock owned companies laid off employees at a rate of 2.6% whereas conventionally owned companies laid off employees at a rate of 12.1%.... [P]romoting ESOP creation and operation is the best jobs policy in the U.S. as the evidence is that the vast majority of ESOP companies are more productive, more profitable, providing locally controlled jobs that through ownership provide better retirement savings benefits than non-ESOP companies.'" (The ESOP Association)


Statement by National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems on Annuities for Employee (SAFE) Retirement Act (PDF)
"Senator Orrin Hatch's legislative proposal to turn public employee pensions over to private insurance companies is not only ill-conceived and unworkable, it completely misses the point. His legislation is nothing more than a solution in search of a problem -- and his proposal deftly directs public attention away from the real problem." (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS))

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

The DOMA Decision's Impact on Employee Benefit Plans (PDF)
12 pages. Includes charts comparing pre- and post-Windsor plan requirements. Excerpt: "While in most cases the post-Windsor tax treatment of health and welfare benefits will be more favorable to the same-sex spouse than previously, this will not always be the case. For example, under DOMA each same-sex spouse could have their own HSA. Post-Windsor, the rules that apportion the maximum contribution between spouses will apply to same-sex spouses ... [For retirement plans,] retroactive relief by the IRS would not necessarily apply to participant litigation under ERISA or any other law. But [the authors] believe qualified retirement plans will have some defenses available if such claims are made." (Alston & Bird)

[Guidance Overview]

New York Provides Guidance to State-Funded Service Providers on Complying with Compensation Limits under Executive Order #38
"New York State has now released more information to help covered service providers comply with Executive Order #38's limits, including: Preliminary Guidance that provides instructions on: the recommended processes for determining covered provider status; determining compliance with executive compensation and administrative expenses limitations; submitting the EO#38 Disclosure Form; filing a waiver application; and preparing a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). [Also released were four] worksheets to help covered providers perform the calculations needed to comply with these new requirements." (Practical Law Company)

Evaluating Broad-Based Approaches for Limiting Tax Expenditures
"This paper evaluates six options to achieve across-the-board reductions to a group of major exclusions and deductions in the income tax: (1) limiting their tax benefit to a maximum percentage of income, (2) imposing a fixed dollar cap, (3) reducing them by fixed-percentage amount, (4) limiting their tax saving to a maximum percentage of their dollar value, (5) replacing them with fixed rate refundable credits, and (6) including them in the base of the existing Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). We discuss issues of design, implementation, and administration, and simulate the revenue, distributional, and incentive effects of the various options." (Tax Policy Center, a project of Urban Institute and Brookings Institution)

The Unintended Consequences of Say on Pay Votes
"The confluence of Say on Pay (SOP) votes and heightened scrutiny plus the influence of proxy advisory firms (particularly ISS) are having a major unintended consequence -- the movement to 'one-size-fits-all' or homogenization of executive compensation programs.... [S]ome of the new homogenized practices may be perfectly acceptable for a given company or group of companies in a given set of circumstances, but it is unlikely that such uniformity is ideal for the large number of companies conforming due to external pressure." (The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation)


The Evolution of Companies' and Investors' Views of Company Stock Pledging Arrangements in 2013
"[It] seemed that ISS criticized every client that disclosed an existing pledging arrangement among its officers and directors. The fact ... that all of the directors at all of the companies that ISS criticized ... is, in [the author's] judgment, the result of ISS' waning influence and investors deciding that reasonable pledging arrangements, i.e., those that are not as extreme as those that were uncovered at Chesapeake Energy and Green Mountain Coffee Roaster, were not troubling." (Michael S. Melbinger of Winston & Strawn LLP)

Press Releases

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