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December 5, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
United Retirement Plan Consultants
in RI

401K Administrator
Farmer & Betts
in CO

Retirement Planning Consultant
Transamerica Retirement Solutions
in NC

Client Success Consultant
The Online 401(k)
in CA

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Webcasts and Conferences

SHOP Overview for Agents and Brokers
December 10, 2013 WEBCAST
(Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS))

The Impact of Department of Labor Guidance on Target Date Funds
December 11, 2013 WEBCAST
(Multnomah Group)

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

Fiduciary and Legal Review
December 12, 2013 WEBCAST
(NH Hicks)

Keeping Current: 2013 in Review
December 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(SunGard Relius)

FREE Health Care Reform Town Hall Webinar: Q&A with Legal Experts Paul Hamburger and James Napoli
December 17, 2013 WEBCAST
(Thompson Interactive)

End of the Year Tax Planning for Tax Advisors using 412(e)(3) Plans
December 19, 2013 WEBCAST
(National Pension Partners)

Medicare Advantage/Part D: Results & Trends From the Annual Election Period
January 16, 2014 WEBCAST
(Atlantic Information Services, Inc)

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 Allows Mid-Year Amendments to Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans
"On one hand, the new regulations signal a new flexibility on the part of the IRS. On the other hand, the list of exceptions likely will not address every situation. Furthermore, with a specific list of exceptions, the IRS may begin to enforce a rule that up until now it has been reticent to enforce." (SunGard Relius)  


[Advert.]

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Sponsored by NIPA (National Institute of Pension Administrators)

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Fiduciary Questions in MassMutual Case
"It's alleged that MassMutual promised in the plan document to pick up the check for the Thrift Plan's administrative expenses including those related to the group annuity contract and fixed-income account agreement, and broke that promise.... [It's] alleged that in 2010 alone 'MassMutual was paid well over $5 million for providing services to the Plan' -- which presumably included amounts paid to MassMutual for administrative expenses." (Morningstar Advisor)  

Detroit Judge's Denial of Special Protections for Pensions May Have Wider Implications
"Some potential fall-out, outside of Detroit: [1] Public employers may have a harder time attracting and retaining employees, if employees do not consider promised pension and retiree health benefits to be reliable. [2] Public employers may tend to respond to #1 by skewing compensation more toward current pay and benefits, rather than retiree pensions and benefits ... [3] Unions may be more inclined to negotiate for higher current funding of plans, rather than just promised benefits." (Calhoun Law Group)  

2013 Year-End Compliance Reminders for Defined Contribution Plans Subject to ERISA (PDF)
"This information applies to qualified defined contribution plans and 403(b) plans that are subject to Title I of ERISA. Every year, plan sponsors must make sure their plans meet certain compliance requirements ... This publication identifies the materials you need to review and will help you prepare for year-end." (Prudential)  

2013 Year-End Compliance Reminders for Defined Contribution Plans Not Subject to ERISA (PDF)
"This information applies to defined contribution plans, such as qualified governmental plans (including 'grandfathered' 401(k) plans), qualified church plans that do not elect to be covered by ERISA ('non-electing church plans'), 403(b) plans, and section 457 plans that are not subject to Title I of ERISA. Every year, defined contribution plan sponsors should make sure their plans meet certain compliance requirements ... This publication identifies the materials you need to review and will help you prepare for year-end." (Prudential)  


[Advert.]

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It's that time again! If you haven't logged into the 1099 Software all year or you're looking for a new solution, you won't want to miss this free webinar. We'll cover preparation, printing, e-filing, our fulfillment service and more.



