Retirement Plans Newsletter

March 11, 2016 logo logo LinkedIn logo Twitter logo Facebook logo
Get Health & Welfare News | Advertise | Previous Issues | Search

Employee Benefits Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

Cancer Care Management: Employer Best Practices & Programs that Support Patients, Families & ROI
March 16, 2016 in IL
(Midwest Business Group on Health)

13th Annual Employee Benefits Symposium: Emerging Issues under the Affordable Care Act
April 8, 2016 in IL
(John Marshall Law School)

2016 DOL Fiduciary Rule Summit: Managing Challenges and Finding Opportunities
May 3, 2016 in MA
(LIMRA LOMA Secure Retirement Institute)

Are Health Population Programs Worth It?
May 11, 2016 WEBCAST
(Conference of Consulting Actuaries)

Essentials of Multiemployer Trust Fund Administration
July 6, 2017 in WI
(International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])

View All Webcasts and Conferences


Subscribe Now to This Newsletter (free)

We also publish the BenefitsLink Health & Welfare Plans Newsletter (free): Subscribe Now

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Guidance Reflects Shift to Audits from Reviewing Plan Documents (PDF)
"It appears that the IRS has begun channeling its resources to audits rather than reviewing retirement plan documents. As part of this refocus, the IRS has issued four pieces of guidance on determination letters. The guidance: [1] eliminates the five-year remedial amendment cycle system for individually designed plans.... [2] means expiration dates on determination letters issued before Jan. 4, 2016, are no longer operative; [3] decreases Voluntary Correction Program fees in certain cases; and [4] increases determination letter application fees in some circumstances." (ERISAdiagnostics, Inc.)  


401(k) Answer Book, 2016 Edition

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

When participants, sponsors, or service providers ask you questions, this book has the answers. Covers 401(k) plan design, testing, reporting and disclosure, plan termination, investment topics and regulatory guidance. Use code BENEFIT20 for 20% discount.

New EPCU Project: Non-Governmental 457(b) Plans Excess Deferrals Project
"Why did I receive an EPCU compliance check letter? [Answer:] Our records show that you maintain a non-governmental 457(b) plan and you filed a Form W-2 for 2013 showing contributions to the plan exceeding $17,500 for any participant.... Our project goals are to verify that the plans comply with contribution limits and to recommend possible ways to remove any barriers to compliance. We'll correspond with plan sponsors to solicit information about their plan contributions. We'll focus on the following items: verify that the deferrals reported on Forms W-2 are accurate and determine if catch-up contribution calculations are compliant. In instances where a plan is not established or operated in accordance with IRC Section 457(b), we will inform the sponsor of our conclusions and actions that may need to be taken as a result." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])  

New EPCU Project: Favorable Letter/Non-Filer Project
"Why did I receive an EPCU Compliance Check Letter? [Answer:] Your sponsored plan received a Favorable Determination Letter (FDL) but a Form 5500 series return was not filed for your plan.... A review of Form 5500 series returns showed that there are plans that received a FDL but did not file a Form 5500 series return. Plans subject to ERISA are required to file an annual Form 5500 series return. Non-ERISA Plans covering a 100% business owner or one or more partners, and their spouses are required to file a Form 5500-EZ if their year-end assets are greater than $250,000." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])  

New EPCU Project: Sole Proprietor Participation Project
"Why did I receive an EPCU compliance check letter? [Answer:] Our Form 5500-series return records, when compared to Form 1040, Schedule C, show that you have not been contributing to your qualified plan on behalf of employees.... The Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) wants to [determine] whether you have employees who meet your plan's eligibility requirements for plan participation and if our records reflect accurate information." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])  

Ex-DOL Official: 'Legitimate Grounds' Exist for Litigation Over Fiduciary Rule
"The Office of Management and Budget is holding its final meeting today on the [DOL]'s fiduciary rule. That means 'theoretically, the regulation could come out as soon as next week,' said Bradford Campbell, former assistant secretary of labor for employee benefits. 'I think in reality it'll be closer to the end of the month.' ... While the rule is going to be published, that doesn't mean it is going into effect, Campbell said. Legislative action isn't likely to work, he added, but grounds for successful litigation exist." (  


The Ultimate Retirement Professional Conference Experience

Sponsored by ASPPA

Limited travel budget? Let ASPPA bring the conference to you. Register for one of four ASPPA Regional conferences - Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati, or Philadelphia! We'll get you up to speed without the travel.

IRS Compliance Projects Focus on Filing Errors on Form 5500 Series and Form 5330
"The newest projects listed on the IRS's Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) webpage are compliance checks that focus on data errors identified on Forms 5500 and 5330. The EPCU's compliance check program involves contacting plan sponsors by letter to resolve recordkeeping, reporting, and other issues without an audit." (Thomson Reuters / EBIA)  

So You Hired an ERISA Section 3(38) Fiduciary... Now What?
"Engaging a 3(38) investment manager transfers the responsibility and risk associated with the selection and monitoring of the plan's investment options. It is critical, however, that plan sponsors realize that even with an appropriately structured 3(38) arrangement, such sponsors 'still have the responsibility to monitor their 3(38) and be aware of the ERISA-related liability associated with hiring, monitoring, and, if needed, replacing them' ... [Here] is a handful of questions to consider when creating a framework to monitor a 3(38) investment manager[.]" (CAPTRUST Financial Advisors)  

