Retirement Plans Newsletter

September 21, 2017

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Jobs

Pension Administrative Consultant
Polycomp Administrative Services, Inc.
in CA

Senior Pension Administrator
Scholz & Friends Enlightened Retirement Group, Inc.
in TX

Retirement Benefits Consultant
Cargill, Inc.
in MN

Retirement Plan Services Compliance Officer
Heartland Financial
in AZ, CA, CO, IA, IL, KS, MN, NM, WI

Senior Administrator ERISA / Fiduciary Services
Vantage Benefits
in TX

Defined Benefits Combo Consultant
Loren D. Stark Company
in TX, Telecommute

Senior Trust Officer
GreatBanc Trust Company
in IL

Plan Compliance Consultant
T. Rowe Price
in CO, MD

Director, Employee Benefit Services
Healthcare Association of New York State
in NY

Defined Contribution - Implementation Analyst
Milliman
in TX

►See 146 Jobs

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Department Notice of Multiemployer Pension Plan Application to Reduce Benefits: Western States Office and Professional Employees Pension Fund
"The Board of Trustees of the Western States Office and Professional Employees Pension Fund (WSOPE Pension 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 submitted by the Board of Trustees of the WSOPE Pension Fund 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 WSOPE Pension Fund."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

[Advert.]

SPARK Forum - November 5-7, 2017 -- The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL

Sponsored by SPARK

Join us at the retirement services industry's leading event for top marketing, sales, administration and record keeping professionals. Comprehensive agenda to meet the needs of 401(k) Plan Providers, Financial Advisors and Third Party Administrators.


[Guidance Overview]

When Must Discretionary Amendments to a 403(b) Plan be Adopted?
"The Remedial Amendment Period (RAP) for 403(b) plans ends on March 30, 2020 for plan sponsors using IRS pre-approved 403(b) plan documents.... [W]hat happens if a plan sponsor changed the operation of the plan but did not adopt an amendment reflecting that change? ... The answer 'appears' to be that the plan can be retroactively amended when it is restated.... [T]his is one area where the rules for qualified plans differ from the rules for 403(b) plans."
FIS Relius

IRS Clarifies Use of Effective Date Addendums to Pre-Approved 403(b) Plan Documents
"Adoption of the pre-approved document itself may not take into account plan provisions that were in effect at varying times during this period.... The IRS has taken the position that such plans may continue to rely on their pre-approved opinion or advisory letter if they create an 'effective date addendum' to the plan document."
Ascensus

The Perils of a Multi-Vendor 403(b) Plan (PDF)
"The primary issues prevalent in multi-vendor 403(b) environment include: a lack of oversight from a vendor due diligence perspective, use of proprietary investment products, and pricing inefficiencies. This white paper intends to provide a brief history of 403(b) plans, highlight each of the aforementioned issues and equip plan sponsors with examples of actions committees can take moving forward."
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Is It Time to Ditch Some Retirement Plan Disclosures?
"The summary annual report for defined contribution plans ... is required to be sent out to participants by Sept. 30 each year ... During meetings of the Labor Department's ERISA Advisory Council this year, representatives from the financial services industry and employer groups all advocated for the elimination of the requirement, calling it ineffective."
Bloomberg BNA

[Advert.]

Reforms, Regulations & Retirement Realities

Sponsored by ASPPA

This October the nation's retirement industry elite will converge at ASPPA Annual, in our nation's capital, with insights from industry insiders, regulators, pundits and the nation's leading voices. Join us!


Understanding the Advantages of Roth 401(k) Contributions
"The Roth contribution availability has emerged, solidified its presence, and appears to be here to stay.... Yet, despite its wide acceptance and significant appeal, not all sponsors have embraced Roth contributions.... [This article] will review Congress's steps to permit Roth contributions and explore the various reasons plan sponsors and participants are well-served to take advantage of the Roth opportunity."
Qualified Plan Advisors

DOL Fiduciary Regulation: Where Are We Now? (PDF)
"[It] appears that the following changes or revisions may be open for consideration: ... [1] Potential curtailment of the scope of advice triggering the investment advice fiduciary regulation, particularly with regard to recommendations to make or increase contributions to a plan or IRA. [2] Elimination of the written contract requirement in the case of financial institutions and advisers relying on the BIC Exemption ... [3] Modification of the written disclosures mandated by the BIC Exemption ... [4] Retention of the broadened scope of amended PTE 84-24 to cover all annuities, and not just fixed-rate annuities."
Susan Krawczyk, via Society of Actuaries

Rhode Island General Assembly Passes Bill Requiring Transparency from Investment Managers
"The legislation ... establishes mandatory public disclosure of information regarding how the state's pension investments are managed and invested and how such investments are performing, along with an overview of the state's pension investment strategies."
Pensions & Investments

Down $20 Billion, Boeing Stuffs Pension Fund with Its Own Shares
"Last month, Boeing made its largest pension contribution in over a decade. But rather than put up cash and lock in the funding, the planemaker transferred $3.5 billion of its own shares, including those it bought back in years past.... Boeing is betting it can keep producing the kind of earnings that push shares higher.... But if anything goes awry, the $57 billion pension -- which covers a majority of its workers and retirees -- could easily end up worse off than before."
Bloomberg

