Retirement Plans Newsletter

January 27, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Sales Consultant
PlanTech, LLP
in AL, GA, NC, SC, TN

Quality Control - Plan Valuation, Withdrawal and Compliance Testing
Third Party Administrator Firm
in ANY STATE

TPA Sales & Marketing Wholesaler
Nova 401(k) Associates
in CA, DC, FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA, WA

Account Executive - Midwest
Fringe Benefit Group
in ANY STATE, IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MN, MT, OH, WI

DC Plan Administrator
Third Party Administrator
in ANY STATE

Regional Sales Director
Ameritas Life Insurance Corp
in DC, DE, MD, NC, SC, VA

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Webcasts and Conferences

IRA Required Minimum Distributions
March 24, 2016 WEBCAST
(Ascensus)

Cash Balance Plans Ten Years after PPA 2006
April 19, 2016 WEBCAST
(ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries])

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[Official Guidance]

Proposed Accounting Standards Update: Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Defined Benefit Plans
94 pages. "[T]he amendments in this proposed Update [to Subtopic 715-20 of the FASB Accounting Standards Codification]: [1] State that an entity shall provide required disclosures if they are material; [2] Exclude phrases like 'an entity shall disclose at a minimum,' which make it difficult to justify omitting immaterial disclosures; [3] Refer readers to Topic 235, Notes to Financial Statements ... for discussion of the appropriate exercise of discretion." (Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB])  


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[Official Guidance]

Proposed Accounting Standards Update: Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost
73 pages. "The amendments in this proposed Update [to Topic 715 of the FASB Accounting Standards Codification] would require an employer to report the service cost component in the same line item or items as other compensation costs arising from services rendered by the pertinent employees during the period. The other components of net benefit cost ... would be presented in the income statement separately from the service cost component and outside a subtotal of income from operations, if one is presented.... The amendments in this proposed Update also would allow only the service cost component to be eligible for capitalization when applicable." (Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB])  

[Guidance Overview]

Present Law and Background Relating to Tax-Favored Retirement Saving and Certain Related Legislative Proposals
95 pages. "The Senate Committee on Finance has scheduled a public hearing on January 28, 2016, on Helping Americans Prepare for Retirement: Increasing Access, Participation and Coverage in Retirement Savings Plans. This document, prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, provides a discussion of present law, economic issues and data, as well as descriptions of certain legislative proposals, relating to tax-favored retirement saving." (Joint Committee on Taxation [JCT], U.S. Congress)  

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Issues Proposed Regs on Normal Retirement Age for Governmental Plans
"The plan document for a governmental plan is not required to provide a specific definition of normal retirement age. Instead, normal retirement age is the lowest age specified in the plan at which the employee has the right to retire without the consent of the employer and receive retirement benefits based on the amount of the employee's service to the date of retirement at the full rate set forth in the plan ... The proposed regulations provide for safe harbors under which a normal retirement age below age 62 will be considered to satisfy the reasonably representative requirement for any employee.... The regulations state that it is permissible to have different normal retirement ages for different classes of employees, so long as each satisfies the requirements." (Calhoun Law Group, P.C.)  

The Supreme Court Meant What It Said, and Said What It Meant: Dudenhoeffer Imposes Higher Pleading Standards
"In a rebuke to the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court granted the Amgen defendants' petition for certiorari, reversed the Ninth Circuit's judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion in the district court. The unanimous per curiam opinion was issued without further briefing and oral argument, an unusual step in civil cases. The substance of the opinion and its handling by summary disposition send a clear message: the Court meant what it said in Dudenhoeffer when it stressed the role of motions to dismiss in 'divid[ing] the plausible sheep from the meritless goats' and crafted new liability requirements that plaintiffs must plausibly allege are met in order to state a claim." [Amgen Inc. v. Harris, No. 15-278 (U.S. Jan. 25, 2016; per curiam)] (Benefits Bryan Cave)  


[Advert.]

