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August 20, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Legal Counsel - ERISA - Title I
for T. Rowe Price in MD

Employee Benefits Associate
for Hanson Bridgett LLP in CA

Cash Balance Administration Specialist
for Cash Balance Online in CA

Benefit Administrator
for Beneco in AZ

Section Manager: Institutional Retirement Marketing
for T. Rowe Price in MD

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
for Retirement, LLC - Series Two in OK

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Webcasts and Conferences

EPCRS Gives You Shelter/Regulatory Update
September 10, 2013 in TX
(ASPPA Benefits Council of Central Texas)

The Death of DOMA -- What You Need to Know
September 19, 2013 in NY
(WEB (Worldwide Employee Benefits Network), New York Chapter)

Managed Care Disputes and Litigation
October 22, 2013 in GA
(American Conference Institute)

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics 2013 - A 2-day seminar - Kansas City
September 18, 2013 in KS
(SunGard Relius)

Census Collection: Fast & Easy (really)
September 10, 2013 WEBCAST
(Actuarial Systems Corporation (ASC))

License Roulette: Donít Gamble With Your Business
September 11, 2013 WEBCAST
(Employers Council on Flexible Compensation (ECFC))

Research Results Unveiled Ė Employer Perceptions Regarding Private Exchanges and Defined Contribution -- Free Webinar
August 29, 2013 WEBCAST
(Institute for HealthCare Consumerism)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


  LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook Hand-picked links to the web's best news articles,
official guidance, jobs, webcasts and more.

State-Sponsored Retirement Plans for Private-Sector Employees: A Better Way to Save for Retirement?
"The problem of eroding retirement security is gaining increasing attention from lawmakers and others, although policy responses are moving slowly. In California, lawmakers have enacted a bill ... that would create a statewide retirement fund for private-sector workers who lack such coverage beyond Social Security.... [L]egislators in Connecticut, Oregon, Maryland and Washington have considered similar measures. All of the plans seek to resurrect the idea of some type of fixed payment for retirees to supplement Social Security. But critics say fixed payments are often incompatible with the kind of flexibility that workers seem to like in 401(k)s." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  


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Letter from Yale Law School Dean to ASPPA About Professor Ayres' 401(k) Fee Research
"[T]he letters you have reviewed from Professor Ayres neither represent, or purport to represent, the views of Yale University or Yale Law School. Any statements made in the letters are not made by, or on behalf of, Yale University or Yale Law School. The letters represent the independent research of Professor Ayres.... Faculty possess academic freedom to pursue their own research ... We therefore cannot either endorse or repudiate Professor Ayers' research. Nor can we in any way interfere with Professor Ayres' research. For that reason I do not believe that we would have anything to gain from a meeting.... In the world of scholarship, Professor Ayres' work will ultimately be judged on its merits, and you may have much to contribute to that debate." (Robert C. Post, Dean, Yale Law School)  

Detroit Bankruptcy Challenged on Constitutional Grounds
"Public labor unions took aim at Detroit's historic bankruptcy filing ... asking a U.S. court to toss the city's bid for protection from its creditors because it is constitutionally flawed on both the state and federal levels.... But as a midnight deadline for filing objections to the bankruptcy passed, Detroit's bondholders were conspicuously absent from the long list of unions, pension funds and individual creditors lining up to argue against bankruptcy." (Reuters)  

Pension Funds Dispute Actuarial Calculations in Detroit Bankruptcy
"The two pension funds that represent Detroit's city workers and retirees are challenging the way the city's emergency manager has calculated their unfunded liabilities, leading to a possible showdown in federal bankruptcy court over whether the city's financial position is as dire as state officials are claiming. The two funds have long maintained they were relatively well-funded using accepted actuarial projections. But the city, under the control of emergency manager Kevyn Orr, in July argued that the projected shortfall of the funds is at least $3.5 billion, more than five times previous estimates." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

401(k) Plan Sponsors Who Fail to Properly Evaluate Fees Are 'at Risk'
"People need to remember that the issue isn't low fees -- it's whether the plan and the participants are receiving value for their money.... [S]ome of the most successful plans are paying money for robust participant services -- but the plan, even though it might benchmark as higher cost, is prudently managed because it is providing value beyond the cost.... [T]he greatest fiduciary liability 401k plan sponsors face ... is excessive expense ratios for investments and excessive compensation for service providers.... The best way to mitigate liability is to do a good job -- to pay attention." (Fred Reish via Fiduciary News)  


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Financial Security Index Declines in August
"[In August], the index declined to 100.5, down 1.5 points since July 2013.... 20% of people with no college degree are saving less for retirement this year, compared to 10% of people with a college degree. 17% of people earning less than $30,000 didn't contribute anything in 2013 or 2012, versus just an average 3% of people earning $30,000 or more" (Bankrate.com)  

Mercer U.S. Pension Buyout Index, July 2013
"[T]he cost of purchasing annuities for retirees decreased moderately over July 2013, from 109.4% to 108.7% of the accounting liability and the economic cost of retaining the retirees remained level at 108.2% of the accounting liability. The cost of annuitization relative to the economic cost of retaining the liabilities decreased during July and is currently only approximately 50 basis points indicating that buyout premiums are potentially attractive for sponsors when compared with all-in retention costs[.]" (Mercer)  