Retirement Benefits for Federal Law Enforcement Personnel (PDF)
16 pages. "Many employees in law enforcement occupations are not recognized as [law enforcement officers (LEOs)] by their agencies and OPM for the purposes of federal retirement coverage and, consequently, are not eligible to receive enhanced retirement benefits. Several employee groups and unions representing individuals in these occupations have sought enhanced retirement benefits through additional legislation." [Report R42631, Sept. 5, 2017]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Social Security: The Trust Funds (PDF)
21 pages. "This report covers how the Social Security program is financed and how the Social Security trust funds work. It will be updated annually to reflect current projections of the financial status of the Social Security trust funds." [Report RL33028, Sept. 12, 2017]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? (PDF)
21 pages. "If a trust fund became depleted, there would be a conflict between two federal laws.... [B]eneficiaries would still be legally entitled to their full scheduled benefits. However ... the Social Security Administration (SSA) would not have legal authority to pay full Social Security benefits on time.... After insolvency, Social Security would continue to receive tax income, from which a majority of scheduled benefits could be paid.... Social Security beneficiaries would remain legally entitled to full, timely benefits and could take legal action to claim the balance of their benefits." [Report RL33514, Sept. 12, 2017]
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Benefits in General

Discovery of Claims Procedures to Assess Compliance with DOL Regs? Not So Fast.
"[F]ailing to follow [DOL] claims regulations can result in the court using the de novo review standard ... But the court still may apply the abuse of discretion standard: if the plan can establish: [1] it has procedures in full conformity with DOL regulations, and [2] its failure to follow regulations was inadvertent and harmless. So, what is the plan's burden of proof to establish that it has procedures in conformity with DOL regulations? ... [D]oes Plaintiff get to conduct discovery into claims procedures, and the way you handled the specific claim?" [Capretta v. Prudential Ins. Co., No. 16-1929 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 28, 2017)]
Lane Powell PC

HIPAA Compliance: Protecting Employee Information
"Document employee training.... Procedures should affect every department.... Audit all subcontractors.... Make areas with private information secure.... Use shredders.... Make privacy a workplace culture.... Shut off the auto-complete option.... Protect employee files.... Ask for outside help."
Lindquist LLP

Employer-Provided Benefit Cost Varies Sharply by Industry
"Health care costs are substantial across all sectors, ranging from 10.4% of pay in the retail sector to 12.7% of pay in the oil, gas and electric (OG&E) sector. The disparities among industries are much more pronounced for retirement benefits ... Total retirement benefits, for example, averaged 12% of pay in the OG&E sector compared with roughly 5.5% of pay in the health care, high-tech, general services and retail industries."
Willis Towers Watson

Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Failure to Stop Auto-enrolled Salary Deferrals
"Plan auto-enrolls at 5%. Participant completes the online process with the vendor to opt out. Plan sponsor does not stop withholding for 6 months. Participant wants the money back. Vendor says 'Too late, you can't have the money back,' because too much time has passed. I don't think their answer is valid. EPCRS does not have an example of this nature, but I'd like to know if you agree with me that it's reasonable to return the deferrals and forfeit the match using the logic in EPCRS, which states: '[1] Restoration of benefits. The correction method should restore the plan to the position it would have been in had the failure not occurred, including restoration of current and former participants and beneficiaries to the benefits and rights they would have had if the failure had not occurred.' "
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Using Prior Year Testing Method with No Matching Contributions, So HCEs Can't Get Matches in Current Year?
"I have a plan that uses prior year testing method for deferrals and match. Client did not make a matching contribution in 2015. Is it correct to say that the match percentage applied to the HCEs for the 2016 year is 0%, so that any HCE who receives a match in 2016 must forfeit the entire match amount?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Continuing Education Credits for ERPA Designation: 16 Hours Required Each Year?
"I spoke with an IRS agent in the Enrolled Agent department about my belief that an ERPA must must earn 72 hours of continuing education during a 3-year cycle in which a minimum of 16 hours is required each year (including 2 hours of ethics). The agent says there actually is no 16-hour annual requirement, just that I get the 72 hours some time during the 3 years. My current cycle is 4/1/2016 through 4/1/2019. I plan to attend a conference in November that will will give me over 72 hours of credit, meaning all I will need during 2018-2019 is a few hours of ethics. Is that how it works?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Reporting of Deceased Participants on Form 8955-SSA
"Are deceased participants included in the 8955-SSA filing? The instructions are not clear to me. For example, if a participant dies while active, there is a benefit owed to the estate/beneficiary, but at this point is not owed to them, the SSN on the form. The same is true of those who terminated in the past and were reported on an SSA, but died in the plan year. Their estate/beneficiary is paid out at this point, so should they be a "D" on the form with their SSN?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Charles Asubonten Named as CFO of CalPERS
CalPERS [California Public Employees' Retirement System]

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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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