Retirement Plans Newsletter

September 6, 2016

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Webcasts and Conferences

Whatís new with ASCís Gemini Web Portal
September 8, 2016 WEBCAST
ASC

Final Fiduciary Regulations and the Impact on Employers
September 22, 2016 in OH
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Cleveland Chapter

Leveraging Advanced Data Analytics to Decrease Healthcare Costs While Improving Care
September 27, 2016 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

Evolution of IRS Retirement Plan Programs: Determination Letters and EPCRS
October 19, 2016 WEBCAST
New York City Bar Association

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[Official Guidance]

Text of 2017 Draft Instructions for IRS Form 5300 (PDF)
"The form and instructions have undergone major revisions in format and information required ... Many of the revisions reflect the changes affecting individually designed plans described in Rev. Proc. 2016-37... including [1] eliminating 5-year remedial amendment cycles, and [2] generally limiting determination letter (DL) requests to initial plan qualification and qualification on plan termination ... and [3] allowing sponsors to submit requests for determinations on partial termination regardless of their ability to request DLs on their plan document. Many other changes are intended to reduce burden on filers."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Advert.]

PDS - Support You Can Count On

Sponsored by Plan Document Systems

Now offering plan document solutions and transition assistance to McKay Hochman customers. Contact us at 1-888-333-PLAN or visit us at www.pdsdocs.com to learn more about what we can offer that other document providers cannot.


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Relaxes Retirement Plan Rules for Louisiana Flood Victims (PDF)
"This relief goes beyond the normal disaster relief extensions and mimics the extra relief announced in 2012 for Hurricane Sandy victims. The relief provides relaxed standards for processing hardship withdrawals and plan loans and allows more time to adopt plan amendments, if appropriate. It does not open the door to loans or withdrawals from amounts that are inaccessible for hardship withdrawal such as QNEC and QMAC accounts and income accumulated on elective deferrals. It also does not provide relief from the 10% penalty on premature distributions prior to age 59-1/2."
Xerox HR Services

[Guidance Overview]

The DOL's Final Conflict of Interest Rule, Part 5
"Section 2(d) of the BIC exemption requires policies and procedures reasonably designed to ensure that advisers follow the impartial conduct standards. However, the regulations do not specify exactly what these policies and procedures must contain. Instead, they set out 'overarching standards,' allowing each financial institution to develop policies and procedures that are effective for its unique business but that still ensure that its advisers remain in compliance.... The substance of these required policies and procedures is aimed at two primary subsets of requirements: compensation structure and supervisory structure."
Greensfelder

[Guidance Overview]

Quiz Yourself on the State-Run Retirement Initiatives
"Following the news ... that the [DOL has] finalized a rule on state-run retirement saving programs for private sector workers and that the California state legislature has passed a bill approving implementation of the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, here's a chance to test how up-to-date you are on the state of state-run retirement initiatives."
Russell Investments

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Says Employees of Disregarded Single-Member LLC May Participate in Parent's 403(b) and 457(b) Plans
"[GCM 201634021] provides that employees of a single-member LLC treated as a disregarded entity must be allowed to participate in a section 403(b) plan sponsored by its parent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The LLC may also be allowed to participate in a 457(b) plan sponsored by such a parent."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Advert.]

Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans - Sept. 28 webinar

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

This webinar will provide a comprehensive overview of safe harbor 401(k) plans, including various design options, notice and contribution requirements, automatic contribution arrangements, plus common mistakes and how to fix them.


Has Your Plan Paid All Benefits Due In 2015? The IRS and DOL are Asking
"The 2015 instructions for one of the Schedule H questions have changed.... While most [practitioners] thought this Question 4I would prompt an obvious 'no' answer, this instruction change highlights an area that is coming under [IRS] and [DOL] scrutiny. Recent DOL and IRS examinations have revealed issues associated with plan sponsors not identifying the age 70-1/2 terminated, vested participants."
Lindquist LLP

No Change for 2014 SOA Mortality Report in 2017 IRS Mortality Tables (PDF)
"The Treasury Department and the IRS continue to consider comments received about revising the mortality table base, including those on the Society of Actuaries (SOA) RP-2014 Mortality Report, and expect to issue proposed regulations revising the base mortality rates and projection factors. However, to give time for notice and comment on the proposed regulations, the new rules will not apply until 2018."
Xerox HR Services

Pensions with Purpose: Focusing on Improved Governance
21 pages. "[M]ore than 9 in 10 funds will upgrade at least one aspect of their governance approach in 2016.... Leading pension funds may be able to enhance long-term outcomes for their members by upgrading their risk management capabilities and governance frameworks to support potentially value-added investment opportunities including allocations to more complex assets."
State Street Corporation

