Retirement Plans Newsletter

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Employee Benefits Jobs

Webcasts and Conferences

FMLA Certifications: How To Get The Medical Information You Need To Designate Leave And Decrease Abuse
July 19, 2017 WEBCAST

Employer Benefit Plan Design Evolution: The Alliance Annual Benefits Roundtable
July 25, 2017 WEBCAST
The Alliance

Is an ESOP Right for You?
July 25, 2017 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

Segregating Accounts
August 24, 2017 WEBCAST
ESOP Association

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Safe Harbor 401(k) Establishment Deadline Fast Approaching
"It is critical that the accounts are open -- and remember that it takes 4 to 6 weeks to get this done because enrollment meetings must be scheduled and participants must be able to defer income by the first payroll in October. You can't just adopt the document by the October 1 deadline and do all the account details later -- it all must be done by this decisive October 1st deadline."


Online Learning Course: Fiduciary Responsibilities for ERISA Plans - BenefitsLink discount

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Understand the requirements of ERISA, including penalties, vesting requirements, fiduciary responsibilities, plans covered by the PBGC, and the roles of the various enforcement agencies. Use code BL2017 for 15% discount - good through July 31.

2015 PBGC Data Insurance Tables (PDF)
27 pages. "PBGC is now releasing data in groups, as they become available. This second release includes data in the Premium and Covered Plan Information Tables."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Duty of Cost-Consciousness: The Fiduciary 'Gotcha' You Think You Understand ... but You Probably Don't
"[I]mplicit in the fiduciary duty of prudence is a duty to be cost-conscious. The Restatement provides guidance to fiduciaries in meeting [this] duty ... [T]wo investments that would appear to be prime targets for plaintiffs' ERISA attorneys are variable annuities and actively managed mutual funds. Both of these products have legitimate cost efficiency issues, thereby drawing the attention of the plaintiffs' bar."
The Prudent Investment Adviser Rules

DOL Releases Request for Information on Fiduciary Rule (PDF)
"[T]he RFI seeks comments upon whether the Transition Period should extend beyond January 1, 2018. Specifically, [one] question is whether an additional delay in the January 1, 2018 applicability date would allow for more effective retirement investor assistance and help avoid needless or excessive expense as firms build systems and compliance structures that may ultimately be unnecessary or mismatched with the DOL's final decisions on the issues raised by the Presidential Memorandum."
Groom Law Group

Marathon Petroleum Execs Sued Over Stock in Retirement Plan
"The lawsuit, a proposed class action filed under [ERISA], is a novel twist on the typical case challenging companies that put employer stock in their workers' retirement plan. A Marathon Petroleum worker claims that ERISA's special protections for employer stock investments don't apply to the $88 million worth of Marathon Oil stock in the plan, because the two companies have been independent and unaffiliated since a 2011 corporate spinoff."
Bloomberg BNA

General Mills to Freeze U.S. Pension Plans at the End of 2027
"Effective Jan. 1, 2028, active employees in the U.S. pension plans, which had a combined $5.925 billion in assets as of May 31, the end of General Mills' fiscal year, will not accrue additional benefits ... General Mills has a 401(k) plan, the General Mills 401(k) Savings Plan, with $3.26 billion in assets as of Dec.31, 2015[.]"
Pensions & Investments

The San Francisco Retirement System: Increasing Understanding and Adding Voter Oversight (PDF)
36 pages. "As of June 30, 2016, the City and County of San Francisco (City) owes its Retirement System $5.8 1 billion; this is more than half of the City's entire 2 016 budget ($ 8. 94 billion).... [T]he main underlying cause is the retroactive retirement benefit increases implemented by voter-approved propositions between 1996 and 2008. These retroactive increases were very expensive gifts to employees and retirees from taxpayers, paid for with money borrowed at a high interest rate from the Retirement System, and paid back over 20 years by taxpayers. The financial details of these retroactive increases were not disclosed to voters."
Civil Grand Jury, City and County of San Francisco


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Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

SEC Commissioner Addresses Prospects for CEO Pay Ratio
"In terms of delaying effectiveness of the rule, [Commissioner Piwowar] stated that public commentary would determine whether that alternative is feasible in light of the associated costs and benefits of implementing the rule. Though the latest comment period on the rule has ended, he urged interested parties to continue to submit comment letters describing specific reasons why the rule is burdensome, as well as proposed fixes. During the latest comment period, the SEC received approximately 180 unique comments, with 150 of those comments in favor of the rule."

Discussions on
the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Handling Involuntary Cash-Outs When Under $5,000 at Termination Date But Before the Year's Allocation
"How does the $5,000 involutary cash-out limit apply to a terminated participant who will receive an additional allocation that will bring the balance over $5,000? For example, assume the participant terminates employment July 9 with a balance of $4,750. But the plan makes a profit sharing contribution after the end of the plan year. The participant will receive an additional $600 at that point, which would bring the account balance to $5,350 (assuming no change in the investment balances)."
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Handing Allocation of Excesses in an ERISA Expense Account
"I am having trouble finding an actual regulation or statute IRC that references exactly how often ERISA expense account excesses should be allocated to participants."
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Is a Union Grievance Considered a Claim for Purposes of Responding to a 5500 Auditor?
"We have been asked to respond to an auditor's inquiry. We are not aware of any litigation regarding this company. However, there is a union grievance related to changes they made to the retirement plan. Has anyone considered the issue of whether a union grievance constitutes a 'claim'?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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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