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November 20, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Senior Defined Benefit Calculation Analyst
Transamerica Retirement Solutions
in MA

Manager of Retirement Plan Administration
Heartland Financial, USA
in IA

401(k) / Defined Contribution Administrator
Third Party Administration Firm
in PA

Analyst: Retirement Plan Administrator
Investment Consulting Firm
in CO

Sr. 401K/DC Plan Administrator
CUNA Mutual Group
in WI

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Webcasts and Conferences

Ethics: Principles and Case Studies - Encore
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

Managing Diabetes Care: Health Plan/PBM Strategies to Improve Medication Compliance
December 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(Atlantic Information Services, Inc)

Just for ERPAs Workshop
February 4, 2014 in FL
(SunGard)

DC Defaults Forum
February 24, 2014 in MA
(Financial Research Associates)

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 Proposed Regs on Treatment of Income from Indian Fishing Rights-Related Activity as Compensation
"This document contains proposed regulations that would clarify that amounts paid to an Indian tribe member as remuneration for services performed in a fishing rights-related activity may be treated as compensation for purposes of applying the limits on qualified plan benefits and contributions. These regulations would affect sponsors of, and participants in, employee benefit plans of Indian tribal governments." (Internal Revenue Service)  


[Advert.]

2014 Advanced Pension Conference in Orlando February 5-7

Sponsored by SunGard's Relius Education

Added Value: 21 breakout sessions and deeper registration discounts. Agenda: TPAs as 3(16) plan administrators, component plans, prevailing wage contributions, PPA restatements, same-gender marriage, fee disclosures, and more. 19 CE hours. Register now.



[Guidance Overview]

No Longer at Sea: IRS Finalizes Safe Harbor Reduction Regulations
"Under the originally issued final regulations, employers could terminate a safe harbor plan mid-year, or they could suspend or reduce safe harbor matching contributions mid-year for any reason if certain other conditions were met. However, employers were not permitted to suspend or reduce safe harbor nonelective contributions during a plan year.... The final regulations modify the proposed regulations by loosening the standards under which nonelective contributions may be suspended or reduced, and by imposing new, similar restrictions on the suspension or reduction of safe harbor matching contributions." (Sutherland)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Final Regs on Reducing or Suspending 401(k) and 403(b) Safe Harbor Contributions (PDF)
"Calendar year plans have until December 1 to provide safe harbor notices. Plan sponsors may want to include language in their notices for the 2014 plan year of a potential reduction in nonelective contributions as a precautionary measure if there is any concern that the contributions might have to be suspended or reduced.... Plan sponsors may wish to simply include the additional language in all future notices to avoid the requirement of operating at an economic loss to make a change." (Buck Consultants)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Proposes New Rules on Indian Fishing Rights Income for Retirement Plans
"Unlike most types of employee compensation, Indian fishing rights-related income is exempt from both income and employment taxes under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 7873(a)(1) and (a)(2). Therefore, Indian fishing rights-related income is not included in a taxpayer's gross income.... The proposed regulations clarify that payments received by Indian tribe members as remuneration for services they perform in fishing rights-related activities will not be excluded from the definition of 'compensation' for purposes of IRC Section 415 and underlying regulations, merely because such payments are not subject to income or employment taxes." (Holland & Knight)  

First Circuit Says Elimination of Retroactively Granted Pension Benefits Violates Anti-Cutback Rule
"Amendment Nine reduced the plan participants' banked hour pension benefits for hours accumulated before September 1, 1998 (the date of the post-merger plan) back to the lower levels promised under the participants' respective pre-merger plan document.... The court held that the plaintiffs' pre-September 1, 1998 banked hours were accrued benefits under ERISA ... [T]he First Circuit explained that a promise of a benefit accrues if it predates the employee's retirement or termination from employment. If an employee then continues employment in exchange for the promised benefit, he has a justified expectation of receiving the benefit and the anti-cutback rule protects that expectation." (Practical Law Company)  


[Advert.]

Premium Educational Event for Taft-Hartley Trustees

Sponsored by Financial Research Associates, LLC

Attend FRA's Taft-Hartley Benefits Summit to effectively manage your fund's investments and ensure your members' health & welfare benefits remain top-notch. Feb. 10-11, 2014 - Lake Buena Vista, FL. Mention FMP164 during registration for 10% discount.



