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October 16, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Director of Marketing and Communications
July Business Services
in TX

Retirement Specialist
Nationwide Insurance
in NM

Senior Client Service Specialist
Iron Financial
in IL

401(k) Administrator
AFC Pensions, Inc.
in MA

Defined Contribution Administrator
FACTS, inc.
in IN

Senior Defined Contribution (DC) Analyst
Retirement Horizons Inc.
in TX

Plan Administrator
BlueStar Retirement Services
in FL

Retirement Plan Services Officer
First Financial Bank
in IN

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Webcasts and Conferences

Ethics Case Studies One
October 22, 2013 WEBCAST
(McKay Hochman Co., Inc.)

Rx Benefits in Private Exchanges: Strategies to Enhance Consumer Choice and Health Plan Market Share
November 5, 2013 WEBCAST
(Atlantic Information Services, Inc)

ERISA Workshop 2013 - Des Moines
November 13, 2013 in IA
(SunGard Relius)

Claims and Appeals for Self-Insured Health Plans: Understanding Roles, Responsibilities, and Requirements
November 14, 2013 WEBCAST
(Thomson Reuters / EBIA)

2014 Employers' Summit on Health Care Costs and Solutions: Embracing the Changing Landscape
January 29, 2014 in DC
(National Business Group on Health)

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]

2013 Year-End Qualified Retirement Plan Checklist (PDF)
"This checklist addresses both year-end deadlines and January 2014 deadlines which sponsors of qualified retirement plans may wish to begin preparing for now. [Includes:] Deadlines Applicable to Qualified Retirement Plans ... Impact of Windsor on Qualified Retirement Plans ... Required Annual Notices." (Bryan Cave)  


[Advert.]

Learn About PPA Restatements from our Experts and Earn CE Credit Free!

Sponsored by ftwilliam.com

On 11/5 join us for an overview of the ftwilliam.com PPA Document. We will cover new features and options in the draft document submitted to the IRS and what to expect during restatements. You will also see a tour of the new and improved user interface.



[Guidance Overview]

Correcting a Safe Harbor 401(k) Contribution Failure
"Although EPCRS does not specifically address the correction of a failure to make a safe harbor contribution, the correction should follow the general principles of EPCRS -- put the participants and the plan in the position they would have been if the failure had not occurred. Accordingly, the employer should correct the error by making the safe harbor contribution plus appropriate earnings for the late contribution. The plan should calculate earnings from the end of the 12 month period following the close of the plan year." (SunGard Relius)  

Pension Plans Have a Massive Bet on Interest Rates Rising
"Today, faced with the expectation of a rising rate environment, many corporate pension plans are holding off on fully committing to [liability-driven investing]. The bet on rising rates remains enormous. But it may well be a bet with the odds stacked against it. In part, that is because it is not enough rates rise for the bet to pay off: there is a break-even hurdle to overcome before the position makes a gain. That hurdle is captured in the forward curve." (Russell Investments)  

2014 COLAs and the Government Shutdown
"[F]or most years the numbers are pretty predictable using just the data from July and August. So that said ... these key dollar limits will change for 2014 ... Revised schedules will be issued as they become available.... [T]he official 2014 COLAs may not emerge until sometime in November." (Buck Consultants)  

Social Security Raise to Be Among Lowest in Years
"Preliminary figures suggest a benefit increase of roughly 1.5 percent, which would be among the smallest since automatic increases were adopted in 1975 ... The exact size of the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, won't be known until the Labor Department releases the inflation report for September. That was supposed to happen [October 16], but the report was delayed indefinitely because of the partial government shutdown." (CNBC)  


[Advert.]

Request for Proposal: Actuarial Services, Florida Public Defined Benefit Fund

The City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in the City of Miami Beach invites the submission of proposals for providing actuarial services. View the complete RFP, or click here for more info about the fund, including most recent actuarial valuation.



