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November 21, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs


Webcasts and Conferences

Review of the Regulatory Year
December 3, 2013 in IN
(ASPPA Benefits Council Of Northern Indiana)

EBSA Strategic Enforcement Plan, Audit Issues & Fiduciary Overview
December 3, 2013 in OH
(ASPPA Benefits Council of Cleveland)

Annual Recap and Year End Planning
December 4, 2013 in MA
(ASPPA Benefits Council of New England)

2014 Proxy Season Preview
December 4, 2013 WEBCAST
(Towers Watson)

Legislative/Regulatory Update
December 4, 2013 in FL
(ASPPA Benefits Council of Central Florida)

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 Issues Final Regs on Mid-Year Suspensions of 401(k) Safe Harbor Contributions
"The final regulations eliminate the difference in requirements for mid-year suspensions or reductions of safe harbor matching contributions and safe harbor non-elective contributions by providing a uniform standard, albeit with different effective dates.... Effective November 15, 2013, non-elective employer contributions may be reduced or suspended mid-year, provided [the employer meets one of two conditions] ... Effective for plan years commencing on or after January 1, 2015, the same standard will apply to mid-year reductions or suspensions of safe harbor matching contributions. The later effective date takes into account the new standard now applicable for safe-harbor matching contributions." (Littler)  


[Advert.]

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

Sponsored by NIPA (National Institute of Pension Administrators)

Position your firm for success in 2014 and beyond by joining 100+ TPA business owners at NIPA's Business Management Conference. Identify ways to effectively drive growth and efficiency by addressing challenges affecting your firm and day-to-day work.



[Guidance Overview]

IRS 2013 Tax Forum Presentation: New Roth Conversion Opportunities and Other Retirement Curveballs (PDF)
23 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] Within Plan Roth Conversions: Prior Law and New Law; [2] Qualified Roth Distribution; [3] Impact on Unearned Income Medicare Contribution; [4] Maximum Contribution Comparison; [5] Distributions After Death, Retirement Plan or IRA; and [6] Social Security Strategies. (Internal Revenue Service)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS 2013 Tax Forum Presentation: Grab the Money and Run? Retirement Plan Loans and Hardship Distributions (PDF)
23 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] What are loans and hardship distributions? [2] What kinds of plans can allow loans and hardship distributions? [3] Should your plan allow loans and hardship distributions? and [4] Tax Rules for Plan Loans. (Internal Revenue Service)  

An Update on Church Plan Litigation
"At this point, motions to dismiss by the different defendants have been fully briefed in four cases and oral arguments have been held in [two] of those. None [has] yet been ruled on, however, in [one] case ... the court turned the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment, and discovery has begun." [Article includes links to all relevant filings in each of the five cases discussed.] (FRA PlanTools, LLC)  

District Court in Tenth Circuit Adopts Presumption of Prudence
"Although the Tenth Circuit has not yet adopted the presumption, the district court found that the Tenth Circuit would adopt the presumption in cases where the fiduciary is not absolutely required to invest in employer securities but is more than simply permitted to make such investment. The district court also determined that plaintiffs need not show the company was facing impending collapse to overcome the presumption, but that a prudent fiduciary would conclude that continued adherence to the stock fund no longer conformed with the plan settlor's expectations." [Chesapeake Energy Corp. 2012 ERISA Class Litig., 2013 WL 5596908 (W.D. Okla. Oct. 11, 2013)] (Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center)  


[Advert.]

Are You Prepared for a DOL Investigation? Download your free report.

Sponsored by Bloomberg BNA

Knowing what to expect during a DOL investigation can help you be better prepared. Download your complimentary report from Bloomberg BNA to get an understanding of the investigative process and better identify areas of compliance.



Court Rules Against Rollover-Funded Business Start-Up, Disqualifies IRA
"Central to the Tax Court finding of an IRA-disqualifying prohibited transaction was the fact that the defendant was paid a salary to manage the used car business in 2005 and 2006, using assets the Court found to legitimately belong to the IRA. This, and the fact that the used car business owned by the IRA entered into a real estate lease agreement with a second LLC whose members were the defendant, his wife, and three sons." (Ascensus)  

Moench Presumption for Employer Stock-Drop Cases Looks Like It's Headed to the U.S. Supreme Court
"[It] is likely that the Court will hear the case. If so, there are three possible outcomes: 1) that the presumption applies on a motion to dismiss (the position most circuits have adopted); 2) the presumption applies on summary judgment (the Sixth Circuit's approach) -- and if the presumption applies at all, the Court would likely also decide how the presumption can be overcome; or 3) that the presumption should not apply at all (the DOL's position, and the position of the Solicitor in the brief). Option #1 is good for defendants; #2 is good for plaintiffs, and #3 (despite the protests in the Solicitor's brief) is likely to open a VERY wide door for litigation, and become another impediment to employee ownership." (James E. Arnold & Associates, LPA)  

Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court to Clarify Moench Presumption Rules
"The [Solicitor General] has recommended re-formulating the question presented and having the Court consider two issues: (1) whether an ESOP fiduciary should be accorded a presumption that it acted prudently, and (2) if so, whether the presumption applies at the pleadings stage and what a plaintiff must allege to rebut it.... The Moench presumption was announced in a Third Circuit decision issued in 1995, and over the past 18 years, courts of appeals have unanimously held -- over repeated objections in amicus briefs from the [DOL] -- that the presumption applies. If the Court were to overrule the Moench presumption and the substantial body of case law developed over the last two decades, it would have substantial ramifications for 401(k) plans and ESOP fiduciaries." (Sidley Austin LLP)  

