Retirement Plans Newsletter

March 22, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Defined Contribution Account Manager (Combo Plans)
Nova 401(k) Associates
in AZ, TX, Telecommute

Regional Vice President, Group Retirement Plans
Ohio National Financial Services
in MN

Actuary
West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board
in WV

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Webcasts and Conferences

Making the Connection: How to Make Your Benefits Communications Work
April 3, 2017 WEBCAST
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Why Employee Loans Are an Important Voluntary Benefit
April 5, 2017 WEBCAST
Employee Loan Solutions, Inc.

401(k) / 403(b) Investment Lineup
May 9, 2017 in CA
Pensions & Investments

Health & Welfare Plans - Plan Types and Administration (B3): Get It Right from the Start
June 8, 2017 in MA
New England Employee Benefits Council

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Discussions


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[Guidance Overview]

DOL Edges Toward Delay on Expanded Fiduciary/Conflict of Interest Rules
"[W]hile [FAB 2017-01] signals the DOL's enforcement intentions, it does not give financial institutions much additional time to comply, and compliance often requires material changes in business practices. The enforcement reprieve is the statement of only one stakeholder in these changes, so does not provide absolute protection to financial institutions from failure to comply with the Fiduciary Rule beginning on April 10, 2017, absent an official delay being issued before that date."
Frost Brown Todd LLC

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[Guidance Overview]

The Paradox of Participant Loans in Default: A Taxable Distribution of a Loan Balance Still Considered to Remain Outstanding
"[K]eeping two sets of books is sometimes a legitimate practice, required precisely to comply with IRS rules that regulate different aspects of each set of books. For example, the difference between deemed distributions of loans in default and the actual loan offset requires a double set of books.... The first set of books is needed to comply with the taxable distribution rules and the second one to comply with the top-heavy test and the maximum available loan computations."
Belfint Lyons & Shuman, CPAs

Text of District Court Opinion Denying Request for Emergency Injunction Delaying DOL Fiduciary Rule (PDF)
"Compliance costs already incurred cannot constitute the irreparable harm Plaintiffs must show because the standard is inherently prospective. Plaintiffs do not argue that additional compliance costs between now and the applicability date would be substantial or prohibitively expensive." [U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. DOL, No. 16-1476 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 20, 2017)]
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Disgorgement Claims Continue to Confound Courts in ERISA Class Actions
"Courts continue to be split over the availability of disgorgement and 'accounting for profits' in ERISA class actions involving in-house investment plans.... [In] some of these cases, the reason for the dismissal appears to turn on fiduciary status.... As [one] court explained, accounting and disgorgement claims are claims for equitable relief, but claims seeking these remedies against non-fiduciary parties are generally considered legal (i.e., not equitable) claims. As a result, the court required tracing."
Jackson Lewis P.C.

The Top Four Lies Told by 401(k) Providers
"[1] Your 401(k) plan is free ... [2] I can setup your 401(k) plan in 15 minutes ... [3] Index funds deliver only average returns ... [4] I will eliminate your fiduciary liability."
Employee Fiduciary

[Advert.]

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Interesting Angles on the DOL's Fiduciary Rule, Part 41
"[T]he delay of the new fiduciary rule does not mean that we are 'rule-less.' Instead, the 'old' rule, and exemptions, which have been place for decades, will continue to apply. Does that mean that we are back in the 'good old days' where we won't need to pay attention to the application of the fiduciary rule to IRAs? ... Over the past few years, a tremendous amount of attention has been paid to the meaning and consequences of being a fiduciary ... And, with this newfound attention, it is possible that many common practices will, when closely examined, result in fiduciary status under the old rule."
FredReish.com

Active Management vs. Passive Asset Management in 401(k) Accounts
"Recent research suggests [that] active management is unlikely to produce returns that beat passive index investing. [One study] looked at the composition of target date funds that would be hypothetically used in retirement accounts (i.e. 401(k)s). The passive indexes were comprised of common industry benchmarks with modest fees deducted, and several methods of choosing active managers were pitted against the passive returns."
ForUsAll

The Four Pillars for Retirement Income Portfolios
"[A] retirement portfolio has multiple ways to generate the desired cash flows for retirement. And in fact, in a low yield environment, it can be especially important to diversify across all four pillars -- or retirees take on additional risks in stretching for yield, from interest rate and default risk (from longer-term or lower-quality bonds), to the concentration risks of buying just a subset of the highest dividend-paying sectors (which, as the financial crisis showed, can expose the portfolio to severe risk along the way!)."
Nerd's Eye View

Strategies to Make the Most of Your Retirement Assets
"In the future, if the government has to increase taxes one of the first doors they may knock will be these type of accounts.... One strategy to review if standard deductions go up is the benefit of converting a portion of your qualified retirement asset to a Roth IRA.... Another option to avoid paying higher taxes in the future is to position a portion of your qualified money into a QLAC.... If tax rates go down and standard deductions increase; delaying your Social Security benefit could prove to be a solid long-term tax play."
Slott Report

[Opinion]

Stupid Public Pension Trends: Divestment Expands
"Once the California politicians are done going through removing all the deplorables from being considered from pension investments, they'll be left with some artisanal gluten-free bread company in Vancouver.... [P]oliticians have no fiduciary duty to the pension funds.... In some of these cases, the 'dirty' investments should not be invested in, because the financial outlook is bad. But in some of the cases the depth of analysis seems to be 'we think this stuff is bad, so obviously it can't keep making money.' "
STUMP

[Opinion]

A Progressive Take on Public Pensions
"[We] see a great inequity between private and public workers generally, and especially the highest paid government employees who qualify for gold plated pensions. To level the playing field, perhaps some Progressives would agree that benefits for the richest pension beneficiaries should be capped or taxed. Savings realized by the state and by local governments could go to restoring public services lost due to increasing pension costs, or to bolstering the assets of public pension plans -- making them more sustainable over the long term."
Marc Joffe of the California Policy Center, via PensionTsunami

Benefits in General

Implementing Global Benefits Governance (PDF)
"Corporate governance of employee benefits is an increasingly important consideration for companies because the financial costs and risks of benefits have grown significantly and companies need to ensure sufficient value in sponsoring benefits programs. Auditors are also increasingly interested in corporate governance, and that includes benefits governance. Centralization of benefits governance has followed from all of this."
Groom Law Group

IRS Plans to Begin Issuing 'Sub-Regulatory' Guidance Again
"The [IRS] is continuing to have productive conversations with the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. And 'as we've been having discussions, we have made clear -- and people have agreed -- that a lot of the sub-regulatory guidance we issue is really for the benefit of the taxpayers,' he said March 21 ... 'I think we will begin to issue some greater guidance in those areas.' "
Bloomberg BNA

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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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