Retirement Plans Newsletter

June 20, 2016

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[Guidance Overview]

What Does the DOL Fiduciary Regulatory Package Really Mean for Advisors?
11 pages. "[F]iduciary status does not apply retroactively, so what will that mean for your existing business? ... [D]istribution model structures for making investment recommendations to small-plan sponsors can take on a variety of new forms. What should you consider? ... [W]hat's a reasonable fee? How to best work with other fiduciaries, wholesalers and service providers ...[W]hat should you consider when making investment recommendations?" (Groom Law Group, for Principal Financial Group)  


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Text of PBGC Projections Report, FY 2015
55 pages. "PBGC's multiemployer program remains likely to use up all of its assets by the end of 2025. The program, which covers roughly one-quarter of private sector defined benefit pension participants, continues to have deficits ... much larger than those of the single-employer program. Different estimates of the number of plans that will undertake benefit suspensions or request financial assistance through partition or facilitated merger affect the projected program deficits, but have only a small effect on the date of program insolvency. New results for PBGC's single-employer program are broadly consistent with findings of the prior year's report -- the financial status of the program is likely to improve, potentially reaching net surplus over the 10-year projection period." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])  

Text of PBGC Report to Congress on Sufficiency of Premiums Under MPRA
25 pages. "Projected premiums at the MPRA legislated rates ... become insufficient to pay average projected financial assistance obligations during FY 2024.... The range of potential [premium] increases is wide, ranging from 59 percent to 85 percent for 10 year solvency and from 363 percent to 552 percent for 20 year solvency.... A well designed [premium] increase may encourage additional contributions, encourage continued participation in plans, and strengthen the multiemployer system. A poorly designed premium increase may encourage employer withdrawals and accelerate plan insolvency with a resulting cost to plan participants and a need for even larger premiums." (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC])  

Under New Fiduciary Rule, DOL Has Reason to Pay Attention to Reverse Churning
"[The DOL's] 1,000-plus page fiduciary rule makes only one obscure reference to 'reverse churning.' ... The SEC and Finra have had this regulatory matter on their radar for years.... In a nutshell, reverse churning occurs when an adviser places client assets in an advisory account, charges an ongoing management fee, and gets paid for doing little or nothing thereafter." (InvestmentNews)  

403(b) and the Fiduciary Rule
"Arguably, the plan participants most exposed to inappropriate product placement are those in public school plans. Yet, these participants are excluded from much of the fiduciary rule's protections ... More complicated is establishing the manner in which the Fiduciary Rule and its related Best Interest Contract Exemption apply to the significant chunks of the 403(b) marketplace where the individual, not the plan, controls the plan investments, and where the participant is much more like an IRA investor." (Business of Benefits)  


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Fiduciary Rule Opponents Take Their Fight to the Courts
"[F]ive different lawsuits [have been] filed against the [DOL].... The complaints pull in several federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution, alleging violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, the Federal Arbitration Act and violations of the First and Fifth Amendments. One thing every complaint has in common is the issue of fixed index annuities." (Bloomberg BNA)  

Different People Different Choices (PDF)
"Deciding when to stop working and when to start claiming Social Security benefits are two of the most important financial decisions you will make. These actions do not have to occur at the same time. Social Security is ... one of the few sources of income you (and your spouse, if you are married) can count on for as long as you live.... The individual scenarios and claiming decisions detailed [in this article] may help you to consider your options." (National Academy of Social Insurance [NASI])  

Orange County, California, Grand Jury Recommends Replacing Pension Plan with DC or Hybrid
"The report ... said the county should 'conduct a thorough analysis including the financial impact' of implementing a defined contribution or a hybrid plan ... Other recommendations include that the county should oppose OCERS' relaxing any of its actuarial assumptions and that OCERS should reduce the pension plan's unfunded liabilities in order to reach a funded status of 80% from its current level of 70%." (Pensions & Investments)  

[Opinion]

Statement by House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman on PBGC Multiemployer Pension Reports
"The bipartisan Multiemployer Pension Reform Act provides the tools necessary to save plans from insolvency and protect retirees from losing everything. When trustees are denied the opportunity to use those tools, the risk to workers, taxpayers, and retirees grows greater. [The PBGC report] is a reminder of the urgent need to enact additional reforms to strengthen multiemployer pensions, reforms that would modernize the system for workers and provide PBGC additional resources to meet its obligations." (Rep. John Kline [R-MN], Chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives)  

Benefits in General

2016 SHRM Employee Benefits Report (PDF)
88 pages. "From 2015 to 2016, three out of five organizations (60%) report that their benefits offerings have remained the same, one-third (33%) report an increase and 7% a decrease in benefits -- similar to changes from 2014 to 2015. Compared with five years ago, more organizations are offering monetary bonus benefits ... Looking back 20 years, telecommuting benefits have seen a threefold increase, from 20% of organizations offering the benefit in 1996 to 60% in 2016." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])  

Will the 'Gig' Workforce Drive New Normal for Benefits?
"Consider the next generation of workers -- digitally savvy kids who see the global grid as their toy. Pair that with two more trends -- an increasingly global labor pool and the aging baby boomer population interested in retirement on their own terms. What does this mean as we think about the future workforce and a possible 'new normal' for benefits?" (Mercer/Signal)  

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
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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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