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[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Department Notice of Multiemployer Pension Plan Application to Reduce Benefits: New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund
"The Board of Trustees of the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund, a multiemployer pension plan, has submitted an application to reduce benefits under the plan in accordance with [MPRA]. The purpose of this notice is to announce that the application ... has been published on the Treasury website, and to request public comments on the application from interested parties, including participants and beneficiaries, employee organizations, and contributing employers of the [fund]."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

[Advert.]'s Chicago Regional One-Day Conference

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[Guidance Overview]

June 9 Is the Date for Fiduciary Rule Applicability.... for Now
"The level-to-level exemption ... resolves the difficulties with which plan fiduciaries have struggled for years to provide participants with access to good distribution and rollover advice, while avoiding engaging in impermissible behavior. And it has the added benefit of holding all advisors to the same standard, whether they work with the plan or not.... [T]he part of the Rule that makes someone who responds to a client's request for the name of a reliable investment advisor a potential fiduciary needs to be removed or modified so that it does not disrupt the good relationship between financial advisors and TPAs."
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center LLP

Why Hire a '3(38)' Adviser for a Public Agency 457(b) or 401(a) Plan?
"In California, many public agencies' retirement plan committees are unaware that unless they fulfill certain ERISA-like requirements with respect to their participant-directed 457(b) and 401(a) plans, they can be held personally liable for investment losses suffered by plan participants.... [W]hat can they do to protect themselves? More importantly, what can they do to improve the overall investment process within their plan?"
Chang Ruthenberg & Long PC

The Appeal and Pitfalls of Holding Unconventional Assets in Retirement Accounts
"Real estate, private equity and hedge funds are the most common 'unconventional' assets held in retirement accounts ... Alternative assets are typically lauded for their return potential and low correlation to traditional asset classes.... [I]t's easy to inadvertently run afoul of the IRS' prohibited transaction rules ... Valuation also presents a challenge, depending on the asset.... RMDs themselves pose a problem. How does one take a distribution from an illiquid asset?"

A Tech-Enabled Future -- and Present -- for Investment Advice
"The future of investment advice will lie at the intersection of technology and humanity ... Clients -- and not just younger ones -- want access to information, want to see it in a lot of different ways, and want to be able to do more things online. But they still want to talk to somebody, ... Regulatory pressure is playing a major role in how advisers are able to deliver advice, ... Automated solutions and declining fees also are changing the advice environment."
Investment Company Institute [ICI]


The WBC - Regulatory Rollercoaster: Are You Ready for the Ride?

Sponsored by ASPPA and WP&BC

The Western Benefits Conference is the only Annual, Multi-day, Comprehensive Employee Benefits Conference west of the Rockies. Highly interactive sessions, Thought leaders, Practical industry leading ideas, Networking, Valuable CE credits – and more!

Lawsuit Filed for Retirement Plans Using United of Omaha GICs
"The lawsuit alleges United of Omaha breached its ERISA duties by improperly exercising its discretionary authority 'to maximize its own compensation and retain large profits rather than crediting the participants and beneficiaries of the plans with appropriate returns.' "

A Process to Ease Plan Participants Into Retirement
"It is important to quantify the employees' visions of retirement before focusing on how their assets, income sources and expenses fit into a work-sponsored retirement plan.... Many times just working an extra year or two satisfies the shortfalls that a client might see later in their retirement.... [F]or most people is that working one extra year with some type of savings plan takes care of three years of expenses in retirement."
Briggs Matsko, via Employee Benefit Adviser

D.C.-Area Lawmakers Vow to Fight Proposed Federal Retirement Benefit Cuts
"Members of Congress representing districts near the nation's capital are gearing up for a fight with the Trump administration over the proposals to reduce federal employee retirement benefits in the president's fiscal 2018 budget plan.... [T]he budget proposed an increase in employee contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System over the next six years, an elimination of cost of living adjustments for employees and retirees under FERS and a 0.5 percent reduction in COLAs for Civil Service Retirement System participants. The budget blueprint also would eliminate the subsidy for FERS workers who retire before Social Security kicks in at age 62."
Government Executive

Teamsters to Propose Fix for Pensions, But Will It Work?
"The proposal calls for Congress to create a nonprofit private-sector corporation tasked primarily with making loans to poorly funded plans or to employers that participate in such plans. Money for the loans would come from bond purchases by investors. Payments on the bonds would be guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury."
Bloomberg BNA


401(k)s Need to Be Easier to Move from Job to Job
"[In] most cases as employees move from one large employer with a low-fee 401(k) to another, the smartest move would be to roll over their balances from the old plan to the new plan. But given the enormous hurdles, participants are much more likely to cash out or move their balances into a high-fee IRA. Cashouts and high fees dramatically reduce balances at retirement. This problem is fixable."
Alicia Munnell, via MarketWatch


ICI Comment Letter to EBSA: 'On the Road to Retirement' Survey (PDF)
14 pages. "Extend the survey project beyond two years.... Increase the size of the sample.... Create an advisory panel.... Make the data public, and promote the use of the data by outside researchers.... Improve the wording and design of the survey instruments."
Investment Company Institute [ICI]

Benefits in General

Court Supports Plans' Freedom to Craft Own Process for Beneficiary Designations
"The problem with the doctrine of substantial compliance is that it undermines the preference for straightforward administrative rules favored by the Supreme Court ... because it leaves the lower court to decide issues such as what level of compliance is 'good enough' to express the plan participant's intent to change a beneficiary.... [One recent case] stated that under the federal common law equitable doctrine of substantial compliance developed in the absence of specific ERISA statutory provisions on beneficiaries, a beneficiary designation should be honored if there is evidence that a participant intended to make a change and the participant takes action similar to the action required by the plan." [Ruiz v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., No. 17-135 (M.D. Fla. March 30, 2017)]

Discussions on
the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Educational Resources for New TPA Administration Firm
"For someone with no experience getting into TPA service, what would you recommend as educational sources? Specifically on designing 401(k) plans and obtaining approved safe harbor agreements?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

One-Participant Plan and Form 5500-SF
"We are instructing our new solo 401(k) clients that they should file a Form 5500-SF instead of the Form 5500-EZ. Do the same rules apply for the asset level that requires a filing? In order words, is it correct that even a Form 5500-SF is not required for a solo 401(k) until the assets exceed $250,000?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Any Possible Fix to This Loan in Default?
"An owner takes out a loan in October 2016 with monthly scheduled payments. He doesn't make a payment by the time we notice in May 2017. Is there anything that can be done to make it so the loan is not in default? After all, if he had taken out the loan with quarterly scheduled payments, the first missed payment wouldn't have occurred until Jan, and the loan wouldn't have defaulted until June 30."
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Expenses Associated with Purchase of Primary Residence, for Hardship Withdrawal Purposes
"Participant wants a hardship withdrawal to purchase a primary residence. Can he be reimbursed for the down payment he's already made, or for the amount going into escrow for property tax and homeowners insurance which would be part of the monthly mortgage payments? These would not seem to be 'immediate and heavy financial needs'."
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Fiduciary Benchmarks Corporate Expansion
Fiduciary Benchmarks, Inc.

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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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