Retirement Plans Newsletter

March 28, 2017

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Webcasts and Conferences

Tools You Need to Help FSA-HRA-HSA All Get Along!
April 12, 2017 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Houston Chapter

Understanding the New York Paid Family Leave Law
April 18, 2017 in NY
Hodgson Russ

Iíll See You in Court! ERISA Litigation Update 2016 / 2017
April 20, 2017 in CA
Western Pension & Benefits Council - Orange County Chapter

Compensation: Distinctions with a Difference 2017
April 27, 2017 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

Alternative Benefits Without the Sales Pressure
April 27, 2017 in GA
ISCEBS - Georgia Chapter

Highly Compensated Employees: Who are These People
May 4, 2017 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

401(k) / 403(b) Investment Lineup
May 18, 2017 in NY
Pensions & Investments

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Announcement 2017-4: Non-Applicability of Section 4975 Excise Taxes to Conform with DOL Temporary Enforcement Policy on Fiduciary Duty Rule (PDF)
"This announcement provides relief from certain excise taxes under Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code, and any related reporting requirements, to conform to the temporary enforcement policy described by the [DOL] in Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2017-01 with respect to the final fiduciary duty rule ... and related prohibited transaction exemptions[.]"
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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Pensions on Peachtree -- Atlanta, GA -- April 24-25

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Presented by FIS Relius and Ferenczy Benefits Law Center: general and breakout sessions covering current topics including new IRS guidance on forfeitures and SH contributions; fiduciary regs; plan documents; and Ethics. 15 CE credits, incl. 2 Ethics. Register now.


IRS Requests Input for May Webinar on Minimum Present Value Requirements for Defined Benefit Plans
"The presentation will be posted to the IRS Video Portal in May 2017. The webinar will cover: [1] Final Regulations on IRC Section 417(e) partial annuity distributions; [2] Proposed regulations on other IRC Section 417(e)(3) requirements; [3] Types of benefit payments subject to minimum present value requirements; [4] Application of mortality discounts; [5] Proposed clarification of existing IRC Section 417(e)(3) rules. Email IRS [at tege.outreach@irs.gov] by 5 p.m. ET on April 17, 2017, with any suggestions for this presentation."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Transcript of Supreme Court Oral Argument in Consolidated 'Church Plan' Appeals (PDF)
74 pages. From opening statement by counsel for petitioners: "Pension plans for religious non-profits have been exempt from ERISA for over 30 years, whether or not a church established the plan. And the contrary holding of the three courts below should be reversed for three reasons. First, the text does not require a church to establish benefit plans for someone else's employees. Second, the government's consistent view, over three decades, has generated enormous reliance interest and warrants deference. And third, affirmance would resurrect the precise problems that everyone understood the 1980 amendment would fix." [Advocate Health v. Stapleton, Nos. 16-74, 16-86, 16-258 (consolidated cases argued Mar. 27, 2017)]
Supreme Court of the United States

Justices Seem Hesitant About Extending ERISA to Church-Affiliated Pension Plans
"By the end of the argument, several of the justices seemed to coalesce around a likely outcome, reflecting an unwillingness to extend ERISA to cover plans that have been treated as exempt by the [IRS] and other federal agencies for 30 years. As a textual matter, each party's position has an obvious weakness, and the justices explored those weaknesses when questioning the advocates." [Advocate Health v. Stapleton, Nos. 16-74, 16-86, 16-258 (consolidated cases argued Mar. 27, 2017)]
SCOTUSblog

Religious Exemption Confounds High Court
"The justices of the Supreme Court struggled to divine meaning Monday from the omission of two words in a revised law that says religious groups need not face federal employee benefit regulations. Complicating the issue is that a church may be directly involved in the creation and maintenance of a plan, or -- in the case of a church-affiliated hospital, for example -- it may have nothing to do with it." [Advocate Health v. Stapleton, Nos. 16-74, 16-86, 16-258 (consolidated cases argued Mar. 27, 2017)]
Courthouse News Service

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Embezzlement of 401(k) Deferrals by COO of Architecture Firm is (Doubly) Costly
"[T]he Second Circuit Court of Appeals ... ruled: [1] Restitution and forfeiture are authorized by separate statutes with different purposes; [2] The court could not find any statutory authority to reduce a criminal forfeiture by restitution paid or payable; and [3] 'Criminal forfeiture is a form of punishment' and distinct from civil remedies to make victims whole. Result[:] the errant fiduciary had to pay twice the amount taken from the retirement plan." [U.S. v Bodouva, No. 16-3937 (2d Cir. Mar. 22, 2017)]
Stinson Leonard Street

DOL Rule Generates Flood of Comments and Petitions
"The DOL reported 1,001 individual comments received during the [15-day comment] period, which closed March 17. These comments came from all corners -- activists, consumers, advisors and agents, companies such as Northwestern Mutual, trade associations and even lawmakers -- and appear split for and against the rule."
InsuranceNewsNet.com

Industry-Wide Shift as Investors Find Sustainable Value Through ESG
"[T]raditional obstacles to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing are fading, while one significant barrier remains: the lack of transparent, standardized and quality data.... [N]early all ... institutional investors surveyed want companies to explicitly identify ESG factors that materially affect performance, while 60 percent note a lack of industry standards for measuring ESG performance as a significant barrier to full integration."
State Street Corporation

Equity Exposure in Defined Benefit Plans
"Equity allocations among the largest defined benefit plans averaged 56.9% as of Sept. 30, up from 55.2% in 2015 a year earlier and in-line with Sept. 30, 2014, allocations. Looking at equity allocations in periods prior to years when equities decline in at least two consecutive quarters, DB plans have less exposure than they did in 2008 and 2011."
Pensions & Investments

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College Professors Give Themselves a 'B' Grade in Financial Literacy
"[N]early one third (29 percent) of professors aren't sure of the investment mix of their retirement savings, suggesting they don't know if the investments they selected align to a specific financial goal and timeline.... When it comes to the financial wellness of non-faculty employees, 64 percent say they often worry about their financial situation, compared to 44 percent of professors."
Fidelity

The Top Three Retirement Plans for Small Businesses
"The 401(k) Plan offers the most flexibility (and high contribution limits) ... SEP IRAs are pretty easy to start and 100% funded by the employer.... The SIMPLE IRA is a solid, affordable option."
Butterfield Schechter LLP

Traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA: No, the Roth Isn't No-Brainer
"A recent NerdWallet study concluded that most people are likely to come away with more money after taxes in retirement if they contribute the maximum $5,500 a year to a Roth IRA rather than putting that same amount into a traditional IRA. But before you start rushing to a Roth, you need to understand why even though Roths do come out ahead in many cases, they can also fall behind in many others."
Money

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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