The Impact of Rising Interest Rates on DB Plan Funded Status
"[M]any defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors are remembering, and enjoying, what it feels like to have a considerably better-funded pension plan than they've experienced for more than half a decade.... [At] the end of the third quarter of 2013, corporate pension funding rose to about 90%, on average, from somewhere in the mid-70% area -- or lower -- just a year earlier.... Some plan sponsors may use this opportunity to terminate their plans ... Sponsors who were considering a lump-sum window will probably do so in 2014 because they can use a higher 2013 interest rate, rather than lower 2012 rates, to value the lump sums." (Vanguard)  

Checklist for Preparing for Your Employee Benefit Plan Audit
"If you don't know the details of your plan, it will be tough to know if you are complying.... Schedule a meeting with all of your service providers, including your auditors, plan custodians, third-party administrators and internal staff who will oversee the audit. Make sure everyone knows their role in the audit process ... Delegate a gate-keeper to keep track of all audit information ... Understand what the auditors will be testing." (DiCicco, Gulman & Company LLP)  

Building Engagement: The Power of Listening
"79% of participants claim that their DC plan is a valuable benefit ... 45% of participants are not saving because they don't know how much they will need. Yet, 77% would not only save, but increase their savings if they knew how much they needed to save per dollar of income in retirement.... 75% are not invested in TDFs, out of which two thirds aren't sure if their plan offers one or just don't know. Considering that 82% of plan sponsors say they offer TDFs, there is clearly a disconnect here." (BlackRock)  

Can Variable Annuities Really Offer Insurance Guarantees Against a Market Catastrophe?
"[T]he problem is that having a large group of prospective policyowners transfer their exposure to market risk to the insurance company may seem like the risk is being transferred from the policyowner's perspective, but the risk is actually being concentrated from the insurance company's perspective, in a remarkably undiversified manner.... [T]he best alternative may simply be the solution that advisors recommended before such annuity contracts were available in the first place: to invest more conservatively, and spend more conservatively, and simply stay the course and weather the storm." (Michael Kitces in Nerd's Eye View)  

Six Critical Rules for Successful Retirement Investing
"While specific investing 'rule of thumb' guidelines ... are helpful, it's important to step back and look at the big picture. Consider these six essential rules for truly smart retirement investing.... [1] Understand Your Retirement Investment Options... [2] Start Early... [3] Do the Math... [4] Keep Your Emotions in Check... [5] Pay Attention to Fees... [6] Get Help When You Need It." (Forbes)  

Retirement Providers Will Engage Participants Through Improved Customization and Enhanced Mobile Technology
"In response to the heightened demand for tools and resources customized to an individual's retirement readiness, experts predict that by 2017 about half of all retirement plan providers (59 percent) will offer participants a personalized report that tells them how much to save in order to reach a fully funded retirement. Further, 39 percent will have gone as far as to change plan design with the objective of enhancing the retirement readiness of the participant population." (Transamerica Retirement Solutions)  

Japan's Pension Fund Urged to Take More Risk, Review Bonds
"Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund, the world's largest manager of retirement savings ... should allocate more of its 121 trillion yen ($1.21 trillion) portfolio to overseas assets and consider investing in real-estate investment trusts and private equity where returns may be higher than Japanese government bonds, [an advisory] panel said ... The fund should change its organizational structure, while the government should recognize GPIF's independence, the report said." (Bloomberg)  

Same-Sex Couples Require Financial Planning Assistance
"Retirement planning is the top area that same-sex couples require financial assistance. About half of survey respondents indicated they need help in this area.... Nearly nine in 10 have money saved for retirement, and 78 percent have added to their retirement savings during the past year.... About a quarter of same-sex couples are uncertain as to when they will retire, and 40 percent have not determined how much they will need to save to live comfortably in retirement." (Insured Retirement Institute [IRI])  

When Your Pension Sponsor Talks 'De-Risking' -- Watch Out
"A growing number of employers are making plans to 'de-risk' their pension plans. That's jargon for reducing the financial risk posed to corporate balance sheets by pension plans -- but if you have a defined-benefit pension and you start hearing that term tossed around, pay careful attention. Less risk for employers can mean more risk for you.... A lump sum may sound attractive, especially if it's a sizable amount, but determining whether it's a good deal depends on these factors: Life expectancy.... Other income sources.... Size of the lump sum.... Interest rates." (Mark Miller for Reuters)  

Strong Fixed-Rate Deferred Annuity Sales Drive Overall Annuity Growth in Third Quarter
"Fixed-rate deferred annuity sales increased 66 percent in the third quarter 2013, compared with the third quarter 2012 ... Overall, total annuity sales for the quarter increased to $59.4 billion, a 9 percent increase -- the largest year-over-year growth since the second quarter 2011. For the first nine months of 2013, total annuity sales were $167.6 billion.... Total fixed annuity sales improved 31 percent in the third quarter over the prior year to reach $23.5 billion -- a level they have not reached since the third quarter 2009. Year-to-date, fixed annuity sales rose 6 percent, totaling $58.0 billion." (LIMRA)  

Press Releases

CalPERS to Recover $261 Million in JPMorgan Federal Investigation Settlement
CalPERS (California Public Employees' Retirement System)

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