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November 14, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

An Introduction to the Next Generation Medicare Plus Model
November 26, 2013 WEBCAST
(Magellan Risk Management)

Ethical Considerations for Employee Benefits Practitioners
December 5, 2013 WEBCAST
(ASC Institute)

Managing Benefits Leadership Workshop
December 11, 2013 in FL
(Rhodes-Joseph & Tobiason Advisors, LLC)

Professionalism and Ethics for Enrolled Actuaries
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

Voluntary Benefits Option: Adding Benefits Without Increasing Costs
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(Lorman Education Services)

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

Women Business Leaders Forum
June 9, 2014 in CA
(American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA))

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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

Text of IRS Final Regs on Reduction or Suspension of Safe Harbor Contributions to 401(k) Plans
"This document contains amendments to regulations relating to certain cash or deferred arrangements under section 401(k) and matching contributions and employee contributions under section 401(m). These regulations provide guidance on permitted mid-year reductions or suspensions of safe harbor nonelective contributions in certain circumstances for amendments adopted after May 18, 2009. These regulations also revise the requirements for permitted mid-year reductions or suspensions of safe harbor matching contributions for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015." (Internal Revenue Service)  


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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Monthly Interest Rate Update, November 15, 2013
"The December 2013 interest assumptions under the benefit payments regulation will be 1.75 percent for the period during which a benefit is in pay status and 4.00 percent during any years preceding the benefit's placement in pay status. In comparison with the interest assumptions in effect for November 2013, these interest assumptions are unchanged." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])  

[Official Guidance]

IRS Employee Plans News Issue 2013-7, November 12, 2013 (PDF)
"To give financial institutions reasonable time to fully implement the new requirements, the additional reporting for hard-to-value IRA investments will be optional for 2014. The new reporting requirements will be described in the 2014 Instructions for Forms 1099-R and 5498, which are expected to be issued around the end of the year.... To encourage 403(b) plan sponsors to correct [the failure to have adopted a written plan reflecting a good faith attempt to comply with Code section 403(b) and the 403(b) final regulations by December 31, 2009] voluntarily, we're reducing the Voluntary Correction Program compliance fee by 50% if you mail your VCP submission to IRS by December 31, 2013." (Internal Revenue Service)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Tax Forum 2013: New Roth Conversion Opportunities & Other Retirement Curveballs (PDF)
"[We] have a new law to talk about that expands Roth opportunities for certain retirement plans. This new law might make solo 401k plans even more popular.... [We] also have a brand new tax for you this year, the unearned income Medicare contribution, or UIMC. Then we'll jump around to some seemingly random, but important retirement topics. Having a beneficiary designated for each of your IRA or retirement plan accounts is an important tax-planning tool. Sitting here today, would you be able to identify the beneficiary on all your accounts? Maybe you have an ex-spouse that will benefit because you never changed your beneficiary designation. Better yet, maybe you'll be the unintended beneficiary. Then we'll discuss another approach to a safer retirement -- longevity annuities." (Internal Revenue Service)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Tax Forum 2013: Grab the Money and Run? Retirement Plan Loans and Hardship Distributions (PDF)
[42 presentation slides.] "[W]e'll talk about two common means for employees to access their retirement savings: loans and hardship distributions. We' ll talk about when they're allowed, how the money may be taxed to employees, and what special rules apply to employers who offer loans and hardship withdrawals in a retirement plan. We'll also talk about things that can go wrong, such as when loans aren't repaid on time or when business owners bend the rules. We'll also address what you can do to fix a mistake in your retirement plan to avoid adverse tax consequences. Our goal is to help you stay on track as you balance the urgent needs of today and the secure retirement your plan is designed to provide in the future." (Internal Revenue Service)  


[Advert.]

TPA Business Owners: What can you do better in your business?

