Retirement Plans Newsletter

December 16, 2016

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[Guidance Overview]

Interesting Angles on the DOL's Fiduciary Rule, Part 30
"The label 'Level Fee Fiduciary' has been used for many years for one meaning, but BICE has used it for a different purpose and, depending on your reading, a different definition.... In and of itself, that definition could either mean [1] that no other payments can be received by the adviser, or [2] that the adviser could receive other payments so long as they were not on top of, or in addition to, the stated fee[.]"
FredReish.com

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[Guidance Overview]

Making a List and Checking it Twice: IRS Issues the 2016 Required Amendments List
"There are no changes in qualification requirements first effective in 2016 that generally require an amendment to most plans or most plans of a certain type by December 31, 2018.... Collectively-Bargained Defined Benefit Plans ... must be amended by December 31, 2018, to incorporate restrictions on accelerated distributions from underfunded single-employer plans in employer bankruptcy under Code Section 436."
Drinker Biddle

[Guidance Overview]

Puerto Rico Treasury Department Issues Guidance on Retirement Plan Limits for 2017 (PDF)
"For plans qualified only in Puerto Rico (PR-Only Plans), and for plans qualified both in Puerto Rico and the U.S., including the U.S. Federal Government Thrift Plan (Dual-Qualified Plans), the limits on elective deferrals, catch-up and after-tax contributions, and the highly-compensated employee threshold all remain unchanged for 2017, while the limits on annual benefits, annual contributions, and plan compensation all increased for 2017. The chart [in this article] reflects the key limits."
Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

Puerto Rico Plans 2016 Plan Amendments and Compulsory Determination Letter Filings (PDF)
"[T]here are no PR Code statutory changes in 2016 that must be reflected in Puerto Rico Plans documents.... Puerto Rico Plan design changes contemplated for the 2017 plan year that would reduce future benefits may need to be adopted before the start of the 2017 plan year."
Groom Law Group

2017 Pension Lump Sums Are Looking More Affordable
"Although the projected 2017 lump sum costs are still higher than 2016, the increases are only half of what we were expecting a month ago. It remains to be seen if rates continue their upward trend, but the reduction in anticipated lump sum cost increases may encourage more plan sponsors to embrace pension risk transfer (PRT) strategies like lump sum windows for terminated vested participants."
Van Iwaarden Associates

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New Evidence on the Demand for Advice in Retirement Plans (PDF)
13 pages. "In addition to documenting how demand for advice varies over time and across different groups of participants, [the authors] take initial steps to determine how demand for advice interacts with reliance on default investment options.... [T]he likelihood of seeking advice is significantly lower if the participant invests solely in target date funds, the dominant default investment option within our sample."
TIAA Institute

DC Circuit Court Rejects DOL Rule Injunction
"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [has rejected an appeal] for a preliminary injunction stopping the [DOL] fiduciary rule. The National Association for Fixed Annuities [NAFA] ... said that maintaining the status quo of the annuity distribution system is important because the preparation to meet the April 10 applicability deadline would inflict the harm that the association's lawsuit is trying to prevent." [Nat'l Assoc. for Fixed Annuities v. Perez, No. 16-5345 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 15, 2016)]
InsuranceNewsNet.com

JPMorgan Draws IRS Whistle-Blower Complaint Over Pension Funds
"JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid more than $300 million a year ago to resolve regulators' claims that the bank had failed to tell wealthy clients it was steering them into its own funds.... A whistle-blower now claims that JPMorgan's misdeeds went beyond a failure to disclose. Because a portion of clients' money was in tax-advantaged pension funds, the whistle-blower says, the bank also ran afoul of IRS rules and shirked its fiduciary responsibility by favoring its own funds."
Bloomberg

Millennials Will Need to Save More Under Rep. Sam Johnson's Social Security Reform Proposal
"[W]hile most participants in Social Security would experience some degree of benefit reduction relative to current law under the Johnson proposal, benefits for Millennials and generations that follow would be most affected.... [W]hile the anticipated reductions for Millennials relative to current law are significant, they are not much larger than reductions required if no reform action is taken.... Millennials may want to factor proposals like this one in their current spending/savings decisions."
Ken Steiner, FSA Retired

Obama's myRA Retirement Plan Starts Off With a Whimper
"One year in, enrollment is scant, but it could multiply with a TurboTax push and inclusion in retirement savings programs being launched by states.... The tally: 20,000 myRA accounts have been opened, with assets of about $17 million."
Bloomberg

[Opinion]

American Benefits Council Comments to IRS on Facilitating Compliance with Qualified Plan Document Requirements
"Because multiple employer plans provide many of the same efficiencies as pre-approved plans, multiple employer plans should be eligible for determination letters.... [P]rivate letter rulings (PLRs) should be issued with respect to certain plan qualification issues.... [In many] cases, such as large mergers and acquisitions, there is a real need for the greater reliance achieved through the determination process. Legally, an opinion letter does not provide the same level of reliance as a determination letter."
American Benefits Council

[Opinion]

ERIC Works to Alleviate Burden for Large Employers After Loss of Determination Letter Program
"ERIC urged the agencies to: [1] Allow plan sponsors to incorporate, by reference, a number of legally required provisions; [2] Enable plan sponsors to omit from their governing documents provisions that do not apply to their plans due to the status of the plan sponsor or the design of the plan; and [3] Adopt a flexible approach to the existence of plan form defects discovered during an audit."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]

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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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