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Webcasts and Conferences

Documenting Hardships Distributions and Participant Loans
(FIS Relius Education)

Service Contracts for Flexible Benefit Plans - Contracting Strategies
February 10, 2016 WEBCAST
(ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation])

New Bermuda Triangle: Navigating the Treacherous Waters of FMLA, Disability and Other Overlapping Leaves of Absence
February 10, 2016 in WV
(Littler Mendelson)

New Comparability Plans: The Potential Detrimental Impact of IRS-Proposed Regulations
February 22, 2016 WEBCAST
(ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries])

Whatís in Store for FSAs, HSAs, HRAs and Flex under the Leading Health Care Proposals?
March 9, 2016 WEBCAST
(ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation])

Telemedicine - Fad or the Future of Healthcare?
March 17, 2016 WEBCAST
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB])

View All Webcasts and Conferences


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[Guidance Overview]

Welcome Relief Regarding Mid-Year Changes to Safe Harbor Plans and Safe Harbor Notices (PDF)
"The relief applies to both traditional and qualified automatic contribution arrangement (QACA) safe harbor plans, and is effective immediately. Notice 2016-16 supplements and significantly expands existing IRS guidance and also provides clarity regarding the process of making mid -- year changes to safe harbor plans and safe harbor notices. The guidance also applies to 403(b) safe harbor plans." (Ascensus)  


Now is a great time to join Worldwide Employee Benefits Network (WEB)

Sponsored by WEB - Worldwide Employee Benefits Network

WEB members represent more than 25 professions and 30 areas of expertise within the pension and benefits industry-including administrators, consultants, attorneys, accountants, investment managers, communications experts and benefits managers. Join today.

Text of All Comment Letters on DOL Proposed Regs for Savings Arrangements Established by States for Non-Governmental Employees
67 letters; comment period closed Jan. 19, 2016. (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])  

New York City Mayor Wants City-Run Retirement System for Private Employees
"De Blasio, a Democrat, will reveal that he wants the city to become the first in the country to offer a retirement system to private employees. While better paid jobs offer individual savings plans, they are not always on offer to lower income workers.... The mayor's plan would allow any New Yorker working at a business with ten or more employees to automatically enroll in an employee-funded retirement plan." (Reuters)  

What Retirement Plan Sponsors Value Most from Financial Advisors (PDF)
28 pages. "Plan sponsors prefer to work with plan advisors who emphasize employee education, good customer service and reducing plan costs as core to their value proposition. Among those already working with an advisor, fiduciary support trumps cost on this list. Plan sponsors with $25 to $75 million in assets have broader needs. They look for advisors who emphasize reduced costs, advice on plan design, investment selection, help with other benefits and fiduciary support." (MassMutual)  

Building a Better Process for Target Date Fund Selection (PDF)
"Evaluating which target-date funds to offer in a DC plan investment lineup can be equated to building a house -- with a good foundation (a stable asset manager), frame (asset allocation), roof (glidepath) and walls (underlying funds)." (benefits Magazine, published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])  

Participant Preferences in Target Date Funds: Findings, Insights and Opportunities (PDF)
12 pages. "TDF users report contributing more to their accounts than non-users -- a median of 2% more of income.... Even knowledgeable users, however, seem not to fully understand the diversification benefits of TDFs: significant numbers of them use other funds to diversify away from the TDF, though in most cases that is not necessary. Less than one-sixth of survey respondents said they put 100% of their contributions into the plan's TDF; the mean value was 47% of contributions." (Voya Investment Management)  

Will Plan Participants' Demands for Perfection Retire Large 401(k) Plans?
"If selecting even a marginally more expensive investment option opens the door to liability, that marginal expense can add up to a crushing damages award when multiplied across the entire plan. Anthem's plan is one of the largest in the United States, and has more than 59,000 participants with account balances. Would-be plaintiffs seem to be increasingly aware of this vulnerability, and cases like Bell v. Anthem could become more common as participants stake their bets on defendants' willingness to settle for cents on the dollar, rather than take their chances in litigation." (Cozen O'Connor, via Lexology)  