401(k) Sponsors Tweak Methods for Charging Investment Fees to Participants
"[S]ome employers are refunding some revenue-sharing payments to retirement savers who have chosen investments with higher costs -- and assessing new fees from savers whose funds charge less. Other employers are switching to a uniform percentage charge for administrative costs across all of their investment choices. A third group is totally scrapping the use of fund fees for plan expenses. Instead, they are charging workers a flat dollar amount to cover the plan's costs.... [O]lder workers with larger nest eggs may save thousands of dollars a year, since they no longer pay a fee that increases in dollar terms along with their savings." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

Nonqualified Plan Can Help Protect Retirement Income from Taxation by Former States of Residence
"The Source Tax Law generally protects current nonresidents from being taxed on retirement income by states where they previously lived while employed. It covers retirement income paid from tax-favored vehicles such as tax-qualified retirement plans and IRAs. It also protects income from nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements if the income either is paid from a certain type of plan or in substantially equal periodic payments over life or life expectancy or a period of at least ten years. Thus, properly structuring deferred compensation payouts ... may provide significant state tax savings, depending on the states involved." (Fulcrum Partners, LLC)  

Chicago Still Needs to Reform Pension System
"The state's pension reform deal may offer both a political and actuarial template for further action, but the intricate adjustments in benefits, contribution levels and other details aren't directly transferable to Chicago's plans. The same is true for Cook County's pension liabilities, which are significant but not as severe as the city's. Without reform, it would take roughly a 35% increase in property taxes to meet required pension contributions for all local governments in the Chicago area[.]" (Pensions & Investments)  

Public Fund Survey: 2012 Analysis of Nation's Largest Public Retirement Systems
"The funding level in FY 12 declined to 73.5 percent, down from 75.8 percent the prior year. The aggregate actuarial value of assets increased to $2.67 trillion, an increase of 0.9 percent. This increase was outpaced by growth in the actuarial value of liabilities, from $3.49 trillion to $3.63 trillion, or 4.1 percent. Liabilities grow primarily as active (working) plan participants accrue retirement benefit service credits." (National Association of State Retirement Administrators [NASRA] and the National Council on Teacher Retirement)  

Retirement Income: The Value of Deferring Social Security
"[S]ome participants may want to pursue a payout strategy of delaying the start of Social Security, taking larger 401(k) payments during the period age 62-70 and smaller payments after age 70. For participants who want to 'self-design' such a strategy, sponsors may want to make available tools that will aid in that project. Moreover -- given the advantages that delay provides -- sponsors may want to make available information about the relative benefits of deferring." (October Three Consulting)  

Rome Was Not Built in a Day: Build Internal Controls One Step at a Time
"The IRS recognizes that gaps and hiccups will arise when comparing form, the plan document & design, to the plan's operations, administrative processes and procedural activities.... The IRS expects the plan sponsor to take three steps when gaps or hiccups arise. First, is finding the problem.... Second, correct the problem.... Third, but very certainly not the least important, the plan sponsor must strengthen their processes, procedures and internal controls with the intent to avoid gaps or hiccups in the future." (Business of Benefits)  

Recent Litigation Indicates a High Price for Failure to Follow Fiduciary Best Practices
"[T]he average cost to sponsors who settle out of court in these DC-related lawsuits is $17 million. While most court rulings to date in these cases have actually favored the defendants, there are the occasional legal outliers that should have sponsors closely examining their fiduciary performance -- especially in light of that $17 million 'average cost.' ... While the large majority of sponsors are attentive to their fiduciary duties and therefore need not worry about suffering the same fate as International Paper, the $30 million settlement should have all sponsors on the alert to ensure that their DC plans are following fiduciary best practices." (Vanguard)  

How Does One Demonstrate That a Service Provider Arrangement Is Reasonable?
"The RFP process is more formal and results in numerous proposals that are consistent in how the information is provided. This allows for a straight forward, apples to apples comparison of fees and services that are available to the plan. However, it is also time consuming and expensive. Benchmarking is an acceptable and less formal alternative that, for many, is a more practical approach; primarily because it saves time and money." (fi360)  

