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Implementation Specialist
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Altman & Cronin Benefit Consultants
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Director, Retirement Products
Fringe Benefit Group
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Webcasts and Conferences

Employee Benefits and Medicare Coordination Issues
Frenkel Benefits, LLC

January 2017 Washington Update Briefing
January 27, 2017 WEBCAST

COBRA Notice Litigation: Is Your Plan Next?
February 3, 2017 WEBCAST
Littler Mendelson

Anatomy of a Data Breach
February 16, 2017 in NY
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - New York Chapter

Employee Benefits Producer Training Program
April 24, 2017 in WI
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

EBIA Employee Benefits Seminar
June 13, 2017 in WA
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

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[Guidance Overview]

The Birth of the First-Ever IRS Pre-Approved 403(b) Plan Documents
"[E]mployers have maintained 403(b) plans beginning in 1959, well before 401(k) plans were even a glimmer in anyone's thoughts. Employers will, for the first time need to restate their plans to reflect a 'real' plan document ... The restatement period will be a three-year period ending on March 31, 2020. The IRS plans on issuing their approval letters (opinion letters for prototype plans and advisory letters for volume submitter plans) on the plans that have been submitted by March 31, 2017. Once the letters are issued, employers can start restating their plans."
National Tax-Deferred Savings Association [NTSA]

[Advert.] Webinar

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

Join Sarah Simoneaux on February 9th for a webinar discussion about the politics and policies affecting retirement plans including the impact of the recent elections on the retirement landscape. Register now!

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Guidance Update and the DOL's Fiduciary Rule
"[SEC Update 2016-06] is focused on streamlining the process for Funds to implement the new options they are proposing. The new options themselves are intended to lessen the likelihood that routine compensation arrangements with financial intermediaries will run afoul of the DOL's [fiduciary rule]. As they seek to understand and advise their plan participants about these new Fund options, employers and plan-level fiduciaries can benefit from understanding the SEC's guidance on the submission and review process."
Spencer Fane

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Proposed Regs Allow Use of Forfeitures to Make QNEC, QMAC, and Safe Harbor Contributions
"Until now, IRS regulations stated that those conditions were required to be met when QNECs and QMACs were contributed to a plan.... The IRS responded with proposed regulations that impose the special distribution and vesting requirements at the time QNECs and QMACs are allocated to participants' accounts, rather than when contributed to the plan."

[Guidance Overview]

Proposed Amendments to the Retirement Plan Provisions of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code
"HR 3 amends the Trust Act to provide enhanced protection of trust assets, incorporate the concept of 'retirement plan trust', protect the surviving spouse of a retirement plan participant, and reduce uncertainty and litigation when there is a change in trustee. HR 3 also amends the PR Code to ease the establishment of retirement plans in Puerto Rico, particularly by small employers and owner-employees."
McConnell Valdes

[Guidance Overview]

New California Law Requires Public Pension and Retirement Systems to Disclose Compensation and Expenses
"[S]tarting January 1, 2017, each California public pension and retirement system ... must require vehicles in which the system has made 'alternative investments' to provide certain information related to those alternative investments, including information regarding fees and expenses borne directly or indirectly by the system, and investment performance. Each California public pension and retirement system must also disclose this information, at least annually, at a public meeting."
Sidley Austin LLP


The World of Retirement: PSCA's 70th Annual National Conference

Sponsored by Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]

Through calm seas, rough waters, and uncharted territories, PSCA has been the flagship in the world of retirement benefits. Join us at PSCA's 70th Annual National Conference to learn the latest trends to help you navigate the changing landscape.

401(k) ERISA Compliance Calendar, 2017
"The 2017 Retirement Plan Compliance Calendar highlights critical compliance deadlines for defined contribution retirement plans."
Cammack Retirement Group

Schwab Sued Over Cost of Its 401(k) Investment Options
"The lawsuit, filed Jan. 19 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, contended that the executives breached their fiduciary duties, saying they 'imprudently and disloyally larded the plan with unnecessary, expensive and poorly performing investment products and services.' "
Pensions & Investments

Peering Through the Fiduciary Rule's Uncertainty
"A direct order from President Trump regarding the fiduciary rule could be forthcoming imminently, and that is likely what it would take for the fiduciary rulemaking to truly be paused or killed outright at DOL."

