Retirement Plans Newsletter

March 14, 2017

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Interest Rate Update for Valuation and Benefit Payments in Single-Employer Plans, April and Second Quarter, 2017
"The second quarter 2017 interest assumptions under the allocation regulation will be 2.15 percent for the first 20 years following the valuation date and 2.60 percent thereafter.... The April 2017 interest assumptions under the benefit payments regulation will be 1.00 percent for the period during which a benefit is in pay status and 4.00 percent during any years preceding the benefit's placement in pay status."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

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[Guidance Overview]

Fiduciary Rules and 401(k) Hardship Distributions: The Latest
"An interesting byproduct of the regulatory process over the past several years is that both advisors and plan-related clients have been sensitized to many of the issues addressed -- albeit sometimes clumsily -- in the fiduciary regulation. For example, should a plan require that its investment advisor act as a fiduciary, even if the regulation ends up not requiring this? If not, why would a plan want to retain someone who is not required to act in the plan's best interest?"
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center LLP

[Guidance Overview]

New IRS Guidance Makes Substantiating Hardship Withdrawals Easier (PDF)
"While not intended to be a statement of law, the memorandum provides IRS examiners with insight as to how to evaluate a plan's hardship withdrawal program. Most importantly, the memorandum provides plan sponsors an alternative, and much less burdensome, process to meet their hardship substantiation obligations."
Lockton

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues Temporary Enforcement Guidance on Fiduciary Rule
"Although the enforcement policy provides regulatory relief to financial institutions and other service providers, it cannot completely alleviate concerns about the fiduciary rule's approaching applicability date because the fiduciary rule provides for private rights of action.... Accordingly, the DOL's enforcement policy does not insulate financial institutions and other retirement plan service providers from all potential liability if the fiduciary rule were to become applicable."
Kilpatrick Townsend

The Takeaway from FAB 2017-01 Guidance on Fiduciary Rule Is 'Significant'
"It's significant given that the only enforcement mechanism that was supposed to be effective prior to Jan. 1, 2018 is DOL enforcement. Essentially, so long as the DOL isn't enforcing, there is no reason to comply."
RIABiz

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Eight Circuit Remands Tussey v. ABB, Inc. for Second Time, Instructs District Court to Evaluate Methods of Measuring Plan Losses Caused by Fiduciary Breach
"[T]he Eighth Circuit had proposed an alternative method of calculating losses ... but on remand the district court erroneously considered itself bound by that proposal. The Eight Circuit in the second appeal stated that the district court was not bound to follow that proposal but instead was required to: [1] Evaluate several different possible methods for measuring losses before choosing the proper method. [2] Consider the plan participants' contentions about why, in their view, the Eighth Circuit's proposed method of valuing the plan participants' losses was not the correct method to apply." [Tussey v. ABB, Inc., No. 15-2792 (8th Cir. Mar. 9, 2017)]
Practical Law Company

Emergency Request to Block DOL Fiduciary Rule Filed in Texas Court
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and industry groups suing the Labor Department over its fiduciary rule in a Texas court filed an emergency request Friday asking a judge to stop the rule from taking effect while they take their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.... The Chamber and SIFMA appeal came the same day that [the DOL] issued a temporary enforcement policy regarding its fiduciary rule."
ThinkAdvisor

The Misperception of Fiduciary Risk and Active Management in DC Plans: A Legal Perspective
"This white paper aims to help fiduciaries navigate the waters of plan investment selection and monitoring processes by: [1] Decoding the legal standards that apply to fiduciaries who are responsible for choosing investment options for their plans. [2] Identifying some guiding principles drawn from legal authorities that may assist fiduciaries assessing investment strategies such as active and passive as part of a plan lineup. [3] Emphasizing the importance of process as the most important factor in fiduciary decision-making."
T. Rowe Price

401(k) Fees: Questions Frequently Asked by Plan Fiduciaries
"What are the basic types of 401k fees? ... How are 401k providers compensated today? ... What's the best resource for finding my 401k provider's fees? ... What's the process for totaling my 401k plan fees? ... How do I benchmark my 401k plan fees?"
Employee Fiduciary

Five Things Every New CFO Should Know About the 401(k) Plan
"[1] Compliance: Understanding fiduciary responsibilities and liabilities ... [2] Investments: What are the options and are they low cost? ... [3] Overall plan costs: How much does your current plan cost and how much would your ideal plan cost? ... [4] Administrative work: Who is doing what for whom? ... [5] Employee experience: How well is the 401(k) serving the employees?"
ForUsAll

PBGC 2015 Data Book (PDF)
27 pages. This edition of the PBGC Data Book, updated for the PBGC's 2015 fiscal year, contains financial information about the PBGC and the single-employer and multiemployer pension plans for which it provides benefit guarantees, with charts comparing the data to prior years. PBGC is now releasing data in groups, as they become available. The first release includes data in the Summary Tables, Claims Tables and Multiemployer Graphical Supplement. A Multiemployer Supplement includes time series data on participants in plans by zone status (as defined by PPA '06) through 2014.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

How Has the Shift to 401(k) Plans Affected Retirement Income?
"This analysis addresses how the transition from defined benefit to defined contribution plans affected retirement wealth and income during 1992-2010. The results show: [1] total retirement wealth from employer plans was roughly flat, and this wealth is now more skewed toward those with more education; [2] the income produced by each dollar of retirement wealth has declined, despite a tendency for workers to retire later; and [3] the amount of income relative to a worker's earnings has declined. The bottom line is that employer plans are providing less retirement income today than in the past."
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Lack of Understanding Linked to Low IRA Ownership
"28 percent of Americans who don't own an individual retirement account (IRA) say they don't know enough about them to invest in one. Another 17 percent indicate that IRAs are too complicated ... People who do have IRAs listed three factors as the biggest help getting started: [1] personal support from a financial advisor (40 percent), [2] general educational information about IRAs (25 percent), and [3] a clear and simple process to open an IRA (10 percent)."
TIAA

Puerto Rico Oversight Board Approves Fiscal Plan with Pension Changes
"[Puerto Rico's Financial Oversight and Management Board] and the government will take 30 days to work out a specific plan to be finalized by June 30, 2017, based on funding existing pension obligations on a pay-as-you-go basis, liquidating assets and using general fund revenues; enrolling all active members and new hires in defined contribution accounts to pay for future benefits; and progressively reducing total pension benefit payments by 10%. The oversight board has projected that Puerto Rico's three main pension plans could run out of money by fiscal year 2018."
Pensions & Investments

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Compensation Committee Actions and Disclosure: What to Address in Your February/March Meeting
"To satisfy Code 162(m), within the first 90 days of the performance period, the compensation committee must approve performance goals for the period and certify that the company has achieved the performance goals it had established for prior periods (2016 for short-term incentive plans and 2014-2016 for many long-term plans). Generally, the incentive plan payout for the recently completed year [2016] must be made by March 15, to comply with Code Section 409A."
Winston & Strawn LLP

GOP Health Plan Would Boost Deductibility of Executive Compensation for Health Insurers
"By repealing this $500,000 deduction limit, nonpublic health insurers will be able to fully deduct executive compensation beginning in 2018 and publicly traded health insurers will be treated the same as all other public companies under Section 162(m) of the tax code. That provision generally limits compensation deductions to $1 million for the CEO and the other three highest-paid employees (excluding the CFO) and excludes performance-based pay."
Willis Towers Watson

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

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