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November 27, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Plan Administrator
Retirement Plan Services, LLC
in IL, MO

Defined Contribution Plan Administrator
Touchstone Retirement Group

401(k) Plan Administrator
Houston TPA Firm
in TX

Retirement Plan Administrator
Research Triangle, NC TPA
in NC

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Webcasts and Conferences

Benefits Issues You Should Be Thinking About When Working End of Year Deals
December 5, 2013 WEBCAST
(American Bar Association (ABA))

Ethics for Compensation and Benefits Lawyers
December 10, 2013 WEBCAST
(American Bar Association (ABA))

Issue Spotting Across the Globe for Expatriate Executive Packages
December 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits)

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

Text of Veterans Affairs Rewrite Project: Compensation and Pension Regulations
"The Project responds to a recommendation made by the VA Claims Processing Task Force in [October 2001] .... and to criticisms by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The Task Force recommended that VA reorganize its regulations in a logical, coherent manner. The Court referred to the current regulations as a 'confusing tapestry' and criticized VA for maintaining substantive rules in its Adjudication Procedures Manual ... Although VA does not intend to complete this rulemaking in the near future, we request public comments on the consolidation of the prior proposed rules ... and on the changes made to those proposed rules." (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)  


ASPPA On Tour- Coming to a City Near You!

Sponsored by ASPPA

ASPPA on Tour is the ultimate conference experience for retirement plan professionals. With the perfect balance of national and regional content, each of our five stops will stimulate, motivate and challenge you. Registration for LA is now open!

[Guidance Overview]

Long-Awaited IRS Guidance Provides Uniform Rules for Mid-Year Suspension of Safe Harbor Contributions
"Although the final regulations largely track the 2009 proposed regulations, they do permit plan sponsors to add language to their annual safe harbor notices to reflect the ability to make employer contribution changes mid-year, and thereby avoid having to demonstrate that the employer has a financial hardship in order to permit the change. While some employers with non-elective formulas undoubtedly will take advantage of the new rules to make mid-year suspensions, the economic pressures that were extant when the proposed rules were published in mid-2009 have largely relaxed. At the same time, the new rules create an immediate need to expand 2014 safe harbor notices if a plan sponsor wants to keep its options open for next year." (Groom Law Group)  

'Hidden' Assets: Potential Liability Implications of the LaRue Decision for Attorneys and Fiduciaries
"An executor has a legal duty to collect all of the deceased's property/assets and properly distribute them in accordance with the law. Given the fact that various ERISA experts have opined that most 404(c) pension plans are not in compliance with the applicable ERISA requirements, the question of whether an executor or other fiduciaries have a duty to evaluate a pension plan with regard to LaRue rights is a legitimate question, not only in terms of losses suffered, but also in terms of possible breaches of the plan's fiduciary duties due to non-compliance with ERISA, e.g, excessive fees, conflicts of interest." (The Prudent Investment Adviser Rules)  

The Shape of 401(k) Plans to Come
"The biggest change will be a new emphasis on retirement readiness, rather than simply getting workers to join a plan and contribute.... The number of plans offering workers in-house advisory services has been growing quickly in recent years ... [M]ore plans will boost default employee enrollment contribution rates to 6 percent from the current average of 3 percent.... Plan sponsors will reach out to participants with retirement planning apps that mimic online games, retirement readiness alert messages and calls to action." (Reuters)  

Supreme Court to Chart Fate of Inherited IRAs in Bankruptcy
"The nation's highest court ... said it would hear arguments in Clark v. Rameker in a fight over whether Heidi Heffron-Clark and her husband, Brandon Clark, can keep creditors from going after $300,000 in an IRA inherited from Heffron-Clark's late mother. The hearing should clear up a split among lower courts ... and could impact retirement and end-of-life planning." (Reuters)  

You're the Boss: Now Take Charge of Your Retirement
"[W]hile many self-employed people expect their savings to fund their retirement, 40 percent aren't saving regularly and 28 percent currently aren't saving at all. That's drastically more than the number of traditionally employed people who do not save regularly (12%) or at all (10%).... 29 percent of Generation X and 32 percent of Generation Y who are self-employed say they currently do not save for retirement." (TD Ameritrade)  

