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August 22, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

Third Annual ERISA, Employee Benefits, and Social Insurance National Conference
March 28, 2014 in WI
(Marquette University School of Law)

Advanced Cross-Tested Plans: Adding More Tools
September 19, 2013 in TX
(SunGard Relius)

Connect with Sal Tripodi
September 11, 2013 in CA
(San Diego County Chapter of NIPA)

Fall Seminar
September 10, 2013 in MN
(ASPPA Benefits Council of Greater Twin Cities)

Affordable Care Act 101 for Small Business
September 5, 2013 WEBCAST
(U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA))

Solving Cross-Testing Headaches Seminar
September 10, 2013 in GA
(ASPPA Benefits Council of Atlanta)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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

2011 Annual Survey of Public Pensions: Summary Report of State- and Locally-Administered DB Plan Data
"This report provides statistics on revenues, expenditures, financial assets and membership information for public employee retirement systems. Statistics are shown for retirement systems at the national, state and local government level. This publication presents data on public pension systems based on information collected from the 2011 Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State- and Locally-Administered Defined Benefit Data." (U.S. Census Bureau)  


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Rising Returns Give U.S. Public Pension Funds Chance to Reform
"A raft of pension reforms since the financial crisis by many U.S. state and local governments have not repaired their pension debt, a factor in the bankruptcies of Detroit, Michigan, and the California cities of Stockton and San Bernardino. A 20 percent gain on the U.S. stock market in the twelve months to June is, however, alleviating acute funding gaps in many areas." (Reuters)  

Pension Payment Deferrals May Begin to Affect Municipal Credit Ratings
"Moody's has warned that Huntington, Long Island, could lose its top credit rating if the town funnels more money away from public pensions to meet short-term spending needs ... Public employers deferred $1.1 billion in the fiscal year ended in March 2013, up from $293.2 million in 2011, a near fourfold increase, according to data from the New York state's Comptroller's office. The number of public employers using deferrals jumped to nearly 200 in the fiscal year just ended from around 50 two years earlier. About 3,000 employers pay into the system." (Reuters)  

401(k) Index & Observations, July 2013
"Defined contribution plan participants' daily transfer volumes were low in July, with transfers averaging 0.023% of balance totals per day ... The trailing 12-month daily average remains at 0.028%. July had one day when transfer activity reached above-normal levels. July was a successful month for most equity market participants." (Aon Hewitt)  

Ninth Circuit Allows Discharge of Multiemployer Plan Withdrawal Liability in Bankruptcy
"The Ninth Circuit ... [noted] that 'money that is owed to the Fund is not in the Fund, and is therefore not yet a Fund "asset."' ... The court also noted that under prior bankruptcy decisions, a debtor is not a fiduciary unless he was a fiduciary before the debt arose -- the failure to pay the debt cannot create a fiduciary status that did not previously exist." [Carpenters Pension Trust Fund v. Moxley, No. 11-16133 (9th Cir. Aug. 20, 2013)] (Littler)  


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Three Reasons to Delay Retirement
"It's clear that many workers take early benefits because of health and job problems. The recession bore this out. Still, experts have been puzzled about why so many people rush to take early benefits. Research performed over the past few years has concluded that it may just be because no one told people there was a better alternative." (U.S.News & World Report)  

Chart of 'Spousal Consent' Rules Under the 50 State Retirement Systems
"In private-sector pension plans, husbands and wives who outlive their spouses automatically receive a portion of their spouse's pension unless they have agreed to give up these benefits. This is also true in some public pension plans, but not all. The rules relating to 'spousal consent' differ from state to state. This fact sheet provides basic information on the rules governing spousal consent for the largest retirement plans in each state." (Pension Rights Center)  

How Underfunded Are Detroit's Pension Plans?
"The actuaries hired by the city's emergency manager say that the pensions are underfunded by 40 percent to 50 percent.... Pension funds spokesman Bruce Babiarz said the report 'was bought and paid for by the city, but it's not a true actuarial analysis of the funds.' The funds, which say they have a total of about $5 billion in assets, estimate they are now underfunded by about $650 million." (Bloomberg)  

Ten Attributes of a Retirement-Ready 401(k) Plan
"[1] Auto-enrollment.... [2] Auto-escalation.... [3] Auto re-enrollment.... [4] Hardship withdrawal provisions for loans.... [5] Roth 401(k) availability.... [6] Extended employer match.... [7] Catch-up contributions.... [8] Availability of index funds.... [9] Right number of fund choices.... [10] Availability of target date funds." (Employee Benefit News)  

[Opinion]

