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Retirement Plan Analyst
TPA Firm
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in FL

Relationship Manager
Principal Financial Group
in OR

ERISA Compliance Specialist
Charles Schwab
in OH, TX

Retirement Plan Administrator
Bates & Company
in FL

Retirement Plan Admin II
Lifetime Benefit Solutions
in NY

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Webcasts and Conferences

How Regulatory Changes Impact Your CDH Program

Basics of Traditional IRAs - Establishing / Contributions
July 25, 2017 WEBCAST
Collin W. Fritz & Associates, Ltd.

IRA Reporting Training
July 26, 2017 WEBCAST
Wolters Kluwer

13th Executive Forum on Next Generation Worksite & Near-Site Clinics
September 11, 2017 in GA
World Congress

ISCEBS Continuing Education Day
September 28, 2017 in TX
ISCEBS - Houston Chapter

18th Annual Hawaii Seminar - 2017 ERISA Update
November 15, 2017 in HI
TRI Pension Services

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New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Comments and Topics

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State-Run IRAs May Not Be the Best Solution for Low-Income Earners (PDF)
21 pages. "[The] designers of state-run auto-IRA plans fail to consider three questions: Do the poor need to save more for retirement? Will state-run auto-IRA plans increase net household savings? And, after accounting for interactions with means-tested government transfer programs, will state-run auto-IRA plans make the poor better off? The answer to all three questions may be 'no.' "
American Enterprise Institute

[Advert.] - 401(k) Benchmark Reporting Now Available.

Sponsored by Burrmont Compliance Labs LLC now has BENCHMARK REPORTING for all 401(k) plans. Using peer groups and comparing 8 highly relevant metrics. Displayed in easy-to-understand graphs. Customize w/ your logo/color scheme. Contact us today 612-605-2266

Sears Hit with 401(k) Class Action Over Company Stock
"The company stock had been 'predictably declining since 2010,' but plan fiduciaries continued acquiring and holding Sears stock, according to a lawsuit filed July 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois."
Bloomberg BNA

21st Century 401(k) Plan Design
"[The plan's] LifeStage funds are for all purposes Enhanced Balanced Portfolios that are similar to Target Risk Funds (TRF) in that they offer a single, balanced solution for one to diversify their retirement account investments and tailor it specifically to their desired risk level.... [T]he participant could make a decision if they understood what their stomach for risk was without worrying about the additional complexities of glide paths or the significant variations that can exist between funds with the same target dates ... [T]he 4 core options bordered on the purposefully ordinary so that anyone from any background could easily understand and feel comfortable knowing what they were choosing."
Fiduciary News

Benefits of Offering Longevity Annuities in DC Plans
"When participants can select their own optimal annuitization rates, welfare increases by 5% to 20% of average retirement plan accruals as of age 66 compared to not having access to LIAs. If plan sponsors defaulted participants into an LIA using 10% of their retirement age plan assets, this would only slightly reduce the participants well-being in retirement compared to the optimum, the researchers found."

Why Participants Should Avoid Active Trading of 401(k) Investments
"For the year 2016, the S&P 500 produced a total return of 11.96% while the average mutual fund investor earned just 7.26%. The same was true in 2015 when the S&P 500 returned 1.38% compared to -2.28% for investors in equity funds.... So if investors sell equity funds when the market dips and fail to reinvest as the market rebounds, the investor's returns will lag those of a fund that earned those returns over the entire period. The same pattern emerges over longer periods."


Online Learning Course: 401(k) Plan Structure - BenefitsLink Discount

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Review considerations for structuring a 401(k) plan. Topics include salary deferral limits and catch-up contributions, matching and profit-sharing contributions, nondiscrimination testing and safe harbors. Use code BL2017 for 15% discount - good through July 31.

DOL Pulls Back on Anti-Arbitration
"The Labor Department has withdrawn its cross-motion for summary judgment in the Thrivent case, noting its stance that it was no longer defending 'the one regulatory provision challenged in this action -- the application of Best Interest Contract (BIC) Exemption Section II(f)(2) to arbitration agreements.' "
National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]

Sequence of Return Risks in Retirement
"Should a retiree go all cash and short-term bonds losing out on long-term growth as the length of retirement increases? Or stay invested in equities and risk a large downturn? [The authors] attempt to mitigate risk, while maintaining both high yield and long-term growth using higher-quality high-yield CEFs plus a wide range of peripheral investments for growth."
Seeking Alpha; free registration may be required

Bill Would Boost ESOPs
"The bill is aimed at smaller companies that may not have easy access to the expertise needed to launch an ESOP. It calls for the nonprofit business-advisory group SCORE -- which operates with support from the U.S. Small Business Administration -- to provide those companies the information they need."
HRE Daily


The 'Pension Crisis' Is a Myth, Part Two
"[This article addresses] the question of unfunded liabilities in public pension plans and why pension critics typically misrepresent the truth about unfunded liabilities to promote their false pension crisis narrative. Pension critics also ignore the shocking unpreparedness of most Americans for retirement, which could be improved if more people were covered by pensions."
National Public Pension Coalition


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For over 20 years, we've helped employers find the best-informed candidates to fill their benefits job openings -- learn more!