Canadian Crown Corporation Pensions in Trouble?
"Canada Post warns it will need a significant cash infusion by the middle of next year to meet pension payment obligations estimated at $1 billion. 'Based on our current financial projections, we believe we are going to require additional liquidity by mid-next year,' said Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton.... Hamilton had no specifics about what that might entail, whether it would be increased borrowing or a subsidy, though Hamilton said Canadians have made it clear they don't support such government subsidy." (Pension Pulse)  


Let's Operate 401(k) Plans as True Retirement Plans
"Employers can help older workers generate reliable retirement income because they often have the resources to complete the necessary analyses and due diligence on effective retirement income generators without any economic biases in those decisions. That task is beyond the abilities of most U.S. workers.... Employers that offer group pricing for annuities or other retirement income products, instead of leaving employee to get individual price quotes, will increase participants' retirement income. Not only will they get volume-based pricing, they also will benefit from reduced transaction fees." (CFO)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Official Guidance]

Text of NASDAQ Proposal to Amend the Listing Rules on Compensation Committee Composition (PDF)
"Nasdaq proposes to amend Nasdaq Listing Rule 5605(d)(2)(A) and IM-5605-6 to replace the prohibition on the receipt of compensatory fees by compensation committee members with a requirement that a board of directors instead consider the receipt of such fees when determining eligibility for compensation committee membership." (NASDAQ)  

[Guidance Overview]

ISS Issues 2014 Policy Updates (PDF)
"The new methodology for performing the RDA test is to calculate a company's TSR rank and the CEO's total pay rank relative to an ISS-developed peer group solely over a 3-year period (or as many full fiscal years that the company has been publicly traded and disclosed pay data)... The simplification of the RDA Analysis provides a welcomed focus on long-term performance that will not be impacted by the volatility of a single year measure. Generally, the new methodology for conducting the RDA Analysis should be a benign change for most companies." (Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC)  

How Dodd-Frank Has Changed Compensation Practices
"[W]hile some may view the mandated transparency as intrusive, Dodd-Frank's provisions provide an opportunity for forward-looking companies to reveal key aspects of their organizational strategy that translate to competitive advantage. Widespread compliance with these new provisions reveals how competing firms set tones of reasonableness, fairness, accountability and alignment with shareholders' interests." (Corporate Secretary)  

Recent IRS Field Advice Suggests Some Tax Deductions for Bonuses Paid After Year-End May Be at Risk
"According to [IRS Field Attorney Advice (FAA 20134301F)], retaining the unilateral right to eliminate or modify the bonuses at any time prior to payment, per the plan terms, means the company has no legal obligation to pay the bonuses. And because the company has no legal obligation to pay the bonuses and there is no other event fixing the taxpayer's liability, neither of these prongs of the all-events test is satisfied as of year-end. The IRS also found problematic the fact that, after the close of the performance year, the board reviewed the computation of the bonus amounts and had to authorize payments. The problem rested on the IRS conclusion that the board's actions were more than ministerial." (Towers Watson)  

IRS Limits Ability to Deduct Annual Bonus Payments in Year of Accrual, Rather Than Year Paid
"[A]ll employers who sponsor annual bonus plans need to understand the latest changes from the IRS to determine which year is the appropriate year to deduct the amount of their bonus payments. Beyond the timing of the deduction ... [the] impact on deferred tax assets, reporting for uncertain tax positions, and the potential need to apply for an accounting method change with the IRS all need to be examined by employers sponsoring annual bonus plans." (Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP)  


Text of Letter from American Benefits Council to SEC Requesting Extension of 60-Day Comment Period on Proposed Pay Ratio Rules (PDF)
"Our membership has been surprised by the short comment period for this Proposed Rule, partly because the Dodd-Frank Act did not impose a deadline for the issuance of a pay ratio disclosure rule, but more so because the SEC itself has recognized -- repeatedly -- the complex and difficult issues that should factor into identifying a workable regulation. We agree with others that a 60-day extension of the comment period will not necessarily ensure that the Commission will receive the type of information it is requesting. Nevertheless, the absence of an extension will foreclose any possibility for the submission of more comprehensive survey data and thoughtful analysis." (American Benefits Council)  

Press Releases

IRSAC Releases 2013 Annual Report
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Legal Benefits Attorney Spotlight: Maura Curran
Hyatt Legal Plans, a MetLife company

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