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Webcasts and Conferences

What’s New and What Changes Can We Expect Post-Election?
December 7, 2016 in IL
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Chicago Downtown Chapter

Deloitte Research: Tech-Enabled Health Care: Is the Health Care System Ready?
December 15, 2016 WEBCAST
Healthcare Web Summit

Plan Governance in a Changing World
December 20, 2016 WEBCAST
ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Final Regs: Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans: Valuation of Benefits and Assets; Expected Retirement Age
"This rule amends the [PBGC] regulation on Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans by substituting a new table for determining expected retirement ages for participants in pension plans undergoing distress or involuntary termination with valuation dates falling in 2017. This table is needed in order to compute the value of early retirement benefits and, thus, the total value of benefits under a plan."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]


The ERISA Fiduciary Compliance Guide

Sponsored by The National Underwriter Company

Authored by ERISA and employment law experts at The Wagner Law Group, this Guide is the practical reference you can rely on. Use code BENLINK for 10% discount.

[Official Guidance]

Text of Extension of Comment Period on Application by New York State Teamsters Multiemployer Plan for Reduction in Benefits
"On September 28, 2016, the Department published a notice of availability and request for comments regarding an application to Treasury to reduce benefits under the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund in accordance with the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA). The purpose of this notice is to reopen the comment period to provide more time for interested parties to provide comments."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Investment Advice FAQs: Considerations for Investment Advisers
"[Topics include:] [1] the availability of the 'Best Interest Contract' Exemption and its streamlined version ... for certain transactions; [2] the impact of the Final Rules on investment advisers with discretionary authority over retirement assets; [3] the structure of compensation paid by financial institutions to advisers; [4] compliance with disclosure requirements of the BIC Exemption; [5] sales of annuities; and [6] grandfathering."

Interesting Angles on the DOL's Fiduciary Rule, Part 28
"Under the DOL's fiduciary regulation, the recommendation of a plan distribution and IRA rollover will be fiduciary advice, subject to the best interest standard of care and the prohibited transaction rules. But, what if a participant takes a distribution and rolls over into an IRA with an adviser ... without a recommendation by the adviser?"

Oral Argument in Second Challenge to DOL Fiduciary Rule Centers on Right to Sue
"[Federal District] Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn tried to establish what plaintiffs mean by claiming the [DOL] doesn't have the right to establish a 'private cause of action' with its fiduciary rule. Lynn presided over the third hearing ... in a series of lawsuits brought by opponents of the DOL rule... The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council of Life Insurers were the lead plaintiffs in the Dallas lawsuit, which was consolidated from three complaints filed in June."


Pension Distribution Answer Book - 2017 Edition

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

Fast, easy-to-understand guidance for interpreting statutes and regulations and complying with burdensome distribution tax and reporting rules. Stay current with the hundreds of regulations pertaining to qualified plan distributions.

DC District Court Gets First Word on Fiduciary Rule, But Trump Administration May Get the Last
"Setting up a potential split in the Circuits and a possible trip to the Supreme Court, ... Judge Randolph D. Moss of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia fully endorsed the [DOL's] final conflict of interest regulation ... rejecting the effort to invalidate the Rule brought by the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA).... Although the ruling contained few surprises, Judge Moss did suggest that an argument could be made in the other court cases that the DOL exceeded 'the authority of an agency to mandate that regulated parties include particular terms in their contracts.' " [Nat'l Assoc. for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) v. Perez, No. 16-1035 (D.D.C. Nov. 4, 2016)]
Miller & Chevalier

DOL Mulls Boost for Retirement Plan Qualified Default Investments
"The [DOL] will seek information to determine whether to give fiduciary relief for qualified default investment alternatives, the agency said in its fall 2016 regulatory agenda. The proposal (RIN:1210-AB77) is in the pre-rule stage, and is expected to be published in the Federal Register early next year. [EBSA] said it will consider whether, and to what extent, regulatory amendments are appropriate to facilitate the use of lifetime income products and features as, or as part of, QDIAs. The EBSA said it will launch its review with a request for information."
Bloomberg BNA

Matching Contributions in a Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan: An Online Calculator
"To get a quick estimate on how much Safe Harbor contributions will cost you, use [this] contribution calculator and find out the cost for: 3% non-elective contributions ... [and] 4% match contribution ... [A]fter a certain point, the 3% non-elective contributions are actually cheaper than the 4% match contribution -- this is all dependent on your overall participation and savings rate."