A Step in the Right Direction: The SAFE Retirement Plan Proposal
"[The Center for American Progress is proposing] a contributory multiemployer cash balance pension plan with a set of features not currently permitted under the Internal Revenue Code for qualified plans.... It has these attributes that are very positive: [1] The plan is portable' [2] It provides for retirement income; [3] It reduces 'leakage' ... [4] The retirement income is somewhat protected against inflation; [and 5] Employers can be employers of choice by contributing to their workers' SAFE Plans ... The retirement plan design is founded on retirement policy. Note the symmetry!" (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)  

[Opinion]

Chicago Teacher Pensions Have to Take a Hit
"Top [Chicago Public Schools (CPS)] officials and the mayor ... have uttered the phrase 'pension reform' innumerable times, citing it as the main solution to Chicago's budget woes. After a three-year partial pension holiday, CPS' pension bill goes up by $404 million this year. But Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and her top lieutenants never spell out publicly what reform they want the state legislature, which sets pension benefits, to pass -- raise the retirement age? lower retiree cost-of-living increases? increase employee contributions?" (Chicago Sun-Times)  

[Opinion]

Rethinking Retirement by Blowing Up 401(k) Plans
"There's no denying that the gold standard for retirement planning right now is an employer-sponsored 401k investment plan. But a think tank with close ties to the Obama Administration is proposing changing that, and blowing up 401k investing and reshaping the current model of retirement planning.... The idea is simple: Regular lifetime payments into a shared pool of retirement funds will ultimately result in better performance for all when compared with individual 401k plans that vary in expenses, success and risk." (InvestorPlace)  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by AARP to PBGC on Proposed Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"AARP would also support using this database so that participants can locate their accounts, even if the plan is active ... Finally, AARP believes that the PBGC should require terminating individual account plans to transfer the accounts and their assets of missing participants to the PBGC after the terminating plans have performed a diligent search." (AARP)  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by Pension Action Center to PBGC on Proposed Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"The value of a comprehensive database of missing participants' benefits in terminated individual account plans far outweighs the burden to plans of reporting data and the PBGC of maintaining the database.... A comprehensive data base including all unclaimed benefits, whether the plan is a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan and whether the plan is terminated or active, would be the most useful for participants and plans alike.... Reporting of plan data of terminating defined contribution plans should be required in order to create the most comprehensive database of missing participants' benefits." (Pension Action Center, Gerontology Institute, University of Massachusetts Boston)  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by ACLI to PBGC on Proposed Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"ACLI encourages PBGC to implement the extension of its Program to terminating defined contribution plans on a voluntary basis and agrees that it would be helpful for plan administrators and service providers. The Program would be particularly helpful in the case of accounts that are subject to the qualified joint and survivor annuity (QJSA) rules and in the case of low balance accounts." (American Council of Life Insurers [ACLI])  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by Retirement Clearinghouse to PBGC on Proposed Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"The critical, missing link in dealing with missing participants occurs after they are found. For working, small-balance job-changers, it is particularly critical to offer guidance that keeps these 'found' participants invested in their retirement, thus avoiding the over-whelming behavioral tendency to cash out their retirement savings. Offering the 'found' participant the option of consolidating their retirement savings into an active plan is an effective solution, and one which the PBGC should consider." (Retirement Clearinghouse)  

[Opinion]

Text of Comments by Pension Rights Center to PBGC on Proposed Missing Participant Program for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"We urge the PBGC to [require] employers terminating defined contribution plans to provide information to the PBGC on missing participants and their benefits for inclusion in a central database maintained by the PBGC.... We also recommend that the PBGC coordinate with the Labor Department in designing the missing participant program." (Pension Rights Center)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

This Time the Employer is Responsible for the Withholding Error
"[The] employer should have withheld and paid FICA taxes on the present value of the [nonqualified] benefit [when employment terminated]; however, the employer failed to do so. A number of years later, the employer determined that it had mishandled the FICA taxes at retirement.... The employer paid the back FICA taxes to the IRS and reimbursed itself by reducing the former employee's monthly benefit payments for several months. The employer also began withholding FICA taxes from each benefit payment.... The former employee sued claiming harm because the amount of FICA taxes to be paid from each benefit payment is quite a bit more than the amount that would have been owed had the FICA taxes been imposed at the time of retirement.... The district court ... [ruled] that the suit was one for benefit payments, namely, the full monthly payment which would be owed if the withholding had been properly handled in the first instance. Rather than a suit to stop withholding, it was instead a suit for damages, with the damages being measured by the amount of the withholding. The court allowed the suit to proceed on that basis." (Leonard, Street and Deinard)  

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