Retirement Plans Newsletter

March 29, 2017

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Retirement Plan Analyst
Benetrends, Inc.
in PA

Retirement Plan Analyst (Entry Level)
Benetrends, Inc.
in PA

Director, Plan Documents
Lincoln Financial Group
in IN, Telecommute

Relationship Manager
Newport Group
in TX

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Webcasts and Conferences

Rising Rx Costs: Why Costs Are Increasing and What Plan Sponsors Should Do
RECORDED
Segal Consulting

Whats Next for Health Policy?
April 4, 2017 WEBCAST
Alliance for Health Reform

Bells and Whistles: The Truth about Medical Plan Add-Ons
April 7, 2017 WEBCAST
Littler Mendelson

How to Understand and Manage Liability Exposure for 401(k) Committee Members
April 11, 2017 in IL
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Selling the Business to Your Employees Using an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)
April 12, 2017 WEBCAST
Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Developments in Executive Compensation, Fringe Benefits, and Information Reporting: Advance Planning to Reduce Audit, Class Action, and Whistleblower Challenges
April 13, 2017 in NY
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Insights from the 2016 Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans
April 19, 2017 in MO
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - St. Louis Chapter

403(b) Plans for 401(k) Administrators: Part 1
May 9, 2017 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

403(b) Plans for 401(k) Administrators: Part 2
May 10, 2017 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

403(b) Plans for 401(k) Administrators: Part 3
May 11, 2017 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Announces Prohibited Transaction Excise Tax Relief in Conjunction with DOL Temporary Enforcement Policy for Fiduciary Rule
"[IRS Announcement 2017-4] confirms that the IRS will not apply Section 4975 of the Code and related reported obligations with respect to any transaction or agreement to which the DOL's temporary enforcement policy, or other subsequent related enforcement guidance by the DOL, would apply.... [Neither the DOL's FAB 2017-01] nor the Announcement would be binding on a federal court hearing a private cause of action brought by a plan subject to Title I of ERISA or its participants for violations of the ERISA prohibited transaction rules during the period covered by the temporary enforcement policy."
Stradley Ronon

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Hospital Pension Plans Seek Relief in Supreme Court
"The oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court over the ability of religiously affiliated hospitals to treat their pension plans as 'church plans' amounted to a 60-minute catechism on statutory interpretation and legislative history ... Despite lurking questions of agency deference and church-state entanglement, the justices and attorneys on March 27 stuck closely to the question presented by the cases: Must a benefit plan be initially established by a church to qualify as a 'church plan' exempt from [ERISA]?" [Advocate Health v. Stapleton, Nos. 16-74, 16-86, 16-258 (consolidated cases argued Mar. 27, 2017)]
Bloomberg BNA

Raising the Bar: Supreme Court Resets the Standard for Some ERISA Fiduciaries (PDF)
"Until recently, plan fiduciaries had a legal presumption of prudence for their actions in connection with retirement plans containing company stock. The change ... emerged through the Amgen case and another decision, Fifth Third v. Dudenhoeffer ... If the court had only removed the presumption of prudence, it would have made it easier for plaintiffs to sue fiduciaries in stock drop cases. However, coupled with its newly articulated 'plausibility' test, a plaintiff's complaint will need to set forth much more detail to survive a defendant's motion to dismiss."
Lockton

DOL Fiduciary Rule Delay Sent to OMB
"The [DOL] is finished with its final rule mandating a 60-day delay in its controversial fiduciary rule. The DOL sent the final rule to the Office of Management and Budget [on March 28]. Once OMB reviews the rule and signs off, normally a short process, it will be published in the Federal Register and become effective. That is expected to happen well in advance of the fiduciary rule's April 10 applicability date."
InsuranceNewsNet.com

Understanding Your Fiduciary Role
This 23-minute audio uses the latest findings from JPMorgan's biennial plan sponsor survey to discuss plan sponsors' understanding of their fiduciary responsibilities to the plan and its participants.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management

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At BlackRock, Machines Are Rising Over Managers to Pick Stocks
"On [March 28] BlackRock laid out an ambitious plan to consolidate a large number of actively managed mutual funds with peers that rely more on algorithms and models to pick stocks.... The initiative is the most explicit action by a major fund management firm in reaction to the exodus of investors from actively managed stock funds to cheaper funds that track every variety of index and investment theme."
The New York Times; subscription may be required

Robo-Advisers Want the Fiduciary Rule, but Not the Litigation Risk
"Robo-advisers ... stand to win a lot of business even if the [DOL] fiduciary rule they avidly support is revised or scrapped. But as the number of retirement savers using robo-advisers increases, it's also creating the potential for those savers to lose a mechanism they might lean on to enforce their rights: class actions. That's because many robo-advisers require their customers to arbitrate disputes and give up their right to class actions -- one of the very things the fiduciary rule is attempting to curtail."
Bloomberg BNA

New Jersey Credit Rating Cut for 11th Time Under Gov. Christie
"Persistent underfunding of the state's public pension system and weak budgetary position contributed to the rating cut."
Reuters

[Opinion]

NJ Pension Proposal Would Exacerbate Pension Problems
"State legislators worried about New Jersey's deep pension debt are contemplating turning over administration of one of the largest retirement funds to workers and retirees. The idea behind the move sounds simple: Workers and retirees, who are beneficiaries of the system, can be relied on to run it well. The only problem is that this has already been tried around the country and has helped create some of the nation's biggest pension fiascos, as workers and unions have managed pensions for their benefit, leaving taxpayers on the hook for huge losses. This is not the kind of reform that Jersey residents facing tens of billions of dollars in pension debt need."
Philadelphia Inquirer

Benefits in General

Administrative Exhaustion as a Defense to Statutory ERISA Claims? Not So Much.
"[T]he Sixth Circuit joined six other circuit courts in holding that ERISA claims that seek vindication of statutory ERISA rights pertaining to the legality of a plan amendment, as opposed to an interpretation of the plan, are not subject to administrative exhaustion requirements. The Sixth Circuit joined the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits in so holding, while the Seventh and Eleventh Circuits require administrative exhaustion even where plaintiffs assert statutory rights." [Hitchcock v. Cumberland Univ. 403(b) DC Plan, No. 16-5942 (6th Cir. Mar. 14, 2017)]
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

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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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