PBGC to Pay Pension Benefits at Furniture Brands International Inc.
"According to PBGC estimates, the Furniture Brands Retirement Plan is about 55 percent funded with about $337 million in assets to pay $609 million in benefits. The agency expects to cover $270 million of the $272 million shortfall." [Includes 30 "legacy plans" previously rolled into the Furniture Brands plan.] (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])  

Decoding Your 401(k) Plan's Ridiculous Jargon
"Complicated, nonintuitive terminology may be keeping large numbers of Americans from making good retirement savings decisions. A jargon reboot is long overdue! This article aims to help you better navigate the ridiculous maze of poorly chosen words." (MarketWatch)  

401(k) Investment Committee Topics
"Headline-grabbing lawsuits, large settlements, and proposed guidance offer insights as to the issues your 401(k) investment committee should be tackling.... [Topics] for your next 401(k) investment committee meeting agenda: [1] Fees are still the main topic.... [2] Fund selection is important ... [3] Reconsider the plan's 'safe' option.... [4] Focus on Target Retirement Date funds." (Ivins, Phillips & Barker)  

Advisors Can Help 401(k) Sponsors Target the Right Target-Date Fund
"Why are there so many different target-date funds today and what are the differences among them? In large measure, the differences result from sponsors' need to make a choice regarding precisely what they want for participants when they retire.... For an advisor, the key to success is matching sponsor goals and participant needs against the fund's specific features." (Financial Advisor)  

The Glidepath Illusion and Potential Solutions
"[T]he heuristic of buying stocks when young and bonds when mature -- a rule of thumb by which many billions are invested -- is flawed ... Since their inception, conventional glidepaths have fallen short of contrarian strategies or ordinary balanced strategies. They offer more, not less, uncertainty about prospective real retirement income.... [The authors] illustrate areas where conventional glidepath approaches are problematic for investors -- particularly in the market environment facing us today ... [and] outline possible rules-based solutions that address the glaring pitfalls in the typical target-date solution." (The Journal of Retirement)  

Improving Retirement Outcomes: Timing, Phasing and Benefit Claiming Choices (PDF)
70 pages. Excerpt: "Delaying retirement and Social Security claiming significantly reduces the amount of wealth needed for successful retirement.... Phasing strategies modestly reduce the amount of wealth needed for retirement.... For those with lower wealth at retirement, reducing discretionary and housing expenses can be highly effective in improving retirement outcomes, particularly when combined with delayed retirement." (Society of Actuaries' Pension Section and Pension Section Research Committee)  

NCR Corp. to Wind Up U.K. Pension Plan in $1 Billion Buyout
"NCR Corp.... announced ... it has entered into an annuity buyout agreement with Pension Insurance Corp. for the defined benefit pension fund for NCR Ltd., its U.K. subsidiary.... The pension fund has about 5,400 participants and about $1 billion in pension benefit obligations. NCR, which makes automated teller machines and other point-of-sale products, plans to 'wind up' the plan no later than June 30, 2015, and completion of the buyout is scheduled for no later than January 2016." (Pensions & Investments)  

[Opinion]

The Detroit Bankruptcy Was Not Driven by an Increase in Obligations to Fund Pensions
"The city's pension contribution expenses remained relatively flat, rising only $2 million during [FY2008-FY2013].... The city's healthcare contribution expenses increased by $24.3 million. This constitutes an increase of 3.25 percent, per year, which is less than the nationwide annual increase in healthcare costs of 4 percent. The city's pension contributions in particular did not play a role in pushing it into bankruptcy because they did not contribute materially to the increase in the city's legacy expenses that added to the cash flow shortfall.... The emergency manager should drop his proposal to move city workers to a defined contribution pension plan and abrogate vested pension benefits." (Demos)  

[Opinion]

Speech by Pension Rights Center Policy Director Karen Friedman to the Texas Municipal Retirement System (November 19, 2013)
"From our perspective, the attacks on Social Security, Medicare, public plans, and private plans are part of a wholesale assault on the idea of collective social institutions and shared risk. Those who ultimately wish to privatize Social Security and voucherize Medicare also want to turn guaranteed pension plans into do-yourself savings accounts -- with the risks and responsibilities shouldered entirely by individuals.... The Pension Rights Center believes there has to be a counterweight to the do-it-yourself savings society, where all the risks and responsibilities have been shifted onto individuals. We have been part of a national movement to push for retirement security for all, promoting a vision of shared responsibility to ensure that all working people, whether in government or in the private sector, can retire with decency." (Pension Rights Center)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

The Most Valued Employee Benefit Is ... (PDF)
"[T]he vast majority of workers say that their benefits package is very or extremely important in their decision to accept a job -- and those workers continue to rank health insurance as the first or second most important benefit provided by employers. Between 1999 and 2013, the percentage of workers ranking health insurance as the first- or second-most important benefit varied between 75 percent and 82 percent." (Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI])  

Opportunity to Provide ISS with Input on Your Peer Group
"[M]any companies believe that the peer group used by ISS could be improved -- and this is their one chance to attempt to do that. To be clear, ISS still will pick its own peer group. ISS will use a company's self-selected executive compensation benchmarking peers as a key input into the ISS peer group selection process. For companies that use multiple peer groups, ISS uses the company peer group used for benchmarking CEO pay decisions. Thus, companies should provide the peer group that most closely matches that description." (Winston & Strawn LLP)  

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