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December 19, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Internal Retirement Plan Consultant
The Standard

Compliance Analyst
National Retirement Services, Inc.
in NC

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Webcasts and Conferences

Two New Half-day Specialty Topic Seminars Detroit and 16 Other Cities - January
January 16, 2014 in MI
(SunGard Relius)

Two New Half-day Specialty Topic Seminars Syracuse and 16 Other Cities - January
January 16, 2014 in NY
(SunGard Relius)

401(k) Plan Duties and Liability Update: What You Need to Know and Do
January 28, 2014 WEBCAST
(Lorman Education Services)

Ethics for Benefit Professionals
February 11, 2014 WEBCAST
(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.

Ten Steps DC Plans Should Take in 2014 (PDF)
"[Steps include:] Redefine Success: Ultimately, a plan is successful if it meets plan sponsor objectives and delivers future financial security to participants.... Take a broader, sophisticated approach to investment risk: a delegated investment solution may help manage risk through the lens of plan participants.... Understand target date fund fiduciary responsibility: the DOL is watching.... Say goodbye to revenue sharing: paying administrative fees based on each fund's level of revenue sharing may not stand up to scrutiny.... Address the diversification challenge: consider implementing custom funds to increase participant diversification while keeping the investment line-up lean." (Mercer)  


FREE! A full year of 5500/PBGC/1099R Forms. Effortless conversion!

Sponsored by DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

Click here to sign up today. Use DATAIR's Pension Reporter System for your 2013 filings. NO obligation, NO fees. Just the best government forms software for an entire year. Call us at 888-328-2474 with any questions. We are here to help!

Ten Pension Risk Management Priorities for DB Plans in 2014 (PDF)
"[Steps include:] Consider taking your de-risking glide-path to the next level with interest triggers as well as funded status trigger.... Review the optimal LDI benchmarks for liabilities.... Don't forget about derivatives.... Optimize growth assets.... Consider accelerating contributions.... Analyze cost advantages of a cashout." (Mercer)  

Update for Pension Funding Disclosures for 2013 (PDF)
"In estimating pension liabilities at year-end, plan sponsors may expect discount rates to be about 90 basis points higher (as of November 30, 2013) relative to December 31, 2012 ... [P]lan sponsors using PPA liability smoothing techniques will experience liability increases from last year, and may require additional contributions to increase the funded status. Those using unsmoothed cash valuations will likely see an improvement in funded status. Market volatility may continue to be a challenge in 2014." (SEI)  

Courts, Not IRS, May Determine Church Plan Status (PDF)
"The Rollins case reminds us that an IRS private letter ruling is only directed to the taxpayer who requested it and may not be used or cited as precedent, but also raises the question as to whether a private letter ruling is even worth the paper it is printed on if the ruling can be overturned by a court decision.... Until this issue is fully resolved, quite possibly in the Supreme Court, even employers who have received an IRS letter ruling run a real risk of losing their church plan status. The Rollins case may energize efforts by pension advocates to reverse other church plan exemptions they believe were granted improperly by the IRS over the past three decades." [Rollins v. Dignity Health, No. C13-1450 TEH (N.D. Cal. Dec. 12, 2013)] (Buck Consultants)  

IRS Provides Temporary Relief for 'Closed DB Plan' Nondiscrimination Issue
"The nondiscrimination issue addressed in the Notice is, generally, the 'main' frozen plan problem, but there are other issues presented by frozen plans, including whether 'make whole' contributions in a DC plan are discriminatory, whether there is discrimination with respect to benefits, rights and features and whether a frozen plan may violate the minimum participation rule under Tax Code section 401(a)(26)." (October Three Consulting)  


National Conference on ESOPs and Stock Plans: April 2014

Sponsored by NCEO (National Center for Employee Ownership)

If you work with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) or equity compensation plans, the annual Employee Ownership Conference from April 7 to 10 in Atlanta will keep you up to date on legal issues, best practices, emerging trends, and much more!

Fee Disclosure Reg Helps Plans and Participants
"[M]ore than half (53%) of [DC] plan participants reported that they noticed the expanded participant fee information that became effective in late 2012 -- and 14% of those who took notice say they have made changes to their investments as a result of the expanded information about fees. While 14% may sound like a low number -- and it translates into about 7% of the total surveyed -- the figure ... seems to indicate that the disclosure information is having an impact." (Vanguard)  

Fiduciary Best Practice: Roles and Responsibilities of All Involved Parties Are Defined and Documented
"[The investment policy statement] should include information about the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in the portfolio ... In addition to the benefits of clarity, documentation also helps to ensure continuity of the investment strategy when there is a change to any of the parties and to prevent gaps where certain essential functions are not being performed for the portfolio." (fi360)  

Quarterly Summary of the Finances of Selected State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems: 3Q 2013 (PDF)
"For the 100 largest public-employee retirement systems in the country, cash and security holdings totaled $3,061.0 billion in the third quarter of 2013, reaching the highest level since the survey began in 1968. Cash and security holdings had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 4.0 percent, from $2,944.3 billion last quarter, and a year-to-year increase of 9.8 percent, from $2,788.1 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Earnings on investments totaled $120.1 billion in the third quarter of 2013." (U.S. Census Bureau)  

Sources of Income for Older Americans, 2012 (PDF)
"Social Security remains the mainstay of retirement income for most older Americans, while only about one in three receive regular payments from pensions and retirement savings. Social Security accounts for about four out of every five dollars of income for older people with low to moderate incomes. Earnings as a source of older people's income have risen steadily over the past two decades, while income from assets has fallen. Older minorities are less likely to have income from Social Security, pensions and retirement savings, interest, and dividends." (AARP Public Policy Institute)  


Is the West Retiring Early Retirement?
"We may be witnessing the last gasp of early retirement -- not just in the United States but in many industrialized countries. Considering the high unemployment since the 2008 financial crisis, you might expect the opposite. Early retirement would flourish. It would strike many unemployed older workers as the path of least resistance. Can't get a job? Retire instead. Surely this has happened, but it's being diluted by a determination to work longer. Early retirement is in retreat." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Benefits Strategy and Benchmarking Survey 2013 (PDF)
"Controlling benefits costs is by far the number one issue for [survey] participants, with over 80% ranking it within their top three challenges.... When it comes to benefits management, strategic planning was cited most often as a top priority.... Even with the recent delay in implementing the [ACA], most employers are not prepared for healthcare reform... Technology plays a large role in the benefits process.... Thirty-four percent of organizations reported that their benefits expense is between 11% and 20% of total compensation, while 30% said it was between 21% and 30% of total compensation." (Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc.)  

Supreme Court Upholds Enforceability of Plan Limitations Period
"Heimeshoff is the latest in a growing line of cases in which the Supreme Court has recognized the supremacy of the plan document over competing policy interests.... That the plan document is afforded near-sacrosanct status actually favors plan administrators, even if it leads to difficult results on occasion. Following this guiding principle, plan administrators can expressly enforce the reasonable plan terms as written, rather than attempt to make decisions based on policy or equitable considerations." [Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life and Accident Ins. Co., No. 12-729 (S.Ct. Dec. 16, 2013)] (Benefits Bryan Cave)  

Press Releases

Hawaii Contractor to Restore More Than $460,000 to Employee Profit-sharing Plan
Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor

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