Text of Comment Letters to DOL on Fiduciary Rule and Related Exemptions
These letters have been submitted to DOL, in response to DOL's latest request for comments on the fiduciary rule and related ERISA prohibited transaction exemptions. 49 comment letters have been submitted as of July 10, 2017; deadlines for submission of comments are [1] July 21, for comments on a possible extension of the Jan. 1, 2018 applicability date for certain provisions in the Best Interest Contract Exemption and other prohibited transaction exemptions, and [2] August 7, 2017, for comments on all other aspects of the fiduciary rule and the exemptions.
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]


Why the SEC Will Not and Cannot Adopt a Fiduciary Standard
"[M]any of the investment products currently on the market would not pass a meaningful fiduciary standard ... [by which] I mean a fiduciary standard that is consistent with the standards set out in the Restatement (Third) Trusts, especially Section 90, more commonly known as the Prudent Investor Rule.... The current pricing platforms used by actively managed mutual funds and variable annuities raise legitimate questions as to whether such products would pass the Restatement's prudence requirements.... [Is the SEC] willing to risk the wrath of Wall Street and the investment industry by honoring its stated vision and mission statements and enact a meaningful fiduciary standard to protect the public and ensure fair and equitable treatment for all investors?"
The Prudent Investment Adviser Rules


ARA Comment Letter to DOL on Fiduciary Rule and Related Exemptions (PDF)
12 pages. "The ARA recommends a delay of the January 1, 2018, applicability date for certain provisions of the Best Interest Contract Exemption, the Principal Transaction Exemption, and amendments to PTE 84-24 ... [An] extension would reduce unnecessary burdens on financial service providers and pose minimal risk to the interests of retirement investors.... The ARA recommends an alternative streamlined exemption (the 'Levelized Fee Exemption') that would remain protective of the Interests of Retirement Investors while greatly reducing the regulatory burden imposed on Financial Institutions and Retirement Investors. The Levelized Fee Exemption would more broadly encompass the wide range of 'levelization' processes in use across the retirement marketplace and further continuing innovation is this area."
American Retirement Association [ARA]

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Final Reg: Special Enrollment Examination User Fee for Enrolled Agents
"This document contains a final regulation changing the amount of the user fee for the special enrollment examination to become an enrolled agent. The charging of user fees is authorized by the Independent Offices Appropriations Act of 1952. The final regulation affects individuals taking the enrolled agent special enrollment examination."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Shifts in Benefit Allocations Among U.S. Employers
"What changes have employers made to their benefit programs to adjust to these economic realities, and how well do these changes align with employee preferences and needs? This analysis examines trends in employer costs for benefit plans since 2001 by examining a proprietary database of retirement and health care programs at over 500 employers with at least 200 employees. The analysis also addresses employees' concerns, expectations and desires around benefits, and suggests solutions that can help employers deliver benefits more closely aligned to their employees' priorities."
Willis Towers Watson

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Company Discretionary Offer of Voluntary Separation Agreements Did Not Create ERISA-Covered Severance Plan
"[T]he District Court found that having an administrative scheme by itself did not establish an informal ERISA-covered severance plan.... [T]he Court found that a reasonable person could not determine the class of intended beneficiaries, the intended benefits or the process to request VSA benefits. Accordingly, Quest did not create an informal ERISA plan." [Mance v. Quest Diagnostics Inc., No. 12-7361 (D.N.J. Feb. 21, 2017; unpub.)]
Jackson Lewis P.C.

Discussions on
the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Permissive Service Credits under a Governmental Plan
"Can a governmental plan permit a participant to purchase an enhanced benefit without relying upon section 415(n) if it otherwise complies with section 415?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Spouse Automatically Bumps Mother-in-Law as Beneficiary?
"I have run into a situation where the employee became a participant while unmarried, and named his mother as beneficiary. He recently married. Is his wife now the beneficiary? The mother wants to remain as the beneficiary, and the participant has declined to complete a new beneficiary designation form listing his wife. This is a 403(b) plan. Its document says that a spouse is the default beneficiary unless he/she waives that right, if there is no designation in effect. But it doesn't specifically say that becoming the spouse supersedes a beneficiary form already in effect. And it's not subject to the QJSA rules for anything (which I think rules out IRC 411 and 417)."
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

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David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
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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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