Retirement Plans Newsletter

January 14, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Consultant
Intac Actuarial Services
in NJ, NY

Participant Call Center Specialist for Retirement Plan Administration
Ingham Retirement Group
in FL

DB Plan Administrator/Actuarial Analyst
Aegis Pension Services, Inc.
in FL

DC Retirement Plan Consultant
Benefit Plans Administrative Services, Inc. [BPAS]
in PA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Healthcare Reform: Lessons Learned
January 27, 2016 WEBCAST
(Conference of Consulting Actuaries)

Strategic Approaches to Human Resources Issues in Corporate Transactions: Merger, Acquisitions and Retirement Plans
February 10, 2016 WEBCAST
(Bloomberg BNA)

69th Annual National Conference
May 3, 2016 in TN
(PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America])

Advanced ERISA Benefit Claims Litigation
May 20, 2016 WEBCAST
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB])

2016 ACOPA Actuarial Symposium
August 5, 2016 in IL
(ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries [ACOPA])

View All Webcasts and Conferences


Discussions


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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Interest Rate Update for February 2016
"The February 2016 interest assumptions under the benefit payments regulation will be 1.25 percent for the period during which a benefit is in pay status and 4.00 percent during any years preceding the benefit's placement in pay status. In comparison with the interest assumptions in effect for January 2016, these interest assumptions are unchanged." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])  


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What's Your Opinion about the Elimination of Most Determination Letters? IRS Advisory Committee Asks Practitioners and Service-Providers to Participate in Confidential Survey by February 1
"The Employee Plans subgroup of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities is conducting its 2015/2016 project on the IRS's decision to eliminate most determination letters for individually designed plans. As part of the project, the ACT has prepared a short, confidential online survey to solicit retirement practitioner/service provider feedback on the elimination and to determine the choices plan sponsors are likely to make and how the IRS can minimize the impact of the change. The ACT would like responses by February 1. The survey does not require that respondents identify themselves, and all responses go directly to the ACT members, and not to the IRS. Click here to take the survey." (Employee Plans Subcommittee, IRS Advisory Committee on Tax-Exempt and Government Entities (ACT))  

How Has Supreme Court Decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer Affected Litigation Over Company Stock in Retirement Plans?
"Many observers believed the decision would significantly increase litigation concerning company stock in retirement plans. That clearly has not happened. In tracking this type of litigation since 1990, there have been far fewer lawsuits initiated over stock-drop issues after the Dudenhoeffer ruling than in the years before the decision.... While the number of remands is still fairly small (and probably will not grow by much), the trends have shown that the new standards are at least as strongly pro-defendants as the presumption of prudence rule was." (National Law Review)  

Intel Suit Focuses on Use of Alternative Investments in Custom Target Date Funds
"The plaintiff alleges that the Intel investment committee directed the custom TDFs to hold 'extraordinary' concentrations of alternative investments. As a result of high fees (reaching as high as 136 basis points) and poor performance of these investments, the custom TDFs underperformed -- primarily against certain proprietary target-date funds -- by 400 basis points annually.... if the case does proceed, it could provide additional insight into the process Intel went through in selecting the alternative investments and whether its committee had a strong, deliberative process for doing so." [Sulyma v. Intel Corp. Inv. Policy Comm., No. 5:2015cv04977 (N.D. Cal. filed Oct. 29, 2015)] (Vanguard)  

DC Plan Executives Focusing on Investment Policy, Fees and Compliance
"44.5% of plan sponsors have a written policy on plan fee payments as part of their investment policy statement or as a separate document [according to a recent survey]. The percentage is the highest recorded since Callan began conducting its survey in 2009 and well above the 36% response in 2014." (Pensions & Investments)  


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Employer-Based Retirement Plan Access and Participation Across the 50 States
"[M]ore than 30 million workers report they do not have access to an employer-based retirement plan.... This data visualization shows how employer-based retirement plan access and participation vary among states and by characteristics such as employer size, industry, and wage and salary. The analysis focuses on full-time, full-year, private sector wage and salary workers, ages 18 to 64. Users can click through the various tabs to obtain information of interest and create printable state-level summaries." (The Pew Charitable Trusts)  

The Status of State-Based Retirement Plans for the Private Sector
"There is a movement afoot to use the efficiencies of public retirement systems to administer new types of pension plans for private-sector workers. [This article includes] are brief summaries of plans that have either passed or are being considered." (Pension Rights Center)  

