Retirement Plans Newsletter

June 10, 2016

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[Guidance Overview]

The Final Fiduciary Rule's Impact on Investment Managers (PDF)
"Although the biggest impact of the Fiduciary Rule will fall on brokers and [RIAs] who give individualized non-discretionary advice in the 'retail' marketplace, discretionary investment managers in the 'institutional' space will also be affected ... [T]he Fiduciary Rule may be relevant to: [1] An RIA seeking to enter into an investment management agreement directly with an ERISA Plan to manage a separate account portfolio; [2] The manager of a private fund that is open to investment by ERISA plans -- regardless of whether the fund will hold ERISA 'plan assets'; and [3] The manager of a private fund that is open to investment by IRAs -- including friends and family and employee IRAs (unless all fees will be waived)." (Groom Law Group)  


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Securing Our Financial Future: Report of the Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings (PDF)
152 pages. Recommendations include: "[A] new, streamlined option called Retirement Security Plans that would allow small employers to transfer most responsibilities for operating a retirement savings plan to a third-party expert, while still maintaining strong employee protections.... [E]ase the process for transferring savings from plan to plan, because many pre-retirement withdrawals occur upon job separation.... [E]arly-withdrawal rules and penalties for workplace plans and [IRAs] should be harmonized by raising IRA standards.... [I]ntegrate sophisticated but easy-to-use lifetime-income features within retirement savings plans.... [Adjust] Social Security's tax and benefit levels to [1] reflect changing demographics; [2] better target benefits on those who are most vulnerable in old age ... [3] preserve reasonable intra- and inter-generational equity; and [4] more fairly reward work." (Bipartisan Policy Center)  

Two More Lawsuits Filed Against the DOL Fiduciary Rule
"The Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company, Midland National Life Insurance Company and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance filed a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas... [I]nsurance agency Market Synergy Group filed a separate claim in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. It seeks an injunction to stop the rule." (InvestmentNews)  

Carriers Join Fourth Lawsuit Against DOL Over Fiduciary Rule
"The Indexed Annuity Leadership Council filed a fourth lawsuit today against the [DOL] and Secretary Thomas Perez over its controversial fiduciary rule. It is the first lawsuit featuring carriers as plaintiffs.... Like the other lawsuits, the 33-page IALC complaint alleges that the DOL lacks the statutory authority to promulgate the rule, violated the First Amendment and acted in an 'arbitrary and capricious' manner." [Indexed Annuity Leadership Council et al. v. Perez, No. 16-cv-01537 (N.D. Tex. filed June 8, 2016)] (InsuranceNewsNet.com)  

Insurance Marketing Organizations Feel DOL's Freezer Burn
"Marketing organizations manage thousands of independent insurance agents, which are the primary channel for fixed indexed annuities. FIAs have outsold all other categories of fixed annuities for many years. More than $53 billion in fixed annuities were sold last year. How can regulators barely address the primary sales channel for a product line that generated $53 billion in sales last year, FMO managers wonder?" (InsuranceNewsNet.com)  


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Time to Offer a Lump Sum Distribution Window in Your Corporate Pension Plan? (PDF)
"For all but very well-funded plans, the variable rate premium is the largest portion of the total premium and, based on the same level of unfunded liability, is projected to increase over 80% from 2015 to 2019. However, there is a variable rate per participant premium cap that is based on the headcount of the plan.... [L]owering the headcount, such as through lump sum windows, would lower both the variable rate premium and the per participant premium[.]" (Ekon Benefits)  

DOL Focuses in on Plan Auditors ... and Their Clients
"DOL's point is that the plan administrator (read 'plan sponsor' because that's almost always who it is) is the one who is responsible to ensure that the plan auditor is competent and that the audit, report and filings are accurate.... What DOL's report says is that it intends to target plans whose auditor does fewer than 100 audits per year, which is about 99% of audit firms.... The November emails look ... like the first step in what could be a significant enforcement effort." (Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC)  

Verizon Retirees Score Victory in Fight for Their Pensions
"The plaintiffs in the Pundt case are the 50,000 plan participants who remain in Verizon's pension plan after the annuity deal. They argue that they should get standing ... over Verizon's alleged mismanagement of the plan as a result of the annuity purchase, even though they can't prove actual or imminent harm because their benefits are not currently impaired." [Pundt v. Verizon Comm., No. 15-785 (S. Ct. cert. pet. granted May 23, 2016)] (Institutional Investor)  

[Opinion]

American Benefits Council Testimony to ERISA Advisory Council on Participant Plan Transfers and Consolidation for the Advancement of Lifetime Plan Participation
"[P]otential solutions that [would] support the DOL's desire to achieve greater lifetime participation in employer DC plans [include:] [1] Modify fiduciary rule to broaden (or clarify) exception for employees of the employer (plan sponsor) ... [2] Create incentives for rollovers without a current determination letter ... [3] Encourage 401k plan sponsorship, including open-MEPs, rather than State-Run Auto IRAs." (American Benefits Council)  

Benefits in General

Form 5500 Preparation: Ten Quick Considerations (PDF)
"Use the correct plan name and plan sponsor name ... Obtain appropriate proof of the Form 5500 filing ... [Perform] a close review of the audit reports in addition to the Form 5500 itself ... Properly identify, report, and correct late deposits ... Was a Form 8955-SSA appropriately prepared? ... Are you filing for all plans that must file, such as flexible savings accounts and/or health reimbursement accounts? Have 'top hat' statements been filed with the DOL to avoid filing Form 5500s for any nonqualified deferred compensation plans?" (The ERISA Law Group)  

Press Releases

AHIP Board of Directors Announces Chairs for 2017, 2018
Americaís Health Insurance Plans [AHIP]

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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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