2017 Planning for ERISA Multiemployer DB Plan Operations (PDF)
"The calendar provided in this [article] will help you set up your own schedule of activities to address as the year progresses so that you do not miss important deadlines for your qualified plans.... [It includes] a number of key issues for you to consider (along with the calendar deadlines) as we head into 2017."
Xerox HR Services

The Financial Condition of the PBGC Multiemployer Program
25 presentation slides. "Multiemployer plans have approximately $1 trillion in defined benefit (DB) pension liabilities covering 10 million private-sector employees in unionized industries ... [M]ost systems have significant underfunding.... Unfunded pension liabilities: burden public and private employers and their current employees; create uncertainty about benefits for beneficiaries; expose the federal government to losses from PBGC's insurance of private pensions. Underfunding has been exacerbated by: structural problems with the funding of pension plans ... employers' switching from defined benefit to defined contribution plans; a weak economy."
Congressional Budget Office [CBO]

Summary of the Retirement Security Preservation Act of 2016
"The Retirement Security Preservation Act (RSPA) addresses four nondiscrimination testing issues. The RSPA incorporates several elements of the proposed Treasury regulations, but also provides targeted relief to the many plans that are not able to take advantage of the regulations. [1] Closed plan issue.... [2] Closed feature issue.... [3] DB replacement plan issue.... [4] Minimum participation issues."
U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio)


CalSTRS Sets Standard on Fee Disclosure?
"CalSTRS is leading the way once again with this initiative to be completely transparent by disclosing all the fees it pays out to external managers and track total expenses more closely.... In an ideal world, we should be able to read the annual report of any public pension to understand how much was paid out in management fees, how much in performance fees (carried interest), how much for internal salaries, how much to vendors, brokers, consultants, accountants, lawyers, etc. and exactly who received what amount."
Pension Pulse


Emerging Trends to Watch: Open MEPs, and PBGC Administration of Automatic IRA Rollovers
"For decades, the government has permitted closed MEPs, but these were usually too costly and complex for smaller companies. If the government decides to permit open MEPs, it would be a game-changer for small- to mid-size companies and their employees.... According to the PBGC, administration of their Auto Rollover accounts will incur a one-time charge of $35. After that, they won't charge any additional fees as long as an account remains on the books. As a government agency, the PBGC doesn't have the same overriding need as the private sector to turn a profit in order to survive. Even so, they still need to be able to cover their costs."


Composite Bill: Another Threat to Multiemployer Pension Plans
"The draft composite bill could turn well-funded pension plans into poorly-funded plans while also allowing for cuts to retirees' and active workers' benefits in both the old and new plans. The Center is working with a broad coalition of organizations -- including AARP, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Western Conference of Teamsters, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, and the United Steelworkers -- to oppose the composite bill."
Pension Rights Center

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Form 5500 Penalties Increase: Do You Know Who Is in Your Controlled Group?
"The penalty [under ERISA Section 502(c)(2) for a failure or refusal to file Form 5500] has been increased from a maximum of $1,100 per day to a maximum penalty of $2,063 per day.... [G]iven the size of the increase, there could be more incentive for the DOL and IRS to pursue Form 5500 audits. Given the significant penalties, plan sponsors should carefully analyze their controlled group relationships to ensure that they are properly reporting subsidiary or other related entities on the Form 5500."
Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Changes to Employee Benefit Plan Auditor's Reports May Be on the Way
"Changes to the auditor's report were intended to better help the auditors understand their responsibilities as well as to provide users of the financial statements with additional information on what the auditors do.... Much of the auditor's report under the proposed [Statement of Auditing Standards] will look familiar; however, there are some new aspects to it. Highlighted [in this article] are some of these difference for limited and full-scope audits, including whether the changes apply only to limited or full-scope audits."
Schneider Downs

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Official Guidance]

Text of FASB Proposed Accounting Standards Update to Topic 718: Stock Compensation -- Scope of Modification Accounting
24 pages. "The Board is issuing this proposed Update to provide clarity and reduce diversity in practice, as well as to reduce cost and complexity, when applying the guidance in Topic 718, Compensation: Stock Compensation, about a change to the terms or conditions of a share-based payment award.... The amendments in this proposed Update would affect any entity that changes the terms or conditions of a share-based payment award."
Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB]

Press Releases

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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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