EmployeeBenefitsJobs.com logo BenefitsLink.com logo

BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter

September 10, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
         Past Issues  |  Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Administrator II
Verisight, Inc.
in MD

Quality Assurance Specialist
A $5B pension fund
in NY

Client Service Call Center Associate
ASPire Financial Services LLC
in FL

Defined Contribution Administrator
North Suburban Chicago Retirement Plan Administration Firm
in IL

Large Group Benefit Consultant
Northwestern Benefit Corporation of Georgia
in GA

Customer Service Representative
MassMutual Financial Services
in AZ

Post Your Job

View All Jobs

RSS feed for jobs RSS Feed: All Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

ESOP Overview - An Introduction to ESOPs
November 26, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Center for Employee Ownership)

Advanced Cross-Tested Plans: Adding More Tools - Denver
October 4, 2013 in CO
(SunGard Relius)

2013 Fall Forum - Boston
September 23, 2013 in MA

2013 Fall Forum - San Antonio
October 28, 2013 in TX

IRA Basics
September 19, 2013 WEBCAST

IRA Reporting
September 19, 2013 WEBCAST

59th Annual Employee Benefits Conference
October 20, 2013 in NV
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans)

Affordable Care Act Compliance Assistance - Part I
September 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor)

PPA DC Restatements - What to Expect
September 24, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Institute of Pension Administrators)

Affordable Care Act Compliance Assistance - Part II
September 18, 2013 WEBCAST
(Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor)

Correcting Plan Errors
September 17, 2013 in OR
(Multnomah Group)

The Impact of “Obamacare” on the LGBT Community
September 13, 2013 WEBCAST
(White House)

35th Anniversary Reception
December 11, 2013 in DC
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

Employee Benefits: Tomorrow, Today, Yesterday Policy Forum
December 12, 2013 in DC
(Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI))

View All Webcasts and Conferences

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

Can a Class of Participants Challenge 401(k) Plan Investments? Seventh Circuit Says 'Yes'
"[T]he Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sent a message that 401(k) class actions can still be pursued when it overruled the district court and determined that participants could sue as a class to recover investment losses they claimed resulted from an imprudent plan investment option.... [T]he Lockheed plaintiffs didn't argue that it was imprudent because it was risky, but rather that the selected fund was too conservative to produce a robust return." (Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP)  


Expand your professional opportunities -- register for fall exams today!

Sponsored by ASPPA

Looking to expand your professional opportunities? Start by earning ASPPA certificates and credentials! Companies are increasingly seeking to hire those with these designations. Take the next step towards success - register for the fall exams today!

Fact or Fiction? Slaying the Myth of the 401(k) Tax Advantage
"We took a simple example where an employee contributes $100 per month. This employee is in a 15% income tax bracket and at 15% capital gains tax bracket. We then calculated growth over three time periods: 10 years, 20 years and 30 years. We then compared the taxes and savings for two scenarios: One where all the savings was after tax and one where all the savings was pre-tax.... In all three time periods, the employee would pay more taxes using the tax-deferred vehicle, yet, the employee also ends up with more money." (Fiduciary News)  

Fiduciary Duty and Investment Advice: Attitudes of 401(k) and 403(b) Participants (PDF)
"The survey reveals widespread support for enhanced requirements of 401(k) and 403(b) providers such as requiring advice from plan providers to be in the best interest of plan participants and requiring plan providers to disclose when their advice is not required to be in the plan participant's best interest. The survey also reveals considerable support for holding financial institutions that manage IRAs to a higher standard.... [W]hen asked to choose between advice from someone who benefits financially from the investments or no advice at all, well under half of respondents express a preference for advice from someone who has a financial interest in their investments with nearly as many expressing a preference for no advice at all." (AARP)  

