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ESOP Administrator
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
in VA, Telecommute

Multi-Employer Benefit Manager
Calibre CPA Group
in MD

Senior Compliance Administrator
Associated Pension Consultants
in CA, Telecommute

Defined Contribution Plan / 401k Plan Administrator
N.A. Falcone & Associates, Inc.
in PA

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Webcasts and Conferences

Death, Taxes and Retirement Plans
November 10, 2016 in OH
McDonald Hopkins

Are Your Wellness Programs Well? Regulatory Landscape for Wellness Programs
November 17, 2016 in DC
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Washington Metropolitan Chapter

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[Guidance Overview]

The Continuing Battle Over Economically Targeted Investments: An Analysis of DOL Interpretive Bulletin 2015-01 (PDF)
10 pages. "In Interpretive Bulletin 2015-01, the [DOL] renewed the now two-decades old battle over 'economically targeted investments' (ETIs). As a matter of statutory interpretation, IB 2015-01, like its predecessors, is unpersuasive. [ERISA] requires plan trustees to invest 'solely' to provide participants' retirement benefits. A trustee who invests in ETIs violates this statutory obligation by pursuing collateral economic benefits for persons other than plan participants. As a matter of policy, the social investing which ETIs exemplify is unsound. At best, such social investing in practice merely shuffles investment ownership without altering market-based allocations of capital."
Prof. Edward A. Zelinsky, Cardozo Law Review

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[Guidance Overview]

DOL Releases Guidance on Best Interest Contract and Other Exemptions (PDF)
"Most notably, the FAQs [1] Address the adaptation of broker-dealer compensation grids and recruitment programs to the BIC Exemption conditions; [2] Clarify the narrow scope of the BIC Exemption for 'level fee' fiduciaries ... and [3] Provide guidance on the application of the exemptions to insurance products[.]"
Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues First Interpretative Guidance on New Fiduciary Rule
"The FAQs include some important clarifications, including on the types of variable compensation structures that may be acceptable under [BICE], advisor recruitment bonuses, plan fee information that will be required to give advice on IRA rollovers, certain requirements related to the BIC website and the use of dividend reinvestment programs for arrangements grandfathered from full BIC Exemption compliance.... The most notable FAQs, and possible implications and action items for financial institutions, advisors, and asset managers, are [outlined in chart form]."
Ropes & Gray LLP

Fiduciary Issues for Plan Sponsors: What Do 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries Need to Know About Revenue Sharing?
"Recapture is one of the most common methods for avoiding excessive compensation through revenue sharing. In this alternative, the plan recaptures either all revenue sharing so that all revenue sharing is paid to the plan ('complete recapture'), or the plan recaptures only excess revenue sharing so that any revenue sharing payments that would cause the Plan Service Provider's total compensation to exceed the reasonable compensation threshold are paid to the plan ('partial recapture')."
K&L Gates LLP

Investment Advisor or Investment Adviser? Did You Hire The Right One?
"As a 401k plan sponsor, you are probably aware that there are some new fiduciary regulations going into effect in April of 2017. You probably have spent some time wondering (worrying?) whether these regulations affect your relationship with the investment adviser or investment advisor who works with your 401k plan. They might. Here's how to tell."
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants

Is Your Pension Plan Auditor Making the Grade?
"Here are five ways to have a better audit in 2017: [1] Find out how many ERISA plan audits the firm does.... [2] No matter how many plan audits your accounting firm says that it does, make sure that the specific people assigned to you have experience doing plan audits on a regular basis.... [3] Find out if the firm is a member of AICPA's Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center.... [4] Ask whether the [DOL] has had questions about the firm's audits and, if so, how the matters were resolved ... [5] Handle the auditor hiring process like the fiduciary responsibility it is."
Cohen & Buckmann, P.C.

Society of Actuaries Updates Mortality Improvement Factors for Pension Plans
"These new improvement factors incorporate three additional years of Social Security Administration data on U.S. population mortality, in addition to the two additional years incorporated in last year's Scale MP-2015. This recent information shows a dramatically different pattern of improvement than was evident in the first decade of this century. As a result, if Scale MP-2016 is considered, mortality rates will be higher and life expectancies will be shorter than under the 2014 or 2015 Society of Actuaries' mortality improvement factors."
Segal Consulting

Teamsters Group Funds Forensic Investigation of $1.6 Billion New York State Teamsters Pension
" 'Retired and active Teamsters in New York are now facing crippling cuts under new pension legislation. Throughout 2016 we have been fundraising for an independent forensic investigation, and have decided to 'leave no stone unturned' with a goal to understand better how we got to this point,' said Mark Greene of [Teamsters Alliance for Pension Protection]."