A Better Methodology for Monitoring Target Date Funds, 2017
"The substantial growth in TDFs tracks a course similar to the evolution in plan design, as plan sponsors shift their retirement savings philosophy from an accumulation focus, with most retirement decisions driven by participants, to a retirement readiness focus, with retirement savings driven, to a greater extent, by plan design and investment strategies.... Although the responsibility for saving enough to meet retirement income still falls, in large part, on the participant in a defined contribution plan, plan design and investment strategies continue to evolve in ways that help drive successful participant outcomes."
Cammack Retirement Group

Text of ERISA Advisory Council Report: Participant Plan Transfers and Account Consolidation for the Advancement of Lifetime Plan Participation (PDF)
72 pages. "Based on the testimony, the Council is making recommendations to the Department in the areas of: [1] Data and technology standards and infrastructure; [2] Sample plan sponsor and participant communications; [3] Clarification regarding certain aspects of the Conflict of Interest Rule; [4] IRS rules, notices and education; [5] State and federal sponsored coverage gap initiatives." [Nov. 2016, released Jan. 24, 2017]
Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans [ERISA Advisory Council]

The Next Step for 401(k) Innovation: Auto-Portability
"Retirement plan owners with small balances need a simple, easy means to bring assets to their next employer's 401(k), experts say.... While the notion has been percolating for some time, a growing body of research is highlighting the benefits of consolidating employee assets so they can better grow their retirement nest eggs."
Institutional Investor

401(k) Contributions by Participants: What's the Right Amount?
"All of these studies assume that participants will contribute at the same rate for their entire 40-year careers. Unfortunately, most of us don't contribute at all at the beginning of our careers."
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants

State Retirement Savings Initiatives Do More Than Enhance Retirement Security for Private Sector Workers (PDF)
"As states look at programs to build retirement savings, they are also asking how a population better prepared for retirement would affect public safety-net programs.... [An] analysis showed a positive correlation between increased retirement savings sufficient to remove a percentage of currently vulnerable households off the poverty rolls by the time they retire, and a reduction in Medicaid spending."
Segal Consulting

2016 Pension Plan Report Card: Mostly Above Average
"Unlike the last few years, no major pension legislation was passed during 2016. We did see proposed regulations for incorporating new mortality tables into minimum funding, PBGC, and lump sum calculations. One significant theme in 2016 was risk transfers. This article reviews how the economic changes along with legislative and industry updates will shape the corporate pension plan landscape going into 2017."
P-Solve LLC

CalPERS Explains Impact to Employer Contributions Due to Reduction in the Assumed Rate of Return
"The result is two-fold: an increase in the normal cost of pension benefits and an increase in the unfunded accrued liability (UAL). This not only means an increase in employer contributions, but for those employees who are 'new members' under the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA), they too will see an increase in member contribution rates as these members are required by law to pay 50% of the normal cost of their retirement benefits."
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore


Target Date Funds and the Circular Reference Problem
"there is one structural challenge for the TDF sector, to which nobody has yet come up with a really satisfying solution. This is the problem of keeping providers' focus on the true end goal when the most immediate competitive pressure they face is to outperform their peers.... The best short-term performance -- and the best chance of winning new assets -- is achieved by those with the right tactical biases, not by those with the best long-term strategy.... [T]he industry needs to be diligent in keeping allocations focused on what's suited to the long-term goal, not just on performance league tables and peer-relative positioning."
Russell Investments

Benefits in General

Text of ERISA Advisory Council Report: Cybersecurity Considerations for Benefit Plans (PDF)
40 pages. "The 2016 Council believes that the [DOL] should raise awareness about cybersecurity risks and the key elements for developing a cybersecurity strategy specifically focused on benefit plans. The 2016 Council is providing suggested materials for plan sponsors, fiduciaries and service providers to utilize when developing a cybersecurity strategy and program in the form of the document included in the appendix of this report titled Employee Benefit Plans: Considerations for Navigating Cybersecurity Risks." [Nov. 2016, released Jan. 24, 2017]
Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans [ERISA Advisory Council]

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Text of IRS Audit Techniques Guide: Golden Parachute Payments (PDF)
10 pages. "The parachute examination can occur during the examination of either the corporation's or the individual's return. As the examination begins and throughout its course, [certain] items should be considered[.]"
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Press Releases

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2017, 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 those materials. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notices from copies of the content.

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