Advisers Help Detroit and Illinois Clients Prepare for Sharp Decline in Pension Benefits
"Busy days are ahead for Illinois and Michigan advisers who work with municipal employees as public-pension overhauls loom in the Prairie State and in Detroit.... [C]lients have been bracing themselves for the cuts for months. They face the prospect of either adjusting their investments to make up for the loss in income, working longer, taking on a part-time job or trimming their expenses." (InvestmentNews)  

BlackRock CEO Says Pension Funds Should Invest More in Stocks
"Pension funds have to focus on the longer-term view and can't look at quarterly or yearly returns when allocating money to assets, [BlackRock CEO Laurence D. Fink] said. Since March 9, 2009, when the stock market closed at its lowest after the financial crisis, the S&P 500 has advanced 165%. 'I truly believe the experience we've just witnessed over the last several years explains more than ever why you have to have an outcome-oriented investment process,' Mr. Fink said, referring to the stock market rally." (Pensions & Investments)  

Britons Face Rise in State Pension Age to 68 by Mid-2030s
"Britain is likely to raise the state pension age to 68 in the mid-2030s, a decade earlier than previously expected ... The change ... would affect Britons who are now below the age of 50.... 'The principle announced today will save around 400 billion pounds ($657 billion), or total savings of over 500 billion pounds once we include the previously announced increases to the state pension age (to 66 and 67),' the government said." (Reuters)  

[Opinion]

Do Retirees Have Equity Allocation Plans Reversed? The Argument for Owning More Stocks with Age
"At the higher asset allocation and a 4% withdrawal rate, the rising glide path works slightly better than either the flat glide path or the declining glide path for the ... historical market assumptions [or for an estimate from financial planner Harold Evensky that slashes expected stock returns by 300 basis points per year and bonds by 80 basis points]. However, with the conservative forecast [that cuts stock returns slightly further and takes bonds' real returns to nothing,] the customary approach of reducing stock exposure over time is best. When the withdrawal rate is increased to 5%, the traditional declining glide path yields the highest success rate for all three forecasts." (Morningstar Advisor)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Fixing the Gap Problem: Fiduciary Insurance Coverage of Defense Costs During DOL Investigations of ERISA Fiduciaries
"[I]nsurers may contend that a mere notice of investigation, request for production of documents, or request for an interview of a fiduciary does not rise to the level necessary to trigger the policy's duty to defend because no written allegation of wrongdoing has yet been made. Fiduciaries may be surprised and upset when told that the plan's fiduciary insurer refuses to provide them with coverage of their legal expenses at the time they need legal representation most. This dynamic creates a 'gap' in defense cost cover- age between the time that a fiduciary believes that she is entitled to representation during a DOL investigation and the time that some fiduciary insurers believe the policy requires the insurance company to pay for such representation." (Groom Law Group via Bloomberg BNA Pension & Benefits Daily)  

Year-End Planning Ideas for Stock Compensation and Company Stock Holdings
"Watch income thresholds that trigger higher taxes.... Roth IRA conversions in January optimize your ability to recharacterize the conversion later if necessary.... January is the time to exercise incentive stock options.... Holding company stock for a while longer? Consider harvesting gains.... Consider whether your current financial holdings are too concentrated in one stock.... Prepare for the impact of upcoming job changes or life events." (myStockOptions.com)  

[Opinion]

What Public Insurance Exchanges Will Look Like Five Years From Now
"Public exchanges could benefit from lessons already mastered by private exchanges -- starting with open enrollment but extending to even more complex technology-based transactions. There are 10 scenarios that vendors must be able to handle. [1] Life Events.... [2] Overlapping Enrollments.... [3] Additional Special Enrollments.... [4] Passive Annual Open Enrollment.... [5] Age Changes and Overage Dependent Cancellations (especially mid-year).... [6] Rate and Plan Updates.... [7] Retroactive Billing.... [8] Electronic Data Interchanges.... [9] Security and Permissions.... [10] Reports, Alerts and Dashboards." (The Health Care Blog)  

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