Surge in Mergers Throws Health Care Pension Plans Off Investment Game
"The third quarter of this year marked the eighth straight with more than 200 transactions ... As a result of this merger fever, health care plan sponsors have fallen behind on governance and plan management, which means added administrative headaches that distract pension committees from investment decisions. There's no clear escape from that trap, but the corporate pension world offers some potential solutions."
Institutional Investor

Annual Mercer Pension Index Finds U.S. Still Lags in Retirement Security
"[The survey included] 27 countries covering 60 percent of the world's population. Among the more than 40 factors used to calculate a country's ability to ensure its workforce is financially prepared to cope with old age are benefit levels and design, savings, tax support, regulation, and governance. The amount of government debt and population demographics are also taken into consideration. This year's report issues a strong warning that, taking those metrics into account, governments across the globe need to take immediate action or risk significant financial pressures in the future."
Institutional Investor

World's Largest Fund Managers See First Decline in Assets Since 2011
"Assets managed by the world's largest 500 asset managers fell in 2015 for the first time since 2011.... Total assets under management (AUM) were down 1.7% to $76.7 trillion at the end of 2015, compared to $78.1 trillion the year before.... [A]ctively managed assets, which continue to make up the majority of total assets (78.3%), also fell 2.8% in 2015, while passive assets declined at a faster rate, 5.5% during the year."
Willis Towers Watson

Retirement Distribution Decisions Among DC Participants
16 pages. "The overwhelming majority of retirement-age [DC] plan participants leave their employer's retirement plan within five years of separation from service, mostly for an [IRA] rollover account. When plans permit flexible distributions, retirement-age participants are more likely to remain in the employer plan. This finding has implications for the 'to versus through' debate in target-date fund design, as well as for the demand for in-plan versus out-of-plan retirement income programs."

Saving for College Without Sacrificing Retirement Goals
"6% of respondents are willing to delay retirement to pay for their child's college education. 67% of parents said saving for college education is a higher priority compared to 33% who stated retirement savings was a higher priority. 69% said that because their child will attend college before they retire, they felt like they should put money towards college savings first and then save for retirement after. 50% believe because they helped their child with college education costs, their child will help them in retirement."
Pension Consultants, Inc.

Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits (PDF)
18 pages. "[CBO] projected that 49% of Social Security beneficiaries (25.5 million people) were affected by the income taxation of Social Security benefits in tax year 2014. That share will grow over time because the income thresholds used to determine the share of benefits that is taxable are not indexed for inflation or wage growth. As a result, income taxes on benefits will become an increasingly important source of income for Social Security and Medicare." [Report RL32552, dated Oct. 27, 2016.]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Benefits in General

Benefit Plans: Upcoming Compliance Deadlines and End of Year Planning
"Provided [in this article] is a non-exhaustive list of quickly approaching employee benefits deadlines for retirement plans and health and welfare plans in the fall of 2016 and early 2017."
Holland & Hart LLP

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Issues Interpretative Guidance on CEO Pay Ratio Rule
"The SEC interpretive guidance addresses narrow issues related to the identification of the median employee for purposes of the Pay Ratio calculation.... Many companies have assumed that using a base salary or a cash compensation measure would comply with the Final Rule. However, the SEC's guidance suggests that such a compensation measure may not reasonably reflect the annual compensation of employees under limited circumstances, such as where equity awards are broadly granted to employees."
Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

Decision Time for Nonqualified Deferred Compensation: Top Issues in Choosing Salary Deferrals for 2017
"In the analysis for choosing deferrals to make in 2017, one ongoing issue stems from the tax increases that took effect in 2013, including the additional Medicare taxes for high earners. Other points to consider include ... [1] Maximizing the amount you can contribute to your 401(k) plans.... [2] Cash needs for the year ahead and multi-year projections for your income.... [3] The financial security of your company, and your job security.... [4] Company match.... [5] The thresholds for higher taxes and rates."

Press Releases

PSCA's 2017 Signature Awards Nominations Now Open
PSCA [Plan Sponsor Council of America]

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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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