Update Your 401(k) Education Sessions Using These Facts
"What retirees wish they would have known: ... Saved more consistently ... Been more knowledgeable ... Started too late ... Received more advice ... Greatest retiree misperceptions: ... I can work as long as I want ... I won't have to work in retirement ... I will be debt free."
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants

Does Social Conformity Influence Portfolio Choice? Evidence from 401(k) Allocations
"Financial researchers agree that allocating money to employer stock in a 401(k) plan is a poor strategy, yet many employees do so. Not only does this investment strategy bear unrewarded idiosyncratic risk, but it also correlates employees' retirement portfolios with their human capital. [The author finds] evidence that social conformity contributes to this selection."
Charles Favreau, Via SSRN

August 2016 Pension Finance Update
"August was an uneventful month for pension finance. Both model pension plans ... saw basically no change in pension funded status during the month. Through August, Plan A remains down 6% for the year, and the more conservative Plan B remains down 1%."
October Three Consulting

Top Pension Fund Assets Fall for the First Time Since the Global Financial Crisis
"Total assets of the world's largest 300 pension funds fell by over 3% in 2015 (compared to growth of over 3% in 2014) to a sum of $14.8 trillion ... Despite this first drop in assets since the beginning of the global financial crisis, cumulative asset growth since then is almost 19%."
Willis Towers Watson

What Happens to Multiemployer Pension Plan Reform Now?
"If one of the most useful tools provided by the MPRA has been stymied because the Treasury Department is unprepared to accept what it views as overly optimistic actuarial assumptions, what is the future of multiemployer pension plan reform? One proposal that was not included in the final version of the MPRA involved the use of so-called hybrid composite plans.... In light of the Treasury Department's rejection of Central States' application, the assumption that many unions will oppose hybrid composite plans may no longer be accurate. Government reports have estimated that up to 15% of multiemployer plans are at risk of becoming insolvent over the next 20 years and that up to 1.5 million participants are at risk from those insolvencies."
Polsinelli PC

Some Public Funds Uneasy with Fee Disclosure
"Measures in several states focusing on alternative investment fee disclosure are causing public pension plan executives to worry they could get shut out of the best funds if managers are unhappy with the requirements."
Pensions & Investments

How States Can Save Jobs and Address the Wealth Inequality Gap Through ESOPs (PDF)
10 pages. "In order to increase the effectiveness and penetration of local outreach and education, states can: [1] Create an Office of Employee Ownership with a dedicated staff person; [2] Provide grants to one or more nonprofits to run an outreach program; [3] Hold seminars statewide in conjunction with professional, business, and trade publications and organizations; [4] Publish and disseminate brochures and other material; and [5] Work with the media to encourage stories on local ESOP companies."
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO] and Employee-Owned S Corporations of America [ESCA]

The Welfare Cost of Retirement Uncertainty
"[C]onservative estimates of the standard deviation of the difference between retirement expectations and actual retirement dates range from 4.28 to 6.92 years. This uncertainty implies large fluctuations in total wage income. [The authors] find that individuals would give up 2.6%-5.7% of total lifetime consumption to fully insure this risk and 1.9%-4.0% of lifetime consumption simply to know their actual retirement date at age 23. Uncertainty about the date of retirement helps to explain consumption spending near retirement and precautionary saving behavior."
National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER]

[Opinion]

Government Intervention in Coal Mining Seven Decades Ago No Justification for Pension Bailout Today
"Two bills introduced in Congress -- S. 1714 in the Senate and H.R. 2403 in the House -- would bail out the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) pension plan with up to $490 million per year. Such action would set an incredibly dangerous precedent, opening the door to taxpayer bailouts of more than $600 billion in unfunded union pensions, not to mention trillions of dollars in other unfunded public and non-union private pension liabilities across the country. Pension bailouts would encourage employers, unions, and pension fund trustees to promise substantial pension benefits to their employees without setting aside the funds to pay for those benefits."
The Heritage Foundation

Benefits in General

Cybersecurity and the Role of ERISA Fiduciaries
"[This article provides] a discussion of ERISA fiduciary duties relating to cybersecurity and health and retirement plans, as well as best practices that ERISA fiduciaries should follow to maximize their compliance with such duties and to insulate their exposure to potential liability."
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Bill to Shield Retired Miners Divides Coal-State Republicans
"Retirement and health-care funds currently support about 120,000 former miners and their families nationwide. But account balances have dwindled amid continued layoffs and bankruptcy filings as the coal industry struggles against competition from cheaper natural gas and tightening environmental regulations. The bill would ensure that retired miners receive hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits now at risk amid the industry's steep decline. Without congressional intervention, some of the funds could run out of cash by next year[.]"
The Republic

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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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