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December 12, 2016 logo logo
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[Guidance Overview]

Interesting Angles on the DOL's Fiduciary Rule, Part 29
"What are the relevant factors for evaluating whether a participant should take a distribution? In other words, what information does an adviser need to gather and review? In BICE, the DOL identifies three specific types of relevant information about the retirement plan.... Those factors, and other relevant matters about the plan, need to be evaluated. Of course, that means that information needs to be obtained."


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How the Republicans Could Unwind the DOL Fiduciary Rule
"Legislative alternatives include: Amending ERISA to define 'fiduciary' to exclude the advisers added into the definition by DOL, and thus obsoleting the Rule; or Repealing and/or amending major provisions of Dodd-Frank.... DOL could delay the Rule's effective dates, through an interim rule or an immediate direct final rule.... Repealing the Fiduciary Rule would require full notice and comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act."
Bloomberg BNA

Religious Exemptions to ERISA: Another Battleground for Employee Benefits Litigation
"On its face, Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton and the two other cases it's consolidated with may seem boring -- after all, they're about federal regulations on pension plans for church-affiliated hospitals. But these cases are actually the culmination of a new, vicious fight over the rights of employers that are loosely affiliated with religious institutions, and how they should have to pay retirement benefits to their employees in accordance with federal law."
The Atlantic

CBO Report Identifies Changes to Federal Retirement Benefits That Would Help to Reduce Deficit
"Among the policy options presented in [the 116-page CBO report] is one that would affect participants in FERS who retire in January 2018 or later.... The first alternative would change the calculation of retirees' annuities on the basis of participants' five consecutive years with the highest earnings from three consecutive years, which the report said would save a total of $2 billion from 2018 to 2026 ... The second alternative would be to eliminate the special retirement supplement."
Pensions & Investments

Rollover Relief Will Come with IRS Scrutiny in 2017
"Proceed with caution if you are using the new self-certification procedure. You should be aware that self-certification is not the same as a waiver of the 60-day rule. You are not necessarily completely off the hook. When you file your taxes, you may report your contribution as a valid rollover on your tax return, but the story does not end there. The IRS can still later audit your return and determine that a rollover was not appropriate."
Slott Report


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Dallas Pension Fund Halts Payments Following Mayor's Lawsuit
"The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System's board has halted ... most payments and withdrawals from the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), a program that allows members who have passed retirement age to keep working and transfer their benefits into an account that has historically guaranteed a generous 8 percent rate of return. Nearly $500 million has been withdrawn from the DROP plan over the last few months when changes to the program were first floated."

PBGC to Take Over Hancock Fabrics Pension Plan
"The company's DB plan has roughly $58.3 million in assets and $116.2 million in liabilities for a shortfall of $57.9 million and funding ratio of 50.2%, the PBGC estimates."
Pensions & Investments

Benefits in General

Nearly Three-Quarters of U.S. Employees Would Like a Customized Benefits Package
"73 percent of U.S. employees across all age groups would like the ability to customize their workplace benefits to suit their individual needs.... Employees ranked health care coverage, retirement savings accounts and vacation as the three most popular workplace benefits ... Millennial workers favor education benefits and paid parental leave.... Generation X workers ranked financial planning/wellness programs higher than Millennials and Baby Boomers.... Baby Boomers ranked disability insurance significantly higher than Millennials and Gen Xers."

Canaries in the Coal Mine on Pension Bailouts
"Participants in the United Mine Workers of America 1974 (UMWA) Pension Plan are unlikely to see any significant cuts in their benefits primarily because the average retiree receives about $6,900 annually, far less than the PBGC guarantee ... [It] is those health care benefits that will cease for 22,000 retirees at the end of this year that primarily worries senators like West Virginia's Joe Manchin[.]"

Government Funding Secured with Support for Coal Miners; Comprehensive Health Care Bill Passed (PDF)
"The [Continuing Resolution (CR)] enacted last week to avert a government shutdown also included $45 million for retired coal miners' multiemployer health benefits.... [H]ealth and retiree benefits remain in jeopardy because funding for health benefits is provided only through April 28 (consistent with the duration of the CR) and no funding has been provided for pension benefits.... [L]egislation for so-called 'composite plans' seems to have fallen off the radar."
Xerox HR

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

New Portland Ordinance Combats High CEO Pay
"The City Council passed an ordinance ... that requires publicly traded corporations to pay a surtax if they pay their CEO more than 100 times their median worker.... Portland's Revenue Bureau has identified more than 500 publicly-traded firms that do business in the city and therefore will be subject to the tax if their CEO-worker pay ratios are above 100 to [1] The list includes major corporations ... including Wells Fargo, Walmart and General Electric."
City of Portland, Oregon

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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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