2016 Employee Ownership Conference -- April 12-14, 2016 - Minneapolis, MN

Sponsored by NCEO [National Center for Employee Ownership]

The National Center for Employee Ownership announces that registration is now open for the 2016 Employee Ownership Conference -- April 12-14, 2016; Preconference day on April 11. For further information and to register, go to www.nceo.org/conference



With Eighth Circuit Victory, Service Providers Continue Their Winning Streak in 401(k) Fee Disputes
"Service providers to 401(k) plans won another victory this month when the Eighth Circuit upheld the dismissal of an ERISA class action. Ruling in McCaffree Financial Corp. v. Principal Life Insurance Co., the court found that Principal Life was not a fiduciary under ERISA ... Following the trend in the Third and Seventh Circuits, the opinion provides helpful guidance on the limits of fiduciary status under ERISA, both for service providers and other targets of ERISA class actions." (Sidley Austin LLP)  

Shopping for a 401(k) Plan Doesn't Need to Be Overwhelming for Small Businesses; a Checklist Can Help
"401k fiduciaries [should] develop a checklist that compares three provider attributes: [1] Competence; [2] Value-added services; [3] Fees. [This article includes] a sample checklist for plan administration services. If you are a 401k fiduciary, you can use this sample as a basis for your own checklist -- adding or deleting the variables you want to compare." (Employee Fiduciary)  

Longevity Insurance Rates Compared to Stock and Bond Returns
"[A] current longevity annuity quote reveals that it can already be an appealing competitor to the expected returns of a fixed income portfolio. In fact, if longevity insurance rates rise just a bit more, they may even become competitive with long-term equity returns, thanks to the benefit of mortality credits. Which means eventually, an allocation to a 'longevity annuity bucket' may become a standard in retirement income planning[.]" (Michael Kitces in Nerd's Eye View)  

Defined Contribution Returns Sock It to DB Plans (For Once)
"According to the latest pension plan summary data from the [DOL], 2013 was an exceptionally strong year for DC plans, compared to DB. But the longer term pattern continues to point to DB being the more cost-effective system." (Russell Investments)  

Obama Budget to Push Retirement Saving Proposals
"The biggest new proposal would permit small businesses from different fields to join together and offer a retirement plan.... Other proposals in the forthcoming budget include: ... [T]ax cuts for businesses that choose to offer more generous employer plans or switch to auto-enrollment.... Expand retirement savings options for long-term, part-time workers.... [A]utomatically enroll workers without access to a workplace plan in an Individual Retirement Account ... Pilot new, more portable approaches to providing retirement and other important benefits typically offered by employers." (InsuranceNewsNet.com)  

DOL Proposes Easing Access to Multiple Employer 401(k)s
"The [DOL] wants to work with Congress to make it easier for multiple employers to get together and offer open MEPs ... But many plan sponsors have pointed to the the DOL's own Advisory Opinion 2012-04A as the chief hindrance to broader adoption of MEPs.... The administration will also ask Congress to pass a $100 million grant proposal to develop and test a federally run pilot program to provide retirement savings benefits for workers who are self-employed, have multiple employers, or have irregular or unpredictable work patterns." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])  

Oracle Sued by Schlichter After Recent Cases Against Anthem, Reliance Trust, and BB&T
"[T]here has been a significant uptick in the number of ERISA fiduciary breach lawsuits filed in the last couple of months.... The most recent case filed was just last week against Oracle. The case against Anthem has received a lot of attention. But one that has slipped through the cracks a bit is against Reliance Trust and one its clients. This case may the first of its kind on this scale to go after an outsourced fiduciary who is not related to the plan sponsor. Finally, the case against BB&T will be familiar to readers as involving claims of a providers own in-house plan." (Fiduciary Matters Blog)  

Oracle Sued by 401(k) Participants Who Allege Excessive Recordkeeping Fees
"The lawsuit alleges that Oracle plan executives 'deliberately' failed to disclose sufficient information to participants regarding the plan's revenue-sharing arrangement with record keeper Fidelity Investments.... The plaintiffs argued that Oracle should have negotiated a record-keeping contract based on a flat fee per person rather than an asset-based percentage of plan assets.... The complaint also alleged that Oracle plan executives haven't conducted competitive bidding for record keeping in more than 25 years." (Pensions & Investments)  

Despite Cuts, More Pension Woes in Kentucky
"Three years after trimming benefits to head off a looming funding gap, the Bluegrass State has less than half of the money it needs to fund future obligations for about 345,000 public employees and retirees. One of its plans has just 17.7%, making it the worst-funded U.S. pension of the past 15 years." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)  

[Opinion]

Yes, the Administration Is Really Serious About Retirement
"What's necessary is to rethink ERISA and that's what the administration is beginning to do. There's still a need to protect people, but maybe the way to do it is to focus on the retirement product -- on its fees, its practices, and its returns -- rather than just imposing fiduciary duty on the employer and hoping they're willing to do so." (The Brookings Institution)  

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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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