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August 27, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Member Service Manager
for DC Retirement Board in DC

Senior Health Benefits Analyst
for The Segal Company in DC

Retirement Plan Consultant
for General Pension Planning, a TWG Benefits company in OH

Retirement Plan Analyst
for Trinity Pension Group, LLC in NC

National Account Executive
for Liberty Mutual Insurance in IL

Project Coordinator
for Unite Here Health in IL

Actuarial Assistant
for Acuff & Associates, Inc. in TN

New Plan + Conversion Specialist or SUPERSTAR!
for The Online 401(k) in CA

Relationship Mgr II/III
for The Standard in TX

Account Specialist
for The Standard in CA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Next Wave of Wellness and Disease Management Strategies for Health Plans Conference
October 29, 2013 in DC
(Corporate Research Group)

4th Annual Executive Forum on Creating a Culture of Health & Wellness
October 9, 2013 in IL
(World Congress)

Affordable Care Act 101 for Small Business
September 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA))

401(k) Plans: Beyond the Basics 2013 - Minneapolis
September 26, 2013 in MN
(SunGard Relius)

Advanced Cross-Tested Plans: Adding More Tools - Minneapolis
September 25, 2013 in MN
(SunGard Relius)

90 Minute Crash Course on DC Plans
September 10, 2013 WEBCAST
(BPAS)

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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

IRS Enforces Form 8955-SSA Penalties
"Recently ... the IRS sent out approximately 4,200 penalty letters for late and incomplete Forms 8955-SSA. Much to its embarrassment, 4,000 of the letters were sent erroneously ... The erroneous penalty letters shadow the more significant story -- the IRS has commenced enforcing penalties associated with the Form 8955-SSA. Practitioners, who already must be diligent in timely filing the Form 5500, must now carefully review their records to make certain they are including all the participants required to be reported on the Form 8955-SSA." (SunGard Relius)  


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Sun Capital Decision Provides Private Equity Funds with Steps to Minimize ERISA Exposure
"The Sun Capital decision, however, does have some good news for private equity funds. As the court held, structuring an initial transaction so that no single owner will hold an 80% or greater stake in a portfolio company with potential unfunded pension liabilities will not expose a fund to evade-or-avoid liability under ERISA. Nonetheless, going forward, private equity funds should take steps to minimize their exposure for pension obligations incurred by potential and current portfolio companies." (Morgan Lewis)  

[Guidance Overview]

Slides for August 29 IRS Phone Forum: Tools to Prepare for an Audit (PDF)
47 slides. Topics include: Resources; Examination selection methodologies; Preparing for the audit; Tips for a smooth & efficient audit; Exam Process Guide; Large case considerations; Impact of new EPCRS under Rev. Proc. 2013-12; Common examination errors; and How can plan sponsors improve compliance? (Internal Revenue Service)  

Deferred Income Annuities Add to Robust Lineup of Lifetime Income Strategies
"[Deferred Income Annuity (DIA)] product sales reached an estimated $1 billion in 2012 and have continued to grow during the first half of 2013.... Income on DIA products can start between two to 40 years from issue, but most DIAs are elected with an income start date between five to 15 years from issue.... The average DIA buyer is in their late 50s, with most DIAs being purchased by buyers ranging from their early 50s to mid-60s. Across the industry, the average income deferral period for DIA products is eight years. One-fifth of Baby Boomers believe that guaranteed income each month is the most important trait of a retirement investment product." (Insured Retirement Institute)  

Philly Schools' Pension Nightmare
"[T]he PSERS system's projections of future contribution rates ... [lead to] a rapid increase in district contributions from $32 million in 2011 to $139 million annually by 2020, assuming that the state continues to increase its share of funding for Philly's teacher pensions. But that's a big assumption because the burden on the state will grow, too. The total bill for annual pension contributions to the Philly school district by 2020 will be $349 million, meaning that the state will have to kick in $210 million annually by 2020[.]" (Public Sector Inc.)  


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Retirement Plan Participation: Survey of Income and Program Participation Data, 2012 (PDF)
"61 percent of all workers over age 16 had an employer that sponsored a pension or retirement plan for any of its employees in 2012, up from 59 percent in 2009. Workers participating in a plan increased to 46 percent in 2012, up slightly from 2009 (45 percent) but below 2003 (48 percent). The vesting rate ... stood at 43 percent in 2012, up from 24 percent in 1979. This increase is largely due to the increased number of workers participating in [DC plans], where employee contributions are immediately vested, and faster vesting requirements in private-sector pension plans. [DC] plans were considered the primary plan by 78 percent of workers with a plan. [DB] plans were the primary plan for 21 percent of workers." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])  