Sponsored by NIPA (National Institute of Pension Administrators)

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Best to Save Plan Documents Until All Retirees and Beneficiaries are Dead
"A recent federal district court decision imposed a penalty of $4,470 on a plan administrator who delayed providing the widow of a plan participant with the plan document in effect 34 years ago.... The court did not accept the employer's plea that it should not be penalized for having failed to provide the information sooner. The court noted that there was no evidence in the record regarding the steps that the company had taken to try to locate the documents." []Hartman v. Dana Holding Co., No. 1:12-CV-445 (N.D. Ind. Oct. 21, 2013)] (Leonard, Street and Deinard)  

Payout Options for Retirement Income from Defined Contribution Plans
"[This article addresses] the issue of how a 401(k) balance can or should be paid out at retirement, from the participant's point of view.... [T]here are (at least) three significant risks the retiree faces ... The participant does not know how long she will live.... The participant does not know how much money she can/will earn on her account balance between retirement and death.... Inflation risk.... [T]he critical distinction with respect to each will be: what is happening with these risks -- in effect, what are the tradeoffs the strategy implements between taking and not taking one of these risks?" (October Three Consulting)  

401(k) Average Balance Reaches New High, Boosted by Resurgent Stock Market
"Fidelity Investments ... average 401(k) balance rose to a new high of $84,300 at the end of the third quarter, up 11.1 percent from a year ago, thanks in large part to a resurgent stock market ... Employees who were continuously active in their 401(k) plan over the last 10 years saw the average balance rise 19.6 percent to $223,100 during the past 12 months. For pre-retirees age 55 or older who have been active in their plan for at least 10 years, the average balance is now $269,500." (Fidelity)  

The $20 Billion Club in 2013 So Far: A Conversation Dominated by Rising Interest Rates (PDF)
"The $20 billion club -- ... the 19 U.S.-listed corporations with the largest pension liabilities -- ended their 2012 financial years with a combined pension shortfall of $220bn.... [O]ver the four previous years, investment returns and sponsor contributions exceeded interest cost and new benefit accruals by an amount ($156bn) that would, absent any actuarial losses, have been enough to wipe out the 2008 shortfall. But actuarial losses over those four years added up to $239bn.... But 2013 is shaping up to be much better, and that is largely due to an increase in interest rates leading to actuarial gains rather than actuarial losses." (Russell Investments)  

Retirement Plans Offered by 2013 Fortune 100
"Only 30 companies on the 2013 Fortune 100 list offer a DB plan to newly hired salaried employees. Seventy of today's Fortune 100 companies provide only DC plans to new hires. Traditional DB plans offer employers greater control over workforce retirement patterns." (Towers Watson)  

Path to Defined Benefit Plan Termination (PDF)
[Infographic.] "When contemplating plan termination, plan sponsors need to understand the complexity of the termination process.... Financial Prep ... Plan Design Prep ... Data Prep ... Employee Communication Prep." (Findley Davies)  

Milliman Public Pension Funding Study, 2013 (PDF)
"29 [of the 100 largest U.S. public pension] plans lowered their interest rate assumptions, which increased their accrued liabilities and lowered their funded ratios. Most plans are setting their interest rate assumptions in a realistic manner consistent with long-term market return expectations.... The median interest rate used by the plans decreased from 8.00% in the 2012 study to 7.75% in the 2013 study." (Milliman)  

401(k) Index and Observations Monthly Details: October 2013
"The Aon Hewitt 401(k) Index had six days of above-normal daily transfer activity during October ... The high volumes coincided with the timing of lawmakers' negotiations around the government shutdown and debt ceiling. Through the month, daily transfer activity averaged 0.035% of total account balances per trading day. The monthly average was moderately above the trailing 12-month daily average, at 0.030%." (Aon Hewitt)  

Let's Fix the 401(k)
"Half of American workers see their 401k plan as more complicated than their health care plans; Half of workers don't know what their best investment options are, and one-third feel a lot of stress about choosing those investments; [and] 401(k) account balances today look troublingly inadequate to support middle-class retirements, despite promising increases in contributions levels and recoveries in balances since the financial crisis. Elements of the current system are contributing to these problems." (Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.)  

SEC Dodd-Frank Investor Advisory Committee Meeting Announcement
"The [SEC] Investor Advisory Committee ... will hold a public meeting on Friday, November 22, 2013 ... The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m.... The agenda for the meeting includes remarks from Commissioners, a recommendation of the Investor as Purchaser Subcommittee regarding a fiduciary duty standard for broker-dealers, a recommendation of the Investor as Purchaser Subcommittee regarding legislation to fund investment adviser examinations, selection of dates for future IAC meetings, and nonpublic subcommittee meetings." (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)  

