Retirement Plans Newsletter

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401k Service Administrator
Retirement Direct
in NC

ERISA Attorney
in MD

Operations Specialist
in NY

Pension Plan Administrator
E.H. Thomson & Co., Inc.
in NJ

Relationship Manager
Benefit Plans Plus, LLC (BPP)
in IL, IN, MO

►See 152 Jobs

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Webcasts, Conferences

2017 Benefits Forum: Fiduciary Risk Management
September 28, 2017 in VA
Williams Mullen

Common Problems in Mergers & Acquisitions
October 31, 2017 WEBCAST

►See 205 Upcoming

►See 1236 Recorded


New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Comments and Topics

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[Official Guidance]

PBGC to Provide Early Financial Assistance to Furniture Workers Multiemployer Pension Plan
"The early financial assistance from PBGC, together with benefit reductions that are required as a condition for receiving PBGC assistance, will help the plan to avoid insolvency and to pay benefits to participants.... Under the partition, PBGC provides early financial assistance by moving a portion of the plan's guaranteed benefit obligations to a new, separate plan that will have its costs reimbursed by PBGC."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]


457(b) Plans for Governmental & Tax Exempt Entities

Sponsored by ASC

Join us for a 2-hour CE credit webcast with John Griffin, J.D., LL.M. and gain clarity on the basic rules applicable under Code 457(b), the distinction between 457(b) plans for governmental and tax-exempt entities and more. Register Now!

[Guidance Overview]

Agencies Provide Retirement Plan Relief in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey (PDF)
"In addition to [retirement plan relief] ... the IRS issued a news release which extends the deadlines for filing tax returns and submitting tax payments ... [T]he DOL has released its own guidance on certain issues under Title I of ERISA -- along with a series of FAQs directed primarily to plan participants in affected areas ... [PBGC has provided] a blanket extension ... for affected persons to make PBGC premium filings ..., for certain single-employer plan termination filings, and for reportable 'post-event' notices.... Code section 139 provides that qualified disaster relief payments are not taxable to the recipient. In addition, the payments are not subject to withholding or employment taxes."
Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

IRS and DOL Provide Relief for Plan Sponsors and Participants Affected by Hurricane Harvey
"[T]he IRS issued Announcement 2017-11, which provides easier access to 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) funds for individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey. For a list of locations, click here. On the same day, the [DOL] issued a news release giving relief to the timing rules for depositing participant contributions and loan repayments, and the requirement to issue blackout notices in the event investment trading in retirement plans was or is interrupted by Hurricane Harvey."
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Officially Proposes 18-Month Extension of Fiduciary Rule Exemptions' Transition Period
"DOL is also seeking comment on whether other approaches to the delay would be more appropriate, in particular, the relative benefits or harms of three possible approaches: [1] a 'time-certain' delay, such as the currently proposed 18 months, [2] a delay that ends at a specific time period after the occurrence of a defined event (such as the conclusion of DOL's presidentially mandated review); or [3] a tiered approach that extends the Transition Period until the earlier or later of (a) a date certain or (b) the end of a period following the occurrence of a defined event. Comments are due by September 15, 2017."
K&L Gates LLP

Lawsuits Reveal Risks for 403(b) and 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries
"An examination of the class action lawsuits ... reveals a repeated allegation that the faculty and staff who participate in the [institution's] 403(b) plans pay excessive fees for investment and administrative services. The underlying theme of that allegation charges executives and managers who hire the plans' service providers with insufficient oversight and breaches of their ERISA fiduciary duty. Hidden beneath the excessive fee complaint, however, are several risk issues that are consistently found to exist in [the authors'] audits of fiduciary management systems."


Online Learning Course: Fiduciary Responsibilities for ERISA Plans

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Understand the requirements of ERISA, including penalties, vesting requirements, fiduciary responsibilities, plans covered by the PBGC, and the roles of the various enforcement agencies.