The Church Plan Exemption and Kaplan v. Saint Peter's Healthcare System
"The Third Circuit's opinion is a great read, and very persuasive. And yet in some ways, while very compelling, it reads almost as much as a political document -- in the sense of being written to persuade an audience -- as it does as an inevitable outcome of sharp legal reasoning (which it clearly is as well). The Court provides a very plausible interpretation of the statutory language itself, but if that analysis stood alone, segregated from the supporting arguments relied on by the Court for its interpretation of the church plan exemption that are based on canons of statutory interpretation, on legislative history and on the public policy behind ERISA, that analysis would not be half as persuasive." [Kaplan v. St. Peter's Healthcare System, No. 15-1172 (3d Cir. Dec. 29, 2015)] (Stephen Rosenberg, The Wagner Law Group)  

The Status of Church Plans After Kaplan v. Saint Peter's Healthcare System
"Saint Peter's plan was approximately $70 million underfunded at the time the lawsuit was filed ... Closing that gap under ERISA will not be easy. Plans newly subject to ERISA also would subject plan sponsors to PBGC scrutiny and impose PBGC insurance premium obligations. These financial strains may lead to corporate restructurings, layoffs, mergers or bankruptcies." [Kaplan v. St. Peter's Healthcare System, No. 15-1172 (3d Cir. Dec. 29, 2015)] (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)  

To Roth, or Not to Roth? (PDF)
"Many alleged mathematical analyses have been published ... which incorrectly claim Roth 401(k)s to be superior. It's easy to see why we were fooled. In 20 years the Roth accumulates to an amount over 10% higher than the traditional.... This analysis is flawed because the creators erroneously assume that the two options have equal financial outlays. They do not! ... Because the Roth starts with almost 10% more value, voila it ends up that way." (Ekon Benefits)  

Do You Know Where Your 401(k) Fees Are Hiding?
"Understanding your 401(k) fees can take work, but it is far easier than sorting out the advice you may receive -- and the related fees -- when you are thinking of moving out of a 401(k)." (CNBC)  

[Opinion]

Fees and Higher Cost Asset Classes in Retirement Plans
"What makes an expense reasonable? In the case of an S&P 500 index fund, we would expect the returns before subtracting out expenses to be virtually identical for two funds, and therefore would hope that the funds with expenses toward the lower end of the spectrum available for the plan would be considered reasonable. Two international real property funds, on the other hand, will not have the same returns.... If Fund A has been returning (over the last 10 years) 14% per year before subtracting expenses and Fund B only 11% per year before subtracting expenses, does Fund A justify a higher level of expenses?" (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Supreme Court Declines to Review Validity of Forum Selection Clauses in ERISA Plans
"On Jan. 11, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept review of Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan ... The holding of the Sixth Circuit, the only court of appeals to have considered this issue, allows ERISA plan sponsors to designate the federal courts in which their participants may bring claims arising under ERISA. Plan sponsors, particularly those with participants scattered throughout multiple states, often favor this approach because it brings uniformity to the treatment of their plans." (Greensfelder Hemker & Gale PC, via Lexology)  

Millennials in the Dark About Their Benefits
"Compared to their older colleagues, Millennials are less interested in -- and less knowledgeable about -- their workplace benefits ... That could be driving low retention rates among young workers.... Millennials are less likely than others to find the benefits package a potential employer offers to be extremely important in their decision to accept or reject a job.... Millennials also are more likely than those in other age groups to report that they would prefer to take the money employers spend on employee benefits and decide for themselves whether to purchase those benefits and how much to purchase ... Preferences for communications about employee benefits also fall along a generational continuum." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])  

How to Involve Compensation Committees in M&A-Related Decisions
"[T]he compensation committee should be involved in the design and execution of acquisition-related executive compensation programs in order to maximize the likelihood that key employees are retained and the acquisition is successful, while appropriately managing the company's financial risk. Here are a few of the M&A-related items that compensation committees are most likely to focus on." (Towers Watson)  

Press Releases

US Labor Department Files Lawsuit to Recover $31K in Missing Plan Assets from TSPA Holding Inc. in Austin, Texas
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2016 BenefitsLink.com, Inc. All materials contained in this newsletter are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of BenefitsLink.com, Inc., or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

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