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December 19, 2016 logo logo
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Webcasts and Conferences

How to Help Your Employees Keep Their New Year's Resolution

Will the ACA Get Trumped?

Get Ready for Form 1094/1095 Reporting
January 12, 2017 WEBCAST
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Prep for Compliance Testing Season!
January 12, 2017 WEBCAST

Cafeteria Plan Election Changes: What You Need to Know Now
January 18, 2017 WEBCAST
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

9th Annual Health Plan Marketing Summit
March 6, 2017 in FL
World Congress

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[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Final Regs: Savings Arrangements Established by Qualified State Political Subdivisions for Non-Governmental Employees
59 pages. "This document contains an amendment to a final regulation that describes how states may design and operate payroll deduction savings programs for private-sector employees, including programs that use automatic enrollment, without causing the states or private-sector employers to have established employee pension benefit plans under [ERISA]. The amendment expands the final regulation beyond states to cover qualified state political subdivisions and their programs that otherwise comply with the regulation."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]


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[Guidance Overview]

DOL Fact Sheet: City or County Savings Programs for Non-Governmental Employees (PDF)
"Most of the safe harbor's conditions focus on the role of the state or qualified political subdivision. For instance: [1] The program must be specifically established pursuant to state or qualified political subdivision law. [2] The program must be implemented and administered by the st ate or qualified political subdivision. [3] The state or qualified political subdivision must be responsible for investing the employee savings or for selecting investment alternatives from which employees may choose. [4] The state or qualified political subdivision must be responsible for the security of payroll deductions and employee savings.... The conditions applicable to the political subdivisions are essentially the same conditions that apply to the states under the prior final rule."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Treasury Department Letter Approving MPRA Benefit Reductions Proposed by Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund (PDF)
"In consultation with the [DOL] and the [PBGC], Treasury has determined [1] that the Plan is eligible to reduce benefits ... [2] that the Application satisfies the requirements of ... section 432(e)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code ... subject to your revision of the proposed Plan amendment included in your Application.... [T]he Application is approved, subject to your revision of the proposed amendment.... [No] suspension of benefits may take effect before a vote of the participants of the plan with respect to the suspension."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

First Approval of MPRA Benefit Reduction Application Issued by Treasury Department, for Iron Workers Local 17
"The pension fund had $91.9 million in assets and $223.2 million in liabilities as of April 30, 2014, for a funding ratio of 41% ... Of its 2,064 participants, 640 are active. The plan is projected to become insolvent in 2032. The MPRA application ... called for reducing benefits 'indefinitely' to allow the plan to remain solvent with enough assets to pay the reduced level of benefits."
Pensions & Investments

Ugh -- the Missing Participants ...
"[R]eference your plan document to determine 'who' is defined as considered missing. For example, is the determination made after a certain number of years or after the participant has reached a certain age? You will also need to be sure that you understand 'when' this language is applicable."
Principal Financial Group


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Tibble v. Edison Still Being Fought in Federal Courts
"On remand from the Supreme Court, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals once again heard 'en banc' arguments in Tibble v. Edison, deciding this time that it would vacate the lower district court's judgment in favor of the defense.... [T]he court of appeals had previously affirmed the district court's holding that the plan beneficiaries' claims regarding the selection of mutual funds in 1999 were time-barred under the six-year limit of 29 U.S.C. Section 1113(1). However, the Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' decision, observing that federal law imposes on fiduciaries an ongoing duty to monitor investments even absent a change in circumstances." [Tibble v. Edison, No. 10-56406 (9th Cir. Dec. 16, 2016)]

Employee 401(k) Contributions Rise in 2015
"The average contribution rate for employees rose to 6.8% of gross annual pay in 2015, up from 6.5% in 2014. The average company contribution, meanwhile, rose to 3.8% for 401(k) plans, but declined to 5.4% for combination plans. In 2014, companies contributed on average 3.2% to 401(k) plans and 5.5% to combination plans."
Pensions & Investments

American Firms Want to Keep Older Workers a Bit Longer
"With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, businesses are scrambling to find ways to slow an exodus of the most experienced employees and ensure that they pass along their knowledge before they leave.... Fourteen percent of U.S. companies offered either a formal or informal phased retirement program this year, up from 10 percent in 2012[.]"

Another Question is Answered in the Who's the Employer Q&A Column
"A doctor is receiving 1099 income, which he 'passes thru' an LLC. He also has employees, paid as W-2 employees of the LLC. I am not sure I understand the purpose of the LLC, and why he is not just getting a W-2 from the LLC. Do we have two entities here -- the LLC and an independent contractor? Which is the sponsor of the 401(k) plan?"


In Illinois, 'Pension Reform' Is Siren Call
"The unfunded liabilities incurred to date are a permanent fixed cost that cannot be reduced. 'Pension reforms' intended to reduce that cost are a pipe dream. Benefits promised need to be paid. That is not to say that the public, press and pension administrators should not seek to stop pension abuse -- which usually happens through salary spikes that ultimately inflate pensions. Abuse also occurs by enrolling people who do not meet the eligibility requirements."
Louis Kosiba, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, via Crain's Chicago Business

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Maximum Tax Withholding and Liberal Share Counting: A Deadly Combination
"ISS issued its new FAQs regarding equity compensation plans [in a document dated Dec. 16, 2016]. FAQ #32 deals with the issue of withholding at the maximum tax rate coupled with liberal share counting which permits shares withheld to be added back to the plan's share authorization."

$253,088 Monthly in Retirement is Coming for Some CEOs
"One hundred U.S. CEOs have company retirement funds collectively worth $4.7 billion, a total equal to the retirement savings of the 41% of U.S. families with the smallest reserves for their golden years ... The nest eggs of those chief executives are large enough to generate an average $253,088 in monthly retirement payments for the rest of their lives ... The 100 CEOs studied have retirement funds equal to the entire retirement savings of 44% of white working class households, 59% of African-American families, 75% of Latino families and 44% of female-headed households[.]"

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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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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