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[Official Guidance]

Text of Proposed PTE to Allow Owner-Trustee to Guarantee Loan to Real Estate Operating Company Owned by 401(k) Plan
22 pages. "The Plan is a 401(k) Plan sponsored by Rosetree, a licensed CPA firm, insurance agency, and registered investment adviser. Mr. Rosenbaum (the Applicant) is the sole shareholder and employee of Rosetree.... Kurtson is a real estate operating company that is wholly owned by the Plan.... Kurtson seeks an initial Loan from [an unrelated lender] in order to acquire and rehabilitate a new investment property that will serve as the Collateral Property for the Loan."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]


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[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Department Notice of Multiemployer Pension Plan Application to Reduce Benefits: Southwest Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Plan
"The Board of Trustees of the Southwest Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Plan (SWORCC Pension Plan) ... has submitted an application to reduce benefits under the plan in accordance with [MPRA].... [T]he application ... has been published on the Treasury website, and ... public comments [are requested] from interested parties, including participants and beneficiaries, employee organizations, and contributing employers of the SWORCC Pension Plan."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review, Comment Request: Mergers and Transfers Between Multiemployer Plans
"Section 4231(a) and (b) of [ERISA] requires plans that are involved in a merger or transfer to give PBGC 120 days' notice of the transaction and provides that if PBGC determines that specified requirements are satisfied, the transaction will be deemed not to be in violation of ERISA section 406(a) or (b)(2) (dealing with prohibited transactions). PBGC's regulation on Mergers and Transfers Between Multiemployer Plans (29 CFR part 4231) sets forth the procedures for giving notice of a merger or transfer under section 4231 and for requesting a determination that a transaction complies with section 4231.... PBGC intends to request that OMB extend its approval for another three years."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Duty, Opportunity, Mastery: Investment Committee Best Practices
"The purpose of this paper is to provide investment committee members with practical guidance on meeting their fiduciary responsibility through proper debate and documentation, constructing their committee thoughtfully with well-vetted leaders and members with diverse skills and backgrounds, conducting well-structured and productive meetings, and anticipating and resisting counterproductive behavior."

Understanding the Dynamics of Rollovers, Roll-Ins, and IRA Transfers
"Unlike rollover transactions, more roll-in participants discuss their decisions with their employers than with advisors, DC plan provider call centers, or others. Although the most common method of transferring from one IRA to another is by means of a self-directed online transaction, this method is strongly associated with younger owners; older owners typically have an advisor handle the transaction."


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Investing Is Out of the Comfort Zone for Many Americans (PDF)
"Seven in 10 Americans (71%) consider themselves to be prepared to make wise financial decisions, but over four in 10 do not know how their assets are allocated (42%) or what products they are currently invested in (43%). This lack of knowledge of their own investment products is even more pronounced for investors who are Millennials (55%), female (56%), or less affluent (59%), compared to their respective counterparts."

Retirement Savings Still a Potential Target in Tax Reform Negotiations
"According to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation published in January, defined-contribution plans will cost the federal government nearly $584 billion in lost tax revenue over 2016-20.... Of course, this supposed 'lost' revenue only appears lost due to a budgeting gimmick, observers said. The government eventually recoups tax revenue from these pre-tax deferrals decades in the future when individuals retire, but the revenue falls outside the 10-year budget window Congress uses for tax scoring."

AICPA Proposes New Standard for ERISA Plan Audits
"The [DOL's] chief accountant had asked the [AICPA Audit Standards Board] to review the auditor reporting model for ERISA plan audits and provide improved public insight about the scope of responsibilities for management and the auditor. That review also was to include when management limits the audit scope, which is permitted by the DOL's ERISA regulations. DOL recommendations were considered as the proposed standard was developed."

Priest Retirement: Unanswered Questions Can Have Unintended Consequences (PDF)
"When asked who is financially responsible for retirement, most priests respond that it is a shared responsibility. However, there is no consensus on what this means (e.g., equal sharing, diocese has the majority, priest has the majority, etc.). Perhaps the most uniform response is related to the question, 'Does the Diocese do a good job providing you with retirement planning information?' Surveys show that 60%-80% respond with a 'NO' to this question."
Gabriel, Roeder, Smith and Company


Financial Planning Coalition Comment Letter to DOL on Proposed Re-Examination of Fiduciary Rule (PDF)
41 pages. "The Financial Planning Coalition, comprised of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Financial Planning Association ® and National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, submits the following comments ... [Topics include:] The Department's Rushed Reconsideration Process Contradicts the Prior Comprehensive Process for Promulgating the Final Rule ... The Department Must Ensure the Regulatory Impact Analysis Adequately Accounts for Investor Harm ... Modification or Repeal of the Final Rule is Contrary to ERISA's Language and Purpose ... The Final Rule Will Not Drive Firms and Advisers Out of Business ... The Final Rule Will Not Diminish Availability of Services to Middle- Income Americans."
Financial Planning Coalition


Houston's Financial Future Will Be Decided in Large Part in This Legislative Session
"Houston currently owes $8.2 billion in pension debt -- more than any other city in Texas. It does not have enough money to pay for nearly half of the retirement benefits workers have already earned.... Under the [pension reform proposal currently pending in the Texas legislature], the city would lower its assumed rate of return on investments for all plans from 8 percent or more to 7 percent; reduce benefits for public workers; and implement a financial corridor provision that would cap the city's contributions to the pension plans."
Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Benefits in General

Alex Acosta Becomes Secretary of Labor
"Secretary Acosta will face an entrenched bureaucracy at the labor department that may resist his efforts to undo many of the regulations they helped draft over the past eight years ... Among the sub-regulatory challenges will likely be restoring agency-binding, case-by-case 'opinion letters' in place of administrative interpretations, which replaced opinion letters in the previous administration[.]"
Ogletree Deakins

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and How They Intersect with Defined Contribution Plans: Survey Results
11 pages. "The majority (75.3 percent) of employers view the HSA as part of their retirement benefits strategy. Nearly 60 percent of employers believe HSAs should replace Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and nearly three-fourths of employers think that HSAs should be open to all employees, not just those enrolled in a high-deductible health plan."
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]

Press Releases

New CEBS Designation Curriculum Model Announced
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

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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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