Sixth Circuit Denies Injunction to Preclude Withdrawal Liability During Labor Dispute
"During the strike, the union disclaimed interest in the striking employees, which the plan said constituted a 'withdrawal' by the company from the plan ... [T]he company has no choice but to make payments toward a $10 million liability that appears (at best) suspect, and to go to arbitration to try to clear this up and get the money back. This case looks like good news for unions (who can use this case to assert additional leverage during a strike), and a candidate for Supreme Court review (because this decision creates a Circuit split)." [Findlay Truck Line v. Central States Southeast & Southwest Pension Fund, Nos. 12-3450; 12-3531 (6th Cir. Aug. 9, 2013)] (James E. Arnold & Associates, LPA)  

Honda Cuts Pensions, Reduces Benefits
"Instead of a defined-benefit pension, new employees will be offered a 401(k) savings plan, a version of which has previously been offered as a supplement to the pension. The switch will occur in January.... Honda is also changing the way it handles early retirement and retiree health insurance, shifting to plans that will provide less-generous benefits." (The Columbus Dispatch)  


ftwilliam.com Launches ftwProposal Pro!

Sponsored by ftwilliam.com

Join us on Sept 18th for a quick demonstration of our newest product, ftwProposal Pro, an integrated proposal module. Click here to learn more about the features we will cover and sign up for our free webinar.

U.S. Local Governments Have Little Control Over Pensions
"Many U.S. local governments have large pension liabilities, but few control the management, reforms and investments of their retirement plans ... [An] estimated 75 percent of U.S. local government pensions are run through centrally administered plans, such as state 'cost-sharing' systems, [Moody's] found in a sweeping survey of the public pension landscape that analyzed 8,000 local governments. School districts in particular have little pension independence[.]" (Reuters)  

Timken Co. Expects to Have Fully Funded Pension Plans at Separation
"Two-thirds of the company's $3.1 billion in assets and $3.5 billion in liabilities in the company's defined benefit plan will go to the bearings and power transmission business that will continue to operate as The Timken Co. and one-third will go to the spinoff of the engineered-steel business into a new company ... The company contributed $110.2 million to its pension funds in the first half of this year, including $105 million in discretionary contributions. Last year, it contributed $325.8 million to its pension funds." (Pensions & Investments)  

Kodak Leaves Bankruptcy Behind with its Pensions Intact
"On [September 3], Eastman Kodak Co., known for its iconic film business, ended a 20 month bankruptcy proceeding with its two pension plans intact. That means the nearly 63,000 people covered by those plans will have a more secure retirement.... [The PBGC works] with companies to help them keep their plans so retirees get all the benefits they earned. Last year, our efforts kept more than $12 billion in unfunded pension benefits off our books and helped nearly 200,000 stay in their plans." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)  

Pension Finance Watch, August 2013
"Equity values declined in August while interest rates resumed their upward trend. The resulting asset and liability changes essentially balanced out, and the Towers Watson Pension Index dropped 0.3% for the month, to 72.8. Despite this slight decline, the Index remains up almost 17% for the year." (Towers Watson)  


Winston & Strawn Compensation and Benefits Training Programs

Sponsored by Winston & Strawn, LLP

W&S offers more than 30 customizable Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation training programs. W&S partners are adjunct professors at 3 law schools and regularly provide on-site or web-based training. View this brochure for more information.

PNC Perspectives of Retirement Survey, No. 3
"Almost half of Americans in their prime retirement planning years believe they will need to work longer than previously planned in order to save enough to retire, yet nearly 60 percent of those 70 and under who have already left the workforce did so earlier than planned ... About four in 10 (42 percent) ... consider themselves to be on track in their preparation for retirement. About a third (35 percent) ... recognize the need to prepare but acknowledge they put it off. A final group ... admit they are well behind on their retirement planning." [Click on "Overview" for a 15-page summary of the survey.] (PNC)  