California Ballot Initiative Would Allow Reductions in Public Pension Accruals
"[A]coalition of California mayors -- including Santa Ana's Miguel Pulido and Anaheim's Tom Tait -- filed a proposed constitutional amendment with the state attorney general which would do the unthinkable: allow California governments to lower pension formulas going forward for public workers. It would not ... take away benefits public workers have already earned. And it would let each little city and county work out the devilish details for itself ... The initiative's backers now need to raise about $2 million to gather enough signatures to get the constitutional amendment onto the ballot next year." (Orange County Register)  

Text of Pension Reform Initiative Filed by California Mayors
"Under federal law for private sector pension funds, pension plans are allowed to modify benefits for future years of service and are required to develop a plan for corrective action when they are underfunded. This measure would apply similar standards to government employee pension and retiree healthcare plans, allowing financially distressed government employers to make necessary modifications and requiring agencies administering the plans to implement such modifications." (Reform Pensions 2014)  

Fiduciary Issues for Retirement Plan Sponsors (PDF)
42 presentation slides. Topics include: ERISA Overview; Fiduciary Status Under ERISA; Fiduciary vs. Settlor Functions; ERISA's Fiduciary Duties; and Additional Fiduciary Considerations. (Morgan Lewis)  

FINRA Nudging Brokers Toward a Fiduciary Standard?
"Finra suggested firms avoid conflicts by establishing a firmwide focus on conflicts to set a 'tone from the top,' implementing a code of conduct based on the 'best interests' standard, making investment recommendations that do not favor proprietary products and compensating brokers independently of the products they recommended. 'The word "fiduciary" jumps out on every page, even though it isn't mentioned,' said Duane Thompson, senior policy analyst at Fi360[.]" (InvestmentNews)  


[Advert.]

Targeted Strategies to Increase Your Defined Contribution Market Share

Sponsored by Financial Research Associates, LLC

Join industry innovators, retirement platforms, advisors and consultants -- networking opportunities and in-depth sessions on latest trends, updates and information in the defined contribution investment-only industry. Mention FMP164 for 10% discount.



Employee Ownership Update for October 15, 2013
Articles include: New NCEO Data on Executive Compensation Practices in ESOP Companies; Survey on Challenging Practices for Equity Compensation Plan Administration; FASB Task Force Says Performance Target Plans Will Be Accounted for As If Not Vested Until Target Is Met; and NCEO Looking for Retired ESOP Company Executives for New Directory. (National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO])  

The Path Forward: Understanding What Participants Say and Do Uncovers Opportunities to Enhance Defined Contribution Plan Design
"Plan sponsors and participants agree a 401(k) plan should focus on outcomes at retirement.... Professional investment managers don't necessarily change their investment mix each day. So why enable participants to change investments daily? ... Despite hard economic times, participant borrowing has not dramatically increased.... Participants want to retain their retirement benefit but may not realize the value their 401(k) plan provides through its fiduciary oversight and institutional pricing." (Northern Trust)  

Top Commodities Funds in America's 401(k) Plans
"PIMCO leads the pack this year by grabbing the first spot for PIMCO Commodity Real Return Strategy (up from #3) and #2 for PIMCO CommoditiesPLUS Trust II (#2 entry new this year). Newcomers dominate the list making up six of the top ten and fourteen spots overall ... Two of Fidelity's commodities took a nosedive: Fidelity Select Natural Resources dropped from #2 to #17 and Fidelity Select Materials went from #6 to #15." (BrightScope)  

Alternative Assets: The Next Frontier for Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"Alternative investments such as hedge funds, private real estate and commodities have historically been excluded from defined contribution plans. This trend is changing ... [They] are most appropriately included in [DC] plans through multi-asset funds such as target date funds and diversified core options, which reduces the potential for misuse by plan participants.... [A] specific fund may be appealing for institutional investors, but this doesn't always imply that the strategy can be modified in a way that makes it equally attractive for [DC] plans." (Aon Hewitt)  

[Opinion]