New Compliance Questions in IRS Form 5500 Warrant Screening Reviews of 401(k) Plans During 2016
"When plan sponsors and plan administrators are eventually required to respond to these new questions, their responses could highlight plan compliance issues ... and could lead to follow-up investigations from the IRS. The new questions are helpful guidance for ... plan sponsors to make certain their ... plans, especially 401(k) and 403(b) plans, are in compliance." (Littler)  

How to Open the Door to the Roth 401(k) Savings Opportunity (PDF)
"For many employees, Roth 401(k) contributions are a smart move toward strengthening retirement readiness, yet they remain markedly underused. Employers should consider providing the option, educating employees on its value and providing a good modeling tool to help plan participants make the Roth decision. Doing so could both increase overall 401(k) participation and lead employees to save more for retirement -- which would help the enterprise meet organizational goals by maintaining high employee engagement and productivity levels and reducing talent-related risk." (Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS])  

DC Participants' Growth Bets Pay Off in the Short Term
"In the short term, the tilt to growth has benefited defined contribution plan participants.... Over the long term, growth investments have meaningfully lagged value investments. For the 20-year period ended Dec. 31, 2015, value stocks outperformed growth stocks by 107 basis points. One could question whether participants are capable of tactically moving between growth and value or should be given only core options." (Pensions & Investments)  

SOA Multiemployer Pension Plan Contribution Analysis, 2009-2014 (PDF)
25 pages. "The system's aggregate contributions increased on average 6.9% per year, significantly outpacing the average inflation rate of 2.1% per year. At the same time, contributions for a large percentage of plans were insufficient to prevent their unfunded liabilities from growing, let alone to close their funding gaps.... For 2009, aggregate contributions were 8.75 times the aggregate [minimum required contributions (MRCs)], and contributions for 94% of plans exceeded their MRCs. By 2013, aggregate contributions were twice the aggregate MRC, and contributions for 89% of plans exceeded their MRCs." (Society of Actuaries)  

An Employee Benefits Expert Navigates Her First RMD
"In honor of turning age 70-1/2 this year, I am calculating my first required minimum distribution (RMD). This turns out to be more complicated than I expected. I have nine IRAs. Which ones do and do not require me to take a distribution for this year? What is the prior year-end balance I'm supposed to divide my 'applicable distribution period' into? I'm beginning to have more sympathy for the clients." (Natalie Choate, in Morningstar Advisor)  

Profiles in Benefits: Paul Secunda of Marquette University Law School
"If it hadn't been for clerking for a federal district court judge after law school where he handled his first ERISA case, Paul M. Secunda wouldn't have eventually landed in Australia as a Fulbright scholar to study the nation's retirement system. Secunda, a law professor at Marquette University, who was chairman of the ERISA Advisory Council in 2015, said that he hadn't taken any classes in employee benefits while in law school.... His interest in labor law and ERISA has taken him on a long journey with various stops ... [H]is current research projects ultimately come back to the same theme: How to confront the challenges people face as they work toward their retirement." (Bloomberg BNA)  

What Obstacles are Stopping Women from Saving for Retirement?
"Female respondents cited high credit card debt, not earning enough money and high cost of living as main deterrents to setting money aside for retirement.... [W]hile men pointed to the same set of hurdles, their concern did not rise to the same level[.] ... Armed with this insight, advisors can work with plan sponsors to help women and other concerned participant groups better understand the tools they have at their disposal." (Asset Strategy Advisors)  

Social Security: A Key Retirement Source for Women (PDF)
"One-quarter of women ages 65 and older rely on Social Security for nearly all of their family income. In 2014, Social Security kept one-third of older women out of poverty, yet they still are more likely to be in poverty than older men. Married and widowed women are more likely to have income from Social Security than divorced or never-married women." (AARP)  


Connecticut Coverage Mandate Could Affect Employers with ERISA-Covered Retirement Plans
"Under the Connecticut program, an employer would not need to enroll employees who are already participating in their ERISA-based plan in the state savings program. However, it would require that all employees who meet [certain] criteria either be enrolled in the Connecticut state savings program or be included in coverage of an existing ERISA-qualified plan -- even employees who are not required to be covered under ERISA.... The American Retirement Association needs your help in contacting members of the Connecticut legislature to let them know that this is a bad idea." (American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA])  


A Multi-Billion Dollar Shot in the Dark
"The [DOL] announced it would assemble a panel to collect data on how 'retirement planning strategies and decisions evolve over time' ... [stating,] 'Relatively little is known about how people make planning and financial decisions before and during retirement. A major hurdle to retirement research is the lack of data on how people make these decisions related to retirement.' Seems odd. An initiative to 'gain insight' into how people make retirement decisions comes a full 10 months after the Department released its latest proposal that would drastically alter retirement planning and have significant consequences for working families." (Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives)  

Press Releases

Connect   LinkedIn logo   Twitter logo   Facebook logo, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 644-4146

Lois Baker, J.D., President <>
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher <>
Holly Horton, Business Manager <>

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.

Links to web sites other than and are offered as a service to our readers; we were not involved in their production and are not responsible for their content.

Privacy Policy