Retirement Plans Newsletter

May 10, 2016

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Benefits Implementation Project Manager
Willis Towers Watson
in Telecommute

Retirement Plan Administrator
Bates & Company
in FL

Senior Actuarial Consultant
Nyhart
in TX

Temporary Benefits Services Specialist
Stanford University
in CA

Actuarial Analyst
Nyhart
in IN

Business Development / Account Executive
Fred S. Shapiro & Associates, Inc.
in MD

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Webcasts and Conferences

Future of the Individual and Small Group Markets Forum
May 18, 2016 in DC
(Health Affairs)

IRA Basics
June 14, 2016 WEBCAST
(Ascensus)

2016 Legislative & Regulatory Updates
June 14, 2016 WEBCAST
(ECFC [Employers Council on Flexible Compensation])

Final Answers: The Supreme Court ERISA and Litigation Decisions
July 12, 2016 WEBCAST
(ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB])

Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities
August 18, 2016 in NJ
(Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor)

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DOL Fiduciary Rule's Conflict-of-Interest Split Personality
"Although the new Rule clearly intends to discourage and reduce the use of self-dealing conflict-of-interest fees, the DOL did make some significant concessions to industry lobbyists.... [In] 'certain circumstances,' the DOL now requires some form of written disclosure in order to use or continue to use some proprietary products.... In general, different types of situations will demand its own form of disclosure in order to mitigate the service provider's fiduciary liability.... For individual retirement savers and plan sponsors alike, the complexity of the Rule might make it more difficult to determine if and when they are being presented with optimal solutions." (Fiduciary News)  


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Assessing ERISA Risks from ESOPs: Fifth Circuit Clobbers Founder of Closely-Held Company
"When the owner of a closely-held company sells stock to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), there are numerous valuation, fiduciary, and conflict of interest issues that could explode into ERISA liability. Imagine having ESOP participants recover damages equal to 33% of the amount the ESOP paid for the founder's shares.... [A recent 5th Circuit] decision provides warning signs for companies with ESOPs and owners who sell shares to ESOPs -- and for those performing diligence before they buy or invest in companies that sponsor ESOPs." [Perez v. Bruister, No. 14-60811 (5th Cir. May 3, 2016)] (Paul Hastings LLP)  

Retirement Plan Record Retention -- Whose Job Is It Anyway? (PDF)
"[T]he 9th Circuit [recently] held that the burden of proof shifts to the employer ... when a claimant has made a prima facie case that he is entitled to a benefit but lacks access to key information that the [employer] controls.... [R]ecords for retirement plans should be kept until all benefits have been paid, the trust has been dissolved and sufficient time has passed such that the plan will not be the subject of an audit." [Estate of Barton v. ADT Security Serv. Pension Plan, No. 13-56379 (9th Cir. Apr. 21, 2016)] (ERISAdiagnostics, Inc.)  

Plan Participation Problems? No Problem
"Employees are more likely to participate today when they understand the cost of delay and when certain plan features are offered.... The worst thing you can do is throw a bunch of forms and packets at your employees and talk at them for an hour. This can make 401k participation seem intimidating and not worth the trouble. You want to make enrollment simple and brief, but still effective and thorough enough to encourage participation." (Employee Fiduciary)  

Central States: Rescue Petition Denial Faulty, Avoidable
"Thomas C. Nyhan, executive director and general counsel of the [Central States Pension Fund], challenged the [Treasury] department's conclusions that the multiemployer pension plan's proposal wasn't based on 'reasonable investment assumptions' and that its notices to participants weren't 'understandable to the average plan participant.'... The fund surveyed its participants and found that 73 percent of those responding said the information in the notices was 'clear and easy to understand,' he said. Nyhan said if 'Treasury had told us that they considered the notice to be unsatisfactory, we would have gladly mailed out a revised notice. It clearly didn't take Treasury 224 days to come to that conclusion.' " (Bloomberg BNA)  


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Pension Plan Funded Status Drops Due to Interest Rate Declines in Q1 2016 (PDF)
"During the first quarter of 2016, the funded status of the model pension plan ... decreased by 4 percentage points: from 83 percent to 79 percent. This decline was the result of a 3 percent asset increase and a 9 percent liability increase during the quarter ... The decrease in the yield curve level during Q1 2016 resulted in a decline in the effective interest rate and, consequently, increased the model pension plan's liability by about 9 percent." (Sibson Consulting)  

Corporate Pension Funding Falls on Second-Lowest Discount Rate Since 2001
"Year-to-date through April 30, the discount rate is down 51 basis points. January 2015 marked the lowest discount rate since ... 2001 at 3.14%.... If the pension funds achieve a median 7.2% asset return and the discount rate remains at 3.65%, the funding ratio would increase to 78.2% by the end of this year and 80% by the end of 2017[.]" (Pensions & Investments)  

Connecticut Governor Will Veto Retirement Security Bill as It Now Stands
"[Connecticut] Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ... intends to veto a controversial bill that would create a retirement savings program for private sector workers unless the legislation is changed in an upcoming special session of the General Assembly.... As passed, the bill gives the authority to hire a single vendor to manage the retirement fund ... the [governor's office] has expressed concern about the impact of that provision on both consumer choice and the state's financial services industry." (Hartford Courant)  

Maryland Launches Private-Sector Retirement Program
"The Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program and Trust, scheduled to take effect July 1, creates mandated payroll deduction individual retirement accounts for employees of small businesses and an 11-member board to implement and administer the program.... [Employees] who work at least 30 hours per week for private-sector employers with 10 or more employees will contribute 3% of wages, but employees can opt out of the program." (Pensions & Investments)  

[Opinion]

Adjust the 4% Rule Enough and You Might End Up with Something as Good as the Actuarial Approach
"Charles Schwab recently released their guidance regarding how much a retiree can spend each year ... The authors provide a chart of recommended withdrawal rates based on time horizons, allocations and confidence levels....[D]ifferences in withdrawal rates resulting from different combinations of asset allocations confidence levels are much smaller than differences resulting from different time horizons. In fact, ... for most combinations of asset allocations and confidence levels, the differences are almost negligible for the same time horizon." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)  

Press Releases

Alman Partners Pty Ltd is Certified for Fiduciary Excellence
Centre for Fiduciary Excellence [CEFEX]

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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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