Move Over, 401(k): IRA Fees Are What Really Hurt
"There is more money in IRAs than in 401(k) plans in the U.S., and that means more opportunity for Americans to give away more of their long-term returns to fees ... Regulators have contended that part of the explanation for the high fees on IRA investments is that most IRA assets are with broker-dealers, and the incentive payment arrangements typical in retail mutual funds -- namely, 12b-1 distribution fees -- encourage the sale of higher-fee mutual funds." (CNBC)  

Corporate Pension Funded Status Drops by $6 Billion in August
"The funded status of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit pension plans declined by $6 billion during August as measured by the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index (PFI). The deficit rose to $162 billion, primarily due to adverse performance in the financial markets during August. The PFI funded ratio dropped to 89.4% from 89.9% at the end of July." (Milliman)  


Text of Comments by ICI to OMB on DOL Information Collection Request about Focus Groups and Survey Regarding Pension Benefit Statements (PDF)
"[ICI has] concerns related to three elements of the survey design.... [We] believe that: [1] one-on-one in-person interviews may be more effective than a focus group setting ... [2] the sample sizes of the sub-populations receiving the different proposed treatments could be insufficient to reach reliable conclusions regarding survey data results; and [3] the Discussion Guide and Benefits Survey should be compared and more closely aligned with each other ... The survey ... does not appear to have a comprehensive approach to getting people to think about all of their retirement resources, before moving into a specific discussion of benefit statements from employer-sponsored [DC] plans." (Investment Company Institute [ICI])  


Pensions Still Making Ludicrous Assumptions About Future Returns
"Two well-respected analysts of pension funds have produced reports this summer suggesting that pensions are now underfunded by more than $4 trillion and possibly more than $5 trillion.... The two reports conclude that pension plan sponsors seem determined to keep digging themselves an ever-deeper hole. But to hear the plan sponsors tell it, the situation is readily manageable and the risks are minimal. Except that pesky old reality keeps confounding their expectations." (John Mauldin in Business Insider)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

Treasury/IRS Clarify Federal Tax Treatment of Same-Sex Marriages; Many Health & Welfare Plans Affected
"The changes wrought by Revenue Ruling 2013-17 will ripple through cafeteria plans, Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and many fringe benefit plans and programs, including qualified tuition reduction programs, arrangements providing or reimbursing meals and lodging for the convenience of the employer, and dependent care assistance programs (relating to the care of a disabled spouse). Thus, for example, pre-tax premium contributions will be permitted for spousal coverage under an employer's cafeteria plan, and HRAs will be permitted to reimburse qualifying medical expenses of an employee's same-sex spouse." (Mintz Levin)  

IRS Probing Non-Qualified 457(b) Plans (PDF)
"Some plan sponsors have already received their letters; others will receive them between now and September 30, 2014.... [T]he compliance questionnaire is not an audit, which would be far more comprehensive than a 10-item list. That said, the questionnaire should not be taken lightly; a failure to respond will most likely result in an audit, as will an inadequate response, or a response which indicates that plan failures may be present." (Cammack LaRhette Consulting)  

A Different Twist On Cash Management: Life Insurance
"Beyond deferred compensation, a company owned by an [ESOP] usually has an obligation to provide cash in return for stock when an employee dies, is permanently disabled, retires or otherwise leaves. Similarly, a company may simply have a contractual obligation to buyout an employee/stockholder when that individual leaves the company. These calls on cash are hard to predict and potentially expensive. In contrast, if a company purchases permanent, cash value life insurance on a group of key employees, they can begin to prefund these future obligations. Each year's payment of premiums represents a smoothed out funding of the corporate liability." (Forbes)  

Press Releases

Connect   LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook
BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
Phone (407) 644-4146
Fax (407) 644-2151

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

Copyright © 2013 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. -- but feel free to forward this newsletter without further permission from us, if you do not modify the newsletter in any way (including this lower portion).

All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Links to Web sites other than those owned by BenefitsLink.com, Inc. are offered as a service to readers. The editorial staff of BenefitsLink.com, Inc. was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

Useful links: