Retirement Plans Newsletter

August 7, 2017

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Defined Contribution Pension Administrator
Pension Investors Corporation of Orlando, Inc.
in FL

Retirement Services Analyst
Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System
in CA

Retirement Services Manager
Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System
in CA

Senior Retirement Benefits Specialist
Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System
in CA

Benefits Associate
Lincoln Electric
in OH

Benefits Analyst/Senior Benefits Analyst
Lincoln Electric
in OH

ERISA Consultant
Sentinel Benefits & Financial
in MA

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Webcasts and Conferences

2017 Health Benefits Update
August 23, 2017 in GA
ISCEBS - Georgia Chapter

Governmental Pensions: Prepare for a Changing Landscape
September 1, 2017 WEBCAST
AICPA

More to Compliance than ACA
September 19, 2017 WEBCAST
Corporate Synergies

2017: How Have Employment & Employee Benefits Laws Changed ... And Stayed the Same?
November 14, 2017 in HI
Jackson Lewis LLP

15th Annual World Health Care Congress
April 29, 2018 in DC
World Congress

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QDIAs: a Recipe for Fiduciary Protection (And a Better Retirement Plan)
"After the sponsor has selected a permissible default, employees must be notified of the QDIA, as well as its objectives and fees.... The notification must be timely: 30 days prior to eligible participation, recurring annually. The retirement plan's Investment Policy Statement must also be updated to reflect selection and monitoring criteria for the qualified default."
Alliant Wealth Advisors

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The Fiduciary Duty (And Challenge) of Cost-Consciousness
"The investment industry and even some courts have been quick to reference that fact that ERISA does not require an ERISA fiduciary to always select the least expensive investment option, which is true. However, neither ERISA nor the [Restatement (Third) Trusts] gives an ERISA fiduciary carte blanch power to just select any investment option without consideration of the corresponding benefit derived from any additional costs and/or risks associated with the more expensive investment option. The absurdity of such an argument is obvious, as it would essentially nullify the basic fiduciary duties of loyalty and prudence."
The Prudent Investment Adviser Rules

Arch Coal Beats ERISA Lawsuit Over Company Stock in 401(k) Plan
"Allegations of Arch Coal's 'serious deteriorating condition' and 'overwhelming debt' are evidence of the company's impending slide into bankruptcy but don't establish a special circumstance sufficient to survive dismissal, Jackson said in dismissing the lawsuit." [Roe v. Arch Coal, Inc., No. 15-910 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 4, 2017)]
Bloomberg BNA

myRA Phase-Out Briefly Clips a State-Run Auto-IRA Program
"Washington State's Small Business Retirement Marketplace -- which had hoped to be open for business by Labor Day -- will be delayed at least a few weeks ... The state statute that established the marketplace required that financial services firms participating in it to offer the U.S. Treasury Department's myRA program as an option. On July 28, however, U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza announced that Treasury will be phasing out the program [.]"
American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries [ASPPA]

Hoping for a Phased Retirement? Don't Count on It
"Only 31% of the employers Transamerica surveyed let their employees shift from full-time to part-time and just 27% allow them to take on positions that are less stressful or demanding so they can glide into retirement.... [Yet] 71% of employers Transamerica surveyed said they believe they are 'aging-friendly' and said they offer opportunities, work arrangements and training and tools needed for employees of all ages to be successful[.]"
Forbes

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Early Retirement Incentives: Navigating the Legal Issues

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August 10 webinar. Learn the pros and cons of implementing a voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program in your workplace, and the practical steps to doing so without running afoul of the ADEA. CE Credits. BenefitsLink discount


First Circuit Opinion: Jurisdiction Exists for Multiemployer Plan Post-Judgment Action to Impose Withdrawal Liability on Successor Employer (PDF)
21 pages. "[It is uncontroverted in the First Circuit] that a plaintiff may seek to impose ERISA liability on an alter ego of the employer that formally bears the obligations imposed by the statute. The dispute here concerns the Fund's attempt to do so in a new action brought subsequent to a judgment against the signatory employer.... Here, the Fund maintains that N&D was -- at the pertinent times -- the same company as D&N and, as such, bore the same obligation under ERISA for the payment of that liability.... The Fund's claim against N&D was thus anchored in ERISA and premised on N&D's de facto status as an ERISA employer, and not ... on alleged wrongful conduct outside the scope of the federal statute." [New England Teamsters and Trucking Industry Pension Fund v.N&D Transportation Co., No. 15-2553 (1st Cir. Aug. 2, 2017)]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Fifth Circuit Remands Settlement of Pension Funding Class Action Case
"Over 200 objectors appealed to the Fifth Circuit, bringing up a variety of arguments regarding class certification and the fairness of the settlement.... The Fifth Circuit took issue with the fact that the 'unsecured contractual obligations' to make contributions to the plan would extend over 35 years while class counsel would receive their fees by the end of 2018." [Jones v. Singing River Health Servs. Foundation, No. 16-60550 (5th Cir. July 27, 2017)]
Greensfelder

Statement by PBGC on Avaya's Pension Plans and the Company's New Plan to Emerge from Bankruptcy
"Under Avaya's new plan of reorganization, the company will keep its hourly pension plan but seek bankruptcy court approval to terminate and transfer its plan for salaried employees to PBGC. The new plan of reorganization is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court. Included in the company's new reorganization plan is an agreement between Avaya, its first lien secured creditors and PBGC. The agreement specifies the recovery amounts that PBGC would receive on its claims against Avaya if the company's application to terminate the pension plan for salaried employees is approved. At this time, the Avaya pension plans remain ongoing and under the responsibility of Avaya."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Pension Insurance System for Union Plans Still Faces Train Wreck
"The latest report, for fiscal year 2016, echoes previous warnings the [PBGC] has issued about its multiemployer program, which covers about 10 million workers. More than 100 plans insured by the agency have told their members that their plans will be insolvent within 20 years, the report says. The PBGC's own insolvency could leave the benefits of some 1.2 million participants in those plans without any safety net."
Bloomberg BNA

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Pension Plan Funded Status Decreases (PDF)
"During the second quarter of 2017 (Q2 2017), the funded status of the model pension plan ... fell by 2 percentage points, to 82 percent, due to a 5 percent liability increase offsetting a 3 percent rise in asset value."
Sibson Consulting and Segal Marco Advisors

New York's Soaring Pension Bills
"The latest Empire Center for Public Policy report on New York's soaring pension costs focuses on six-figure retiree payouts, which have now crossed the 3,000 mark. It's a telling sign of how public employees continue to collect benefits far greater than most private-sector workers -- at a huge cost to the taxpayers.... Many of the latest additions are Long Island police and firefighters (whose salaries are also well above the national and even state average)."
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

University of California Leads on Pension Loans, Are 401(k) Plans Next?
"The University of California began internal borrowing to pay pension costs six years ago ... 35 percent of the 6,411 eligible UC new hires chose a 401(k)-style individual investment plan, instead of a pension, during the first 10 months of the new program that began last year ... A new pension funding plan approved by UC Regents last month -- increasing the total loans to $6.4 billion and raising employer rates from 14 percent of pay to 15 percent -- only assumes 20 percent of new hires will choose the 401(k)-style plan."
Calpensions

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

2018 ISS Policy Survey Queries Use of Pay Ratio
"ISS asks two questions about how the U.S. pay ratio will be used.... [1] [H]ow the data will be analyzed and whether it will be used to compare companies, to assess year-on-year changes at an individual company, or not used at all.... [2] [H]ow shareholders should use the pay ratio -- as a data point for evaluating compensation related votes, for evaluating director votes, to assist in engaging with companies, as a 'risk factor' in making investment, or not at all because it will not be meaningful to investors."
HR Policy Association

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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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