What Pension Plan Sponsors Should Know About Delegated Investment Services
"[P]lan sponsors look to [outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO)] providers to manage portfolios holistically while providing support to help the organization address accounting and regulatory issues, and manage investment-related administrative activities. This allows committees to develop plans that fluidly shift with changes in the organization's liabilities and assets without overtaxing resources. By pairing their understanding of their unique goals with the expertise of OCIO providers, plan sponsors have been able to implement programs that put them on pace to adequately fund their pension plans while improving cash flow, minimizing tail risks and even exiting from these plans." (Towers Watson)  

There Is a Reason We Hate the Word 'Fiduciary,' Outgoing SIFMA Chairman Says
"Where the world gets hung up is on the word 'fiduciary.' The reason it gets hung up is because when you get to court, there is a body of case history that courts use as precedent for interpretation going forward. For institutions under the '40 Act, there are prohibited transactions, such as principal trading. I'd be OK with calling it a fiduciary standard, if we could put a definition on it that creates its own going-forward kind of precedent. That's hard, by the way. That's why we haven't done it." (InvestmentNews)  

How to Make Sure Your Adviser Really Puts You First
"A true fiduciary is required to put the interests of a client ahead of the fiduciary's own interests. Today, brokers under the SIFMA fold don't actually have to do that -- they simply have to make recommendations that are suitable for clients, even if they put more money in the broker's pocket than the client ends up with.... [B]rokers and fee-only financial advisers are trying to win and keep clients who have trillions of dollars in retirement assets and want help managing it. Those clients are on their own to determine whether the adviser they are using is putting them first and serving their best interests." (Reuters)  

Growing Trend: International (Offshore) Pension Plans
"There are several reasons why an organization might implement an [international pension plan (IPP)] ... [O]ver the course of a career, employees can be based in multiple locations, resulting in fragmented retirement benefits or no provision of benefits at all ... [C]ompanies wanting to offer a competitive benefits package will often include an IPP ... An IPP can facilitate the provision of supplementary benefits for key expats/people ... An organization can implement an IPP in two ways: through a trust-based arrangement or an insurance arrangement. (Mercer)  

[Opinion]

The State of Those Who 'Study' Public Pension Plans
"Morningstar, Inc. released a report evaluating the fiscal health of 25 city pension plans finding that Washington, DC had the strongest funded plan and Chicago the weakest.... Detroit with a funded ratio of 91.4% supposedly had the healthiest city plan in the nation after Washington DC. The same Detroit that is now claiming a $3.5 billion pension liability and gearing up to offer retirees sixteen cents on the dollar." (Burypensions)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

2013 Executive Stock Ownership Guidelines Report (PDF)
"The prevalence of Fortune 100 companies with publicly disclosed executive stock ownership policies increased from 86.3% in 2011 to 89.4% in 2012.... Between 2010 and 2012, the number of companies that used both ownership guidelines and holding requirements as their share retention method increased by 6.0%.... Ownership guidelines that define ownership targets as a multiple of base salary are the most prevalent guideline design.... Among companies with ownership guidelines, only 11.4% include options in determining ownership guideline compliance, compared with 43.0% that explicitly exclude options." (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.)  

Decision Time for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation: Top Issues When Choosing Salary Deferrals for the Year Ahead
"[T]he fourth quarter of the year is the most common period during which salary deferrals are elected through NQDC plans for the year ahead.... Issues to consider in your decision-making at enrollment include the following. [1] Maximizing the amount you can contribute to your 401(k) plans.... [2] Cash needs for the year ahead and multi-year projections for your income.... [3] The financial security of your company, and your job security.... [4] Company match.... [5] The thresholds for higher taxes and rates." (myStockOptions.com)  

Ask Not 'What Is the Risk of Doing a Complete NQDC Plan Review,' But Rather ...
"A review is not complete if it does not consider the impact of the plan on the bottom line, [its] effectiveness in attracting and retaining key talent, and its ability to mitigate impending tax increases, and its ability to drive robust plan participation. A complete due diligence review looks at your organization's unique business situation and asks: Is the plan compliant with current regulatory requirements? Is this plan helping plan sponsors reach their goals? Is this plan helping plan participants reach their goals? Is the communications program driving enrollment? Can the cost of the plan be reduced? What is the impact of the informal funding strategy and alternatives?" (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)  

Press Releases

10 Tips to Avoid Identity Theft On- and Offline
Hyatt Legal Plans, a MetLife company

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