Show Me the Money! Questions to Ask When Choosing a 401(k) Plan Advisor
"What fees and expenses will my plan be subject to, and what compensation will you and your firm receive, if we work with you? ... What are all the sources of your compensation and your firm's compensation, relative to our plan?... What conflicts of interest might you, or your firm, have when providing plan level advice to sponsors, or participant level advice to employees?" (Paladin Research & Registry)  

CalPERS Annual Report Highlights Investments in California Companies and Their Benefits to Californians
"Key findings in the CalPERS for California 2012 report include: Investments for the 2011-12 Fiscal Year totaled $20.7 billion, or 8.9 percent of the Total Fund, representing an increase of 6.7 percent from the 2010-11 Fiscal Year. Nearly 1.5 million jobs have been supported or created as a result of CalPERS investments in California. CalPERS dollars were invested across asset classes, including public equity, fixed income, private equity, real estate and infrastructure." (CalPERS)  

Wilshire Lowers CalPERS' 10-Year Return Estimates for Stocks, Private Equity
"The estimated returns for the quarter ended June 30 from consultant Wilshire Associates lower the expected return from U.S. stocks to 7.25% from 7.75%; global stocks, to 7.5% from 8%; and private equity, to 10.45% from 10.75%. Wilshire made its previous estimates for the quarter ended March 31. Public and private equity combined makes up about 65% of CalPERS' portfolio, but 90% of the risk[.]" (Pensions & Investments)  

[Opinion]

American Retirement Savings System Could Be Much Better
"The personal retirement-savings plans that most Americans use, such as 401(k)s and [IRAs], are unnecessarily costly and needlessly risky. But instituting another kind of retirement plan that combines the best elements of both defined-contribution and defined-benefit plans -- such as the Center for American Progress's [CAP's] proposed Secure, Accessible, Flexible, and Efficient, or SAFE, Retirement Plan, or the related USA Retirement Funds proposal from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) -- could provide a more secure retirement at a far lower cost ... Our actuarial analysis finds that CAP's SAFE Retirement Plan significantly outperforms both 401(k)s and IRAs on cost and risk measures." (Center for American Progress)  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law to PBGC on Proposed Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"[W]e suggest that the PBGC would significantly benefit both plan sponsors and missing participants in defined contribution plans by taking the following actions: [1] Adding to PBGC's national database of missing participants from defined benefit plans, missing participants from terminating defined contribution plans, [2] Specifying simple, easy to follow rules for plan sponsors to send the benefits for such missing participants to the PBGC, [3] Providing a simple, clear method for meeting the requirement for a diligent search, and [4] Providing employers the ability to use PBGC as part of the diligent search process, at a reasonable fee determined by the PBGC." (American Bar Association's Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law)  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by American Benefits Council to PBGC on Proposed Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"This program would provide an important additional option for plan administrators to address accounts of missing participants.... [S]o long as the program is limited to terminated plans, it will not be available for many plan administrators dealing with participants missing from ongoing plans.... The program, and any expansion for other missing participants, should be voluntary.... PBGC should work with DOL to update its guidance on missing participants[.]" (American Benefits Council)  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by ERIC, PSCA and U.S. Chamber of Commerce to PBGC on Proposed Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"The program must [assure] fiduciaries of terminating plans that participate in the program that: (1) the funds will be handled appropriately; (2) the account will be charged no more than reasonable fees; (3) the participant (once found) will be able to obtain an accounting of the manner in which their funds have been handled by the PBGC; and (4) the fiduciaries will not face significant administrative burdens. Once the program is established, the PBGC should encourage the [DOL] to issue guidance providing that fiduciaries of terminating plans that participate in the program are relieved of fiduciary liability for the amounts transferred to the PBGC. However, the PBGC should not delay the creation of the program for the issuance of this guidance.... [P]articipating in the program should be optional and should be in addition to any private sector arrangements that provide similar services." (The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC], Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA] and U.S. Chamber of Commerce)  

[Opinion]

ASPPA and ACOPA Request IRS Guidance on Calculation of DB Plan Deduction Limit under Code Section 404(o)
"The IRS should issue guidance confirming that the options in the regulations under IRC Section 404(a) for determining the deductibility of an employer contribution to a DB Plan when the plan year of the plan and the taxable year of the plan sponsor are not the same can still be used by plan sponsors.... The IRS should issue guidance providing that a career average plan may project the benefit payable at future dates using a salary scale, and multiply by the ratio of accrued service over total service at each projected payment date, to determine the target liability cushion amount." (ASPPA's Defined Benefit Subcommittee of the Government Affairs Committee, and the ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Federal Employees to Be Surveyed Again About Benefits
"In the most recent sampling, more than 90 percent of respondents said they consider important or extremely important the 401(k)-style Thrift Savings Plan, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, health benefits in retirement and their civil service defined benefit retirement programs. In contrast, only slightly more than half had the same view of the flexible spending account program that lets federal workers put aside pre-tax money for certain dependent care and health care expenses." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Executive Compensation: Balancing Business Needs with External Pressure (PDF)
"[T]here is no shortage of advice on how to 'fix' executive compensation.... A board's compensation committee, working closely with senior management, is in the best position ... At times, actions required may deviate from what is commonly viewed as 'best practice.' In those situations, it will be necessary to provide additional explanations in the proxy (and possibly directly to shareholders).... Some of the more common areas of potential deviation from what might be considered 'best practice' include ... Defining (and Paying) for Performance ... Using Discretion ... One-Time Awards ... Appropriate Goal Setting." (Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC)  

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