Text of Statement by CalPERS on California Public Pension Ballot Initiative
"All Californians deserve a secure retirement. A better solution would be to help those without pensions find ways to save for retirement, not to reduce the pensions of those who already have them. Changes to pension benefit levels should be determined by the employer and the employees, and not at the ballot box." (CalPERS)  

[Opinion]

Will Ontario Start its Own Pension Plan?
"Things are getting interesting in terms of Canadian pension politics. We are all indeed still waiting for the paint to dry on pension reform and Ontario is right to prepare its own supplementary plan. The federal government has been pandering to the financial services industry, promoting their silly PRPP proposal, and Ontario is fed up and threatening to go it alone on pension reform. Do I think this is the best course of action for the country? Of course not." (Pension Pulse)  

[Opinion]

A Formula That Predicts Your 401(k) Earnings
"Compound growth delivers nice results, but maybe not as nice as you were counting on.... The promoters of retirement saving like to provide wondrous illustrations of the power of compound interest. Put away a buck when you're 27, let it sit for four decades, and a 7% return will turn it into $15.... Numbers like those are misleading, even if offered in the good cause of motivating workers to save." (Forbes)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Senate Cuts Deal to Raise U.S. Debt Ceiling, Reopen Government
"The U.S. Senate announced a last-minute deal on Wednesday to avert a historic lapse in the government's borrowing ability and a potentially damaging debt default, and to reopen the government after a two-week shutdown. But even if the Senate and House of Representatives manage to overcome procedural hurdles to seal the deal before Thursday -- when the Treasury says it will exhaust its borrowing authority -- it will only be a temporary solution that sets up the prospect of another showdown early next year." (Reuters)  

2013 Corporate Governance and Incentive Design Survey (PDF)
"Forty percent (40%) of companies disclose a mandatory retirement age in which a director may no longer stand for re-election; 90% of these retirement ages for directors are between ages 72 and 75.... For annual incentive plans, earnings metrics ... remain the most widely used across the Meridian 250. Long-term performance-based vehicles ... are now used at over 90% of the Meridian 250.... [P]erformance-based vehicles now make up 53% of the annual LTI opportunity granted to senior-most executives." (Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC)  

ISS 2014 Policy Survey Results
"In contrast to last year's survey, which was heavily focused on compensation-related questions, this year's survey had no questions directly related to say on pay. Instead the focus this year was on the criteria that ISS might use to evaluate directors and their responsiveness to nonbinding proposals, and on how ISS might evaluate equity compensation plans in the future." (Towers Watson)  

Transcript of Oral Argument Before the U.S. Supreme Court in ERISA Statute of Limitations Case (Heimeshoff v. Hartford) (PDF)
"This case involves an accrual provision in an ERISA plan that starts the clock running on a Federal denial of benefits claim near the beginning of ERISA's mandatory internal claims process before the Federal claim ever exists or could be filed in court. This provision directly conflicts with ERISA's two-tiered remedial structure, which is designed to maximize the number of claims that are resolved internally without lawyers in courts." [From the oral argument of Matthew W.H. Wessler, on behalf of the petitioner.] (Supreme Court of the United States)  

[Opinion]

Much ERISA Fun at the Supreme Court: Heimeshoff and Benefit State of Limitations Accrual Issues
"The ERISA written plan requirement rule suggests that the plan administrator follow the terms of the plan as written, but to do so, at least conceivably in some cases, the administrator could drag their feet and wait for the statute of limitations to run before finally deciding the internal appeal and thereby prevent the employee to ever file a benefits denial claim in court." (Workplace Prof Blog)  

[Opinion]

Text of NASDAQ Request for SEC Rulemaking to Revise the Commission's Guidance to Proxy Advisory Firms (PDF)
"Unless we enable companies and all market participants to have full information about the practices and activities of the Firms, the Firms will continue to exert outsized influence from the shadows in which they operate and profit. Indeed, there is evidence that the Firms not only increase the costs of being a public company, but also create disincentives for companies to become public in the first place. The changes we advocate seek to address these concerns and promote transparency and fairness in this important area, to the benefit of companies, shareholders and the public interest." (NASDAQ OMX)  

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