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Webcasts and Conferences

EEOC Final Rules on ADA, GINA, and Employer Wellness Programs
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]

What the Healthcare Law Means for Your Small Business
November 10, 2016 WEBCAST
Small Business Majority

Recognizing and Avoiding Pitfalls When Changing Record keepers
November 17, 2016 in CA
Western Pension & Benefits Council - Orange County Chapter

New Parental Leave Laws in New Jersey
December 7, 2016 WEBCAST
Lorman Education Services

2017 Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference
March 19, 2017 in AZ
University Conference Services

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Proposed Regs and Notice of Public Hearing: Special Enrollment Examination User Fees: Enrolled Agents
"This document withdraws a proposed regulation relating to the user fee for the special enrollment examination to become an enrolled agent. This document also proposes a new regulation to increase the user fee for the examination to recover the cost to the IRS of overseeing the administration of the examination. The withdrawal and proposal affect individuals taking the enrolled agent special enrollment examination. This document also contains a notice of public hearing on the new proposed regulation."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Retirement Plan Distribution Relief for Hurricane Matthew
"[T]he relief does not change the tax consequences of any loan or hardship distribution being made under the relief. Hardship distributions will still be taxable as an in-service distribution and potentially subject to early distribution penalties. The relief simply temporarily removes certain administrative burdens of the plan so that funds can be released quicker than normal procedures would typically take, and so that plans that do not currently have provisions for hardship distributions can make them before the employer formally amends its plan to include such provisions."

Guaranteed Benefits Denied to Beneficiaries of Terminally Ill Employee Who Died Before Annuity Starting Date
"A retirement plan committee did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in denying ten years of guaranteed annuity payments to the beneficiaries of a terminally ill employee who died after his last day of work but eight days before his annuity starting date, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston (CA-1). Although the employee had delayed his retirement date on the advice of his employer, the terms of the plan implicitly conditioned the nearly $500,000 in guaranteed benefits on the employee surviving until the annuity starting date." [O'Shea v. UPS Retirement Plan, No. 15-1923 (1st Cir. Sept. 13, 2016)
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business

EBSA Initiatives of Importance to Service Providers
"At the national office level[:] ... Rapid ERISA Action Team ('REACT') ... Contributory Plans Criminal Project ... Consultant/Adviser Project (CAP) ... Form 5500 Enforcement Project ... Regional Office enforcement projects [include:] Late deposit of elective deferral contributions and loan repayments noted on Form 5500.... Large Defined Benefit Plan Project.... Excessive Fees Initiative.... Benefit Distributions Initiative."
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA]

DOL Ramps Up Examinations of 401(k) TPAs, Advisors
"Over the last 12 months, the [DOL] has quietly ratcheted up its examinations of firms that serve retirement plans, including brokerage firms, registered investment advisers and third-party administrators ... The Labor Department is examining how these companies get paid and whether their compensation poses a conflict of interest ... A Labor Department spokesman confirmed the examinations and said the effort is part of bigger push by the agency to examine all areas of employee benefits, including health and welfare plans."

These Top Law Firms Got the Most ERISA Class Action Biz
"The law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius tops the list of law firms getting the most business from large employers hit with ERISA class actions in the past year. Since November 2015, Morgan Lewis has been hired to represent employers in 19 [ERISA] class actions, according to Bloomberg BNA's research.... O'Melveny & Myers LLP closely follows."
Bloomberg BNA

The Impact of Ageing Populations on Global Pensions
"This year's report includes a projected old age dependency ratio which will raise alarm in many regions. The range of the ratio is stark -- predicting that in South Africa there will be one retiree for every 7 people of working age while in Japan the number drops to one retiree for every 1.44 people of working age by 2040."


Put Public Employees on Secure Choice and Social Security
"Why not freeze the employer contributions into California's state and local employee pension funds at 20% of salary (that's a two-to-one match on a 10% contribution via withholding), and then, constrained by those fixed percentages, lower all benefits, for all participants, on a pro-rata basis to restore solvency? Better yet, why not enroll every state and local government employee in the Secure Choice program?"


How Pensions Pass the Buck to Future Generations
"A surprising reason dissident actuaries advocate using a much lower earnings forecast for public pension investment funds is 'intergenerational equity,' ensuring that the pensions of government workers are paid by the generation that receives their services.... With little or no risk of loss, investments with predictable yields could closely match the cost of pensions workers earn during a year, minimizing debt passed to future generations. But that would be costly. The yield on the 20-year Treasury bond last week was 2.2 percent."

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

DOJ and FTC Issue Guidance on Antitrust Laws in the Employment Context
"[A]greements (whether formal or informal) among employers to limit or fix the compensation paid to employees or to refrain from soliciting or hiring each other's employees are per se violations of the antitrust laws. Also, even if competitors don't explicitly agree to limit or suppress compensation, the mere exchange of compensation information among employers may violate the antitrust laws if it has the effect of suppressing compensation."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

A Look at What's Coming: IRS Issues Guidance Priorities (PDF)
"The July 2016-June 2017 'guidance priorities' plan highlights areas of pending qualified plan guidance, with a vast majority of the 35 pension-related projects being carryovers from prior guidance plan lists. A summary of what is to come in the coming year from the project list can be found in [this] article."
Groom Law Group

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Provides New Guidance on Pay Ratio Disclosure
"Item 402(u) provides companies with substantial flexibility in calculating the required disclosures.... Rather than having to calculate the total annual compensation of every employee just to identify the median, the rule permits a company to base its median employee determination on any 'consistently applied compensation measure' reasonably chosen by the company."
Drinker Biddle

Highlights of the ISS 2016-2017 Policy Survey
"For 53% of investor respondents, the lack of newly appointed independent directors in recent years raised concerns about a board's nominating and refreshment processes. For 51% of respondents, lengthy average board tenure (average tenure greater than 10 or 15 years) is a concern ... A majority of investor respondents (64%) favored applying the stricter CEO standard, thereby limiting the total number of boards on which an executive chair may serve to three (including the home company board)."
Morgan Lewis

Press Releases

ASPPA Welcomes Richard Hochman as 48th President
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

ASPPA Honors Judy Miller, Others with 2016 Industry Awards
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

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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.

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