Retirement Plans Newsletter

January 20, 2016 logo logo LinkedIn logo Twitter logo Facebook logo
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Administrator
SDCooper Company
in CA

Trust Operations Specialist
John Hancock Retirement Plan Services
in MA

Retirement Plan Compliance Analyst/Client Relations Manager
Alliance Benefit Group of Houston, Inc.

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Webcasts and Conferences

EPCRS Corrections: Strategies and Negotiation Tips When Dealing with the IRS
(ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries])

Affordable Care Act New Developments and a Last Minute Review of Reporting
February 2, 2016 in GA
(Mazursky Constantine LLC)

Fiduciary Issues and Data Privacy
February 8, 2016 WEBCAST
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB])

Analyzing Controlled and Affiliated Service Groups
February 9, 2016 WEBCAST
(ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries])

GASB Statements 67 & 68: How Are We Doing So Far?
February 10, 2016 WEBCAST
(Pension 360)

Health & Welfare Plans Regulatory and Legislative Update
February 25, 2016 WEBCAST
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB])

Regulatory Catch-All
March 9, 2016 WEBCAST
(Conference of Consulting Actuaries)

IRA Distributions
March 17, 2016 WEBCAST

2016 City Event
April 7, 2016 in NY
(PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America])

2016 City Event
April 21, 2016 in MO
(PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America])

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Guidance Overview]

Wait, There's More... Additional Revisions to the Employee Plans Determination Letter Program
"Plan sponsors who are permitted to file on cycle during Cycle E (ending Jan. 31, 2016) or Cycle A (ending Jan. 31, 2017) should submit their plans to the IRS to obtain determination letters.... Sponsors of individually designed defined contribution plans should assess whether they wish to restate their plans in a pre-approved form. Sponsors of individually designed plans that remain individually designed should request that counsel assess plan document compliance annually ... [and] should take advantage of opportunities to request updated determination letters as permitted in future IRS guidance." (Drinker Biddle)  


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IRS Q&A Compendium for Actuaries No Longer to be Produced
"The 'Gray Book,' a compendium of questions actuaries pose to the IRS and the answers to them, will no longer be produced. The Conference of Consulting Actuaries (CCA), which had produced the book with the American Academy of Actuaries, recently made the announcement. The CCA said that it has taken this step in part because the IRS and Treasury Department have reallocated resources and shifted their priorities. In addition, the government is concerned over the reliance placed on the answers the IRS was providing in the Gray Book." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA])  

Judge Nixes Cigna's Pension Math in Long-Running Case
"Judge Janet Bond Arterton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut ... rejected several of Cigna's proposed methods for calculating the pension benefits it owes workers under the previous court rulings in this case. Arterton acknowledged that her Jan. 14 ruling would 'inevitably lead to some overpayment on Cigna's part,' ... However, she said that any ambiguities or close calls in the calculations should be resolved in the participants' favor, because Cigna misrepresented the effects of the pension plan conversion and failed to keep detailed records that would support its calculations." [Amara v. Cigna, No. 3:01-cv-2361 (D. Conn. Jan. 14, 2016)] (Bloomberg BNA)  

I'll Be Missing You: Tips for Locating Missing Participants (PDF)
"How do plans have missing participants in a world in which nearly every interaction results in a digital footprint? You may think it is impossible to still encounter issues with missing participants -- but that's not the case. This article describes the circumstances in which missing participants pose problems for plan sponsors of defined contribution plans, and the fiduciary steps (necessary and suggested) to take in locating them." (Quarles & Brady LLP, via Plan Consultant magazine)  

Will Your 401(k) Plan Be Sued in the New Year?
"[A] new lawsuit makes broad allegations against a plan administered by Vanguard that primarily uses lower cost Vanguard funds. This lawsuit should make all employers take note and realize that their plans may be sued with regard to their fee structure and that they need to take appropriate action to be in position to defend their decisions against a similar lawsuit." (Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP)  


2015 SPARK National Conference -- June 19-21, Washington DC

Sponsored by SPARK

The retirement services industry's leading event for top marketing, sales, administration and record keeping professionals. Comprehensive agenda is designed to meet the needs of 401(k) Plan Providers, Financial Advisors and Third Party Administrators.

Implications of the Fiduciary Rule for Financial Firms and Advisers
"Will the DOL's Final Rule be significantly changed from its April 2015 Proposed Rule? ... Will 'differential compensation' be permitted under a fiduciary standard? ... What constitutes a 'reasonable fee' under the fiduciary standard? ... Is asset management becoming commoditized? ... Will 'investment advice' become distinguishable from 'financial planning' advice? ... Will my broker-dealer firm permit me to meet the DOL's requirements?" (Ron Rhoades)  

Turning Defined Contribution Assets Into a Lifetime Paycheck: How to Evaluate Investment Choices for Retirees
"Retirees may benefit by retaining assets in their DC plan, maintaining access to institutional investments, fiduciary oversight and attractive pricing. Key strategies include those designed to keep pace with the real cost of retirement, lower the probability of major loss and outperform inflation.... [F]or the goal of retirement income, an Objective-Aligned Glide Path is superior to the Market Average Glide Path, while a multi-sector bond may provide important benefits[.]" (PIMCO)  

Retirement Income: Perceptions vs. Reality
"In spite of the much-discussed DB to DC shift and the eventual disappearance of pensions ... a significant share of current affluent retirees still have pensions.... If you include those relying largely on Social Security, half of retirees still depend mostly on guaranteed income. So, income-generating strategies for financial accounts, including systematic drawdown or annuitization, aren't priorities for a significant group of retirees, whereas for others they're an immediate concern." (Vanguard)  

CalPERS Starts Process of Revamping ESG Program
"CalPERS' investment committee plans to vote on a new ESG plan for engaging its external managers and public companies in which it invests by August.... The private equity portfolio team members also stated the extent to which private equity companies use ESG factors in assessing portfolio companies is playing a role in determining which firms are hired by [CalPERS]." (Pensions & Investments)  


Making Incentive Stock Options Work for Your Company

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

January 27 webinar - Learn why incentive stock options are an attractive form of incentive compensation and understand the many requirements which must be satisfied to most effectively provide them to employees. BenefitsLink discount.