Supreme Court Reaffirms That Plaintiffs in ERISA Stock Drop Cases Have Two Big Hurdles
"[In] Amgen, the United States Supreme Court has made it clear that it is not backing away from the high standard it set in Fifth Third. Employee-stockholders who allege that continuing to invest in employer stock that is losing significant value is a breach of the duty of prudence must allege facts that speak to both prongs of the new standard: an alternative to continuing to invest that will not violate securities laws, and that a prudent fiduciary in the same position would conclude that the alternative would at least break even on the harm versus good scale." (Findley Davies)  

DOL Fiduciary Rule: Will Banks Kiss Their House Products Good-Bye?
"Banks have indeed been shedding proprietary products for at least a decade, citing their inability to match the economies of scale, resources and risk distribution capabilities of large mutual fund providers.... For the holdouts still hanging on to their mutual fund businesses, however, the DOL's proposed fiduciary rule may give them the final push they need to let those businesses go ... They don't want any perceived conflicts of interest stemming from the sale of in-house funds." (On Wall Street)  

Survey of Principal Features of Multiemployer Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
"Given the increasing importance of defined contribution plans in helping to ensure participants' 'retirement readiness' as a supplement to a defined benefit pension plan, trustees may want to benchmark their fund's annuity plan, which can be either a profit-sharing plan or a money-purchase pension plan, against Segal's client database." (Segal Consulting)  

Sixth Circuit Denies Equitable Relief for Employer Liability Upon Union-Mandated Withdrawals from Multiemployer Plan (PDF)
"The withdrawal assessment exceeds half of Rubber Associates' annual sales in 2009, 2010, and 2011 ... The parties agree that a complete withdrawal has happened in this case, and that ERISA and the MPPAA require a contributing employer to pay withdrawal liability upon its exit from a multiemployer pension plan. The parties disagree, however, on whether we should create federal common law under ERISA to carve out special liability rules for contributing employers which are forced out of pension funds due to union-mandated withdrawal.... Allowing employers to reduce or eliminate their withdrawal liability even when faced with a union-mandated withdrawal is not essential to the promotion of fundamental ERISA policies." [United Food and Commercial Workers Union-Employer Pension Fund v. Rubber Assoc., Inc., No. 15-3434 (6th Cir. Feb. 4, 2016)] (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit)  

Reducing the Chances of Auditor-Related Problems
"[The authors have] prepared a six question Employee Benefit Plan Auditor Due Diligence Checklist that you can download and send to your audit firm or any firm you may be considering.... You need to look for indications of potential problem areas such as: [1] Lack of experience in the EBP audit arena; [2] Negative or absent peer reviews DOL findings or referrals based on 'Unacceptable' filings; [3] Lack of significant EBP-specific training for partners and staff; [4] Not being a member of AICPA's Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center." (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)  

The End of Old: Boomers Bring New Meaning to 'Active Retirement'
"The face of aging will never be the same, as 78 million Americans approaching retirement, and millions more overseas, transform how we live, work and invest ... 71% of pre-retirees expect to work during their retirement years ... Entrepreneurism among older people is also projected to rise; already, people in their fifties and sixties start nearly twice the number of companies as those launched by twentysomethings ... Statistically speaking, people who are in or nearing traditional 'retirement age' can expect to live longer than any previous generation. Whereas earlier generations could rely on savings, company pensions and Social Security, you now must plan virtually every aspect of your own retirement." (Merrill Lynch)  


The Very Big Thing That's Missing from the President's New 401(k) Proposals
"The President ... thinks the costs of 401(k) plans are prohibiting employer participation. But this is wrong. This is not a cost thing. It's an education thing. Many [small companies] who do not offer these plans are not aware of how easy and inexpensive they are to setup. They are busy people and have many other things to worry about. And many ... who do offer these plans have low participation rates because their employees aren't educated about the benefits." (Gene Marks, in The Huffington Post)  

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Text of all Comment Letters on DOL Proposed Regs for Disability Benefit Claims Procedures
143 comment letters; comment period closed Jan. 19, 2016. "Many comment letters were submitted with medical or personal health information. To preserve the substance of the comment letters, the Department did not redact the medical or personal health information, but instead removed personally identifiable information (such as name, address and other contact information) from these letters to protect the privacy of commenters and other named individuals." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])  

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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