Wave of Federal Retirements May Be Ahead
"About thirty percent of all executive-branch workers will be eligible to retire by 2016, and some agencies will face more departures than others. There is no mandatory retirement age for most executive branch jobs." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

New Ideas on Illinois Pension Reform
"Under the outline, the state would cut back the cost-of-living increases that are driving much of the retirement system shortfall but require workers to actually pay less toward their pensions. Missing from the outline was a long-debated requirement offering retirees a choice between keeping health insurance or taking a smaller pension increase each year. There also would be no increase in the retirement age. And there would be no limits on how much of an employee's salary could be counted toward a pension." (Chicago Tribune; subscription may be required)  

Do Common Benchmarks Mislead 401(k) Fiduciaries?
"A month after Rule 408(b)(2) became effective, a Wharton study came out declaring investment allocation had less relevance than at least three other factors.... [T]hese under-emphasized benchmarks can help 401k plan sponsors fulfill their (traditional) fiduciary duty to serve the best interests of the beneficiaries of the plan." (Fiduciary News)  

The 1% Difference in Your Rate of Saving: A Little Can Go a Long Way
Infographic. "It's crucial that younger employees understand the importance of saving. The earlier they increase their deferrals, the larger the potential increase in their monthly retirement 'paycheck.' ... The reality is that saving just 1% more today could make all the difference down the road." (Fidelity)  

French Government Nears Deal with Unions on Pension Reform
"Under market pressure to reform its indebted retirement system, the Socialist government has ruled out raising the legal retirement age of 62 and hopes sticking to softer measures will avoid setting off prolonged street protests.... The government's main scenario is to make workers pay pension contributions for a period of up to 44 years starting in 2020 ... As things stand, a pay-in period of 41.5 years is to be made mandatory for all by 2020, whereas today people retire after around 40.5 years in work." (Reuters)  

[Opinion]

Pension Rights Center Statement on Saint Peter's Healthcare System 'Church Plan' Ruling from the IRS
"We are deeply disappointed that the IRS appears to have issued a church plan ruling to Saint Peter's Healthcare System (formerly Saint Peter's University Hospital). The ruling is particularly disappointing since many Saint Peter's participants had filed comments documenting that their pension plan has been an ERISA plan since January 1, 1974, and had specifically requested the opportunity 'to participate in the decision-making procedure by making oral presentations' at an IRS meeting as contemplated by Revenue Procedure 2011-44. No meeting was ever held." (Pension Rights Center)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

The Sun Capital Case Could Have Broader Implications for Employee Benefit Plans
"[O]ne wonders whether the Sun Capital decision could ultimately have broader implications in the world of employee benefits and executive compensation, where the controlled group rules arise in many contexts. If a private equity fund and one or more of its portfolio companies can be treated as a controlled group (and, therefore, as a single employer) under the 'investment plus' standard of Sun Capital, the constituent entities could experience a number of undesirable consequences: [1] The retirement plans maintained by the controlled group members would be subject to coverage and nondiscrimination testing based on the entire combined workforce of the fund and the portfolio companies; [2] There would be joint and several liability for any defined benefit pension plan unfunded benefit obligations (not just for multiemployer plans); [3] Employees who move from one portfolio company to another may not be considered to have separated from service in a way that would trigger the right to receive benefit payments; [and] [4] The employers would have to be combined for purposes of applying the employer shared responsibility requirements of the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a the play or pay mandate)." [Sun Capital Partners III, L.P. v. New England Teamsters & Trucking Ind. Pension Fund, No. 12-2312 (1st Cir. July 24, 2013)] (Verrill Dana LLP)  

A State of the Art ERISA Benefits Decision from the First Circuit
"[T]he Court raises the bar for establishing discretionary review, and in so doing, gives a careful presentation of exactly why this is the normal and logical result of years of jurisprudence.... . In this latest decision out of the First Circuit, however, you see something very interesting: the pure application of the need for remand to the administrator, as though this is simply the basic rule in this circuit (which, in fact, is what it has become)." [Gross v. Sun Life, No. 12-1175 (1st Cir. Aug. 12, 2013)] (Stephen Rosenberg of The McCormack Firm, LLC)  

Determining the Death Beneficiary, and Beneficiary Rights, Under an ERISA Plan
"The article suggests plan policies and provisions to minimize ambiguous beneficiary designations while fulfilling the participant's intentions, such as the use of plan beneficiary designation template that clearly describes the consequences of one or more beneficiaries predeceasing the participant and limit beneficiary choices. This article also discusses how Federal common-law rather than state common-law determines how the doctrines of fraud, undue influence, substantial compliance, and the capacity to make designations apply to determining the effectiveness of beneficiary designations." (Albert Feuer via SSRN)  

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