New Jersey Governor Signs Law Creating Small Biz Retirement Marketplace
"The new portal, modeled off of Washington state's marketplace, will be open to businesses with 100 employees or fewer. The state treasurer will vet and approve private retirement vehicles, including at a minimum Individual Retirement Accounts with and without employer contributions. It will also include the U.S. Department of Treasury-administered 'myRA' Roth IRA." (  

Seeing Red: Here's Your Share of State Pension Shortfalls
"One way to show [the relative size of] your state's pension shortfall is to resize the states on a map based on their pension liability instead of their land area. When sized that way, here's what state pension liabilities look like." (NBC News)  


The Fallacy of the Participant Outcomes Mantra
"Auto-enrollment and auto-escalation work for those who can afford it. It doesn't work for those who are living day to day, and sadly today, that seems to be the majority of American families. In the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Congress claims to have intended to protected pensions. They did take some very positive steps while they were at it though by statutorily legalizing what are known as hybrid plans (cash balance, pension equity, variable annuity, etc.) and while they were at it, statutorily legalizing market return hybrid plans. If you really want to help to prepare your employees for retirement, these are better vehicles." (Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell)  


ICI Comments to DOL: Proposal on State-Run Retirement Programs Promotes Confusing Patchwork of Laws
"The DOL proposal and its accompanying guidance support policies that could harm the voluntary system for retirement savings that now helps millions of private-sector American workers achieve retirement security ... DOL should have considered the need for ERISA protections for participants, in addition to focusing on employer involvement in the plans ... Rather than proposing a blanket exemption, as it has done, DOL should determine, on a case-by-case basis, that ERISA's protections are unnecessary with respect to a particular state's program before any such program is excluded from ERISA.... [T]he DOL proposal would give a competitive advantage to the state-run payroll-deduction IRA arrangements excluded from ERISA by allowing those state-based programs to provide for automatic enrollment and escalation of contributions -- features not available for such programs offered through the private sector." (Investment Company Institute [ICI])  


SIFMA Submits Comments to DOL on Proposed Safe Harbors for State-Run Retirement Plans
"SIFMA believes this proposal is a step in the wrong direction ... It does not address the fundamental issues that prevent Americans from saving more for retirement. It could lead to 50 different state plans throughout the country. It puts an additional cost burden on states and crowds out the private market. States would be highly unlikely to provide the same level of education, service and guidance as private sector providers." (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association [SIFMA])  


Voya Comment Letter to DOL on Proposal for State-Sponsored Retirement Programs (PDF)
"We do not ... believe the system that would be enabled by the Proposal -- a 50-state patchwork of government-administered retirement savings vehicles with inconsistent state and local regulations, low annual contribution limits, no opportunity for employer contributions and limited access to retirement planning and advice -- would successfully address the retirement savings gap.... [A] patchwork of state government-administered plans would take momentum away from subsequent implementation of solutions that would more successfully address the retirement savings gap." (Voya Financial)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

[Guidance Overview]

Effects of SEC's Proposed Clawback Rules on Incentive Based Compensation (PDF)
"While well-accepted compensation theories advocate tying compensation to a company's financial performance, given the SEC's proposed rules and the current market trend, issuers may wish to reduce the amount of compensation that is contingent upon the satisfaction of financial reporting measures, so as to reduce their executive officers' exposure to clawback. To the extent that compensation will be based on the achievement of financial reporting measures, per the proposed rules, the compensation awards should include explicit language to facilitate clawback, if required." (Fulcrum Partners, LLC)  

Text of Supreme Court Opinion: ERISA Plan Cannot Recover Benefit Overpayments from Participant's General Assets (PDF)
19 pages. "[W]hen a participant dissipates the whole settlement on nontraceable items, the fiduciary cannot bring a suit to attach the participant's general assets under Section 502(a)(3) because the suit is not one for 'appropriate equitable relief.' In this case, it is unclear whether the participant dissipated all of his settlement in this manner, so we remand for further proceedings." [Montanile v. Bd. of Trustees of Nat. Elevator Ind. Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2016)] (Supreme Court of the United States)  

New York State Appellate Court Upholds Executive Compensation Order and Regs: What Happens Next?
"The EO 38 regulations ... were drafted to limit the amount that Covered Providers, as well as certain subcontractors and agents of Covered Providers, could pay to executives, and the amount of administrative expenses that these Covered Providers could incur.... Although the Second Department has ruled that EO 38 and the implementing regulations are valid, there remain many open issues. Most critical is what aspects of the regulations are currently enforceable." (Greenberg Traurig)  


American Benefits Council Comment Letter to EBSA on Proposed Regs for Disability Claims Procedures
"We urge the Department to reconsider its Proposed Regulations and to promulgate a final rule that strikes a better balance between the goal of ensuring a full and fair review of all claims with the need for continued employee access to affordable disability coverage." (American Benefits Council)  

Press Releases

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2016, 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, 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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