MIT Retirement Plan Lawsuit Over Excessive Fees Advances
"Federal Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler recommended Aug. 31 not to dismiss several of the workers' claims under [ERISA] ... that MIT acted imprudently by allowing higher-cost, retail-class mutual funds instead of identical, lower-cost alternatives, such as institutional share class, separate accounts, or collective trusts. In her 59-page report, Bowler also declined to dismiss the participants' claims that MIT paid excessive administrative fees for record-keeping services."
Bloomberg BNA

Seven Year Streak of Falling Corporate DC Plan Fees Ends
"[D]efined contribution plans have a median record keeper, trust, and custody fee of $59 per participant, up from $57 in 2016. The asset-weighted average expense ratio for defined contribution plans is currently 0.41%, which was a shade under the 0.42% ratio reported in [2016] ... However, both the median fee and average expense ratio have dropped substantially since ... 2006, when fees were $118 per participant and the expense ratio was 0.57%."
Chief Investment Officer [CIO]

Generation Z on Track Toward Retirement Success (PDF)
"[S]tandard 401(k) plan practices create obstacles to the retirement success of workforce entrants. Employers eager to attract enterprising workers should consider plan features and communication methods that appeal to an eager Generation Z... On average, Gen Z members believe young workers should save 28% of income for future use. 83% say it's important to save, and 76% want to be more financially educated.... 50% believe it's right to save for retirement in a 401(k) when they have a job, 12% of 22-23-year-olds are already enrolled in a retirement savings plan."
EACH Enterprise

Millennials Look to Do Well, and Good, with Pension Investments
"Eighty-two percent of millennials say they'd prefer investments in their retirement plan's portfolio that promote the health and wellness of consumers and employees ... That's 10 percent more than baby boomers surveyed; 77 percent of Generation X felt the same way."
Bloomberg BNA

Pension Finance Update, August 2017
"Pension funded status slipped in August, due to flat stock markets and remorselessly lower long-term interest rates. Both model plans ... saw modest declines last month -- traditional Plan A dropped more than 1% but is still up 1% for the year, while the more conservative Plan B lost less than 1% in August but also remains 1% ahead so far in 2017."
October Three Consulting

The World's 300 Largest Pension Funds in 2016
"North America showed the most noticeable annualised growth rate over the last five years, growing by 6.7% during the period. Europe and Asia-Pacific regions showed annualised growth rates of 3.1% and 2.8% respectively. The U.S. continues to hold its position as the country with the largest share of pension assets across the top 300 funds, representing 38.6% spread across 134 funds."
Willis Towers Watson


Joint Letter to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on Proposed Update to Mortality Tables
16 pages. "A thorough economic analysis is needed, with a focus on at least these four major issues: [1] The need for an 18-month deferred effective date. [2] A review of the speculative assumption that mortality will improve on average 1% indefinitely. [3] The introduction of unprecedented volatility into the mortality tables. [4] The erroneous assumption that Treasury must rely on tables prepared by the Society of Actuaries given that an expanded reliance on other sources is statutorily permitted and very much warranted from a practical perspective. There is a need for an announcement immediately that the new mortality tables will not apply for plan years beginning in 2018."
American Benefits Council and Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets [CIEBA]

Benefits in General

Educate Your Employees on Using HSAs In Retirement Planning
"With healthcare open enrollment season quickly approaching, 401k plan sponsors may want to spend some time educating participants on the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). If you offer a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to your employees, they probably have the ability to contribute to HSAs.... [N]early everyone eligible to contribute to an HSA should max out their HSA contributions each year. Here's why."
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants

on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

10-Year Period Certain Annuity But Both the Participant and the Beneficiary Have Died
"Unmarried participant elected to receive DB Plan benefits in this form, and named a beneficiary to receive any further payments after her death, but did not provide for the contingency that the beneficiary would die inside of 10 years. Participant died with the 10 years after payment commenced, then beneficiary died, also inside within the 10 years. Who should get the remaining payments?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Top Heavy Prior Year Correction
"If a plan is discovered to be top heavy for 2015 and a corrective TH contribution plus earnings is made now, is the contribution accrued into the 12/31/2015 non-key employees' balances when determining whether the plan is top heavy for 2016?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Mid-Year Change to Safe Harbor Plan
"Can I do an amendment today to make eligibility in a safe harbor plan immediate, and avoid the need to provide 30 days advance notice? I say yes, because IRS Notice 2016-16 says the new notice period does not apply unless we are changing information in the required content of the safe harbor notice, and eligibility is not required content."
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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