Retirement Plans Newsletter

September 29, 2017

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Proposed Submission of Information Collection and Comment Request: Termination of Single-Employer Plans, Missing Participants
"PBGC is proposing to provide that the plan administrator of a plan terminating in a standard termination, or a distress termination that closes out in the private sector, may submit termination forms electronically ... PBGC is proposing to include an opportunity for plan sponsors to contact PBGC for a pre-filing consultation to discuss the filing process and ensure the filing of a distress termination is appropriate given the sponsor's specific circumstances. This consultation will assist PBGC and the plan sponsor in exploring whether a waiver of one or more filing obligations is appropriate, identifying potential issues preventing a distress termination of a particular plan, and may indicate that commencement of an agency-initiated termination of the pension plan is warranted. This consultation will be voluntary and will result in little or no added burden on the plan sponsor."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Disaster Relief Announcement 17-16 in Response to Hurricane Irma in the Seminole Tribe of Florida
"[PBGC] is waiving certain penalties and extending certain deadlines in response to Hurricane Irma that began on September 4, 2017, in the Seminole Tribe of Florida.... The disaster area consists of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and associated lands."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

[Guidance Overview]

A Primer on Church Retirement Plans (PDF)
10 pages. "[This article] provides a general description of church plan status, notes issues affecting church retirement plans, and discusses special rules applicable to these plans under the Internal Revenue Code and [ERISA]."
Ice Miller LLP, via Thomson Reuters Practical Law

[Guidance Overview]

New PBGC Coverage Webpage for Employers and Practitioners
PBGC has posted a new webpage summarizing which pension plans are covered by PBGC's insurance program and which are not. From the PBGC description: "For the vast majority of plans, it's fairly obvious whether PBGC coverage applies, but due to complicated rules in the law, that is not always the case. This is especially true for small plans that cover only professional individuals (e.g., attorneys, architects), plans based in Puerto Rico, and plans affiliated with a church. The webpage provides an overview of the rules and highlights the types of plans that should consider requesting a coverage determination."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Congress Passes Hurricane Tax Relief Bill
"[The bill] includes five tax relief provisions for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Money from 401(k) or other retirement accounts could be withdrawn without penalty for storm-related expenses, for example. Another provision would lift limits on charitable tax deductions for people making hurricane-related donations."
NewsOK

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IRS Memo Addresses Cure Period Under Code Section 72(p) for Missed Loan Repayments
"[IRS Chief Counsel Advice (CCA) Memorandum 201736022] uses two illustrations to show how missed installment payments can be made up ... if the actions occur within the loan cure period.... A plan is permitted, but not required, to allow for a cure period under its loan program.... If a make-up payment is made, or a replacement loan is taken out after, the end of the permitted cure period, the entire outstanding balance of the loan becomes fully taxable as a deemed distribution, not just the missed installments."
Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Operational Risk Is the Achilles' Heel of DC Plans
"Recommended first steps to an integrated approach to managing operational risk include: [1] Review committee charters ... contracts and job descriptions ... [2] Catalogue planned audits and assessments ... [3] Request a copy of your key service providers' cybersecurity policies and business-continuity plans, and ask for annual updates.... [4] Check the investment policy ... [5] Review service providers' reports[.]"
Segal Consulting

How Do You Know If Your Financial Wellness Program Is Paying Off for Your Employees? (PDF)
"In the absence of a comprehensive program, organizations often cobble together financial wellness programs by offering solutions for a specific personal financial wellness need, such as retirement, insurance or student loan debt. This siloed approach leaves gaps in the program that can limit the potential of a well-intentioned benefits suite."
EY

Big Six Unveil Tax Reform Framework (PDF)
"Full Rothification is estimated to raise approximately $750 billion over 10 years. However, that score is misleading primarily because it ignores foregone tax revenue from untaxed retirement plan distributions outside of the 10-year scoring window.... Congress will likely have very few options to raise the revenue necessary to offset the cost of rate cuts, and Rothification may be one of the least controversial."
Groom Law Group

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Rep. Wagner Introduces Bill to Kill the DOL Fiduciary Rule
"Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., has introduced legislation that would create a new advisory standard somewhere between fiduciary and suitability.... Wagner's bill also would eliminate the fiduciary rule's prohibited transaction exemptions. It would amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to include a best interest standard of care for brokers advising investors in the retail market."
InsuranceNewsNet.com

Summary of the Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions: Asset Growth Continues in Second Quarter 2017 (PDF)
"For the 100 largest public-employee pension systems in the country, assets (cash and investments) totaled $3,584.0 billion in the second quarter of 2017, increasing by 2.2 percent from the 2017 first quarter level of $3,505.5 billion. Compared to the same quarter in 2016, assets for these major public-pension systems increased 8.5 percent from $3,302.5 billion. This continues the growth trend that began in the third quarter of 2015."
U.S. Census Bureau

Social Security Retirement Benefits: Claiming-Age Combinations Available to Married Couples
"This note explores the claiming rules, contingent situations, claiming-age combinations, and benefit amounts available to married couples with a range of respective birth years and own-record benefit levels. The sheer number and variety of claiming-age combinations would be overwhelming if a couple were to consider each one individually." [Research and Statistics Note No. 2017-01, released Sept. 2017]
U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA]

Retiring (Again and Again) in America
"[G]rowing numbers of Americans are retiring from careers they've held for most of their lives and then returning to them, usually as part-time or contract workers. Even more are finding new jobs after a pause of months or years. In fact, a retirement that occurs just once and continues for the rest of one's life is becoming the exception."
Bloomberg

[Opinion]

Who Gets to Decide When You Should Retire?
"Instead of a mandatory retirement age, if the goal is a more paced and predictable rate of retirement, we encourage policy makers to ... [1] Amend the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to permit formal, voluntary, phased retirement processes ... [2] Confirm employers can apply the same 'equal cost, equal benefit' regulations to health coverage that have applied to life insurance and long-term disability coverage since the 1990s. [3] Permit Health Savings Account-qualifying health insurance as a Medicare Part C option ... [4] Encourage adoption of employer-sponsored savings plans with automatic enrollment, escalation and investment features."
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice FL-2017-06, for Victims of Hurricane Maria in Seminole Tribe of Florida
"Individuals who reside or have a business in the Seminole Tribe of Florida and associated lands may qualify for tax relief.... [C]ertain deadlines falling on or after Sept. 4, 2017 and before Jan. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2018."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Pay Ratio: The Time Has Come (PDF)
"The new guidance makes clear that issuers have a variety of options on how to approach the required determinations and calculations, but, even with the level of flexibility allowed, there is a substantial process that must be undertaken, which needs to start sooner rather than later to ensure that there is enough time to make appropriate decisions and complete the implementation of the chosen methodology."
Fried Frank

Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Participant Dies Before Minimum Required Distribution Paid
"Terminated participant left money in employer's plan, and received annual MRDs for a few years through 2015. The 2016 MRD was not distributed in 2016. Participant died in 2017, and 2016 RMD still hasn't been distributed. Assume Plan document has normal 401(a)(9) provisions that REQUIRE that MRDs be distributed by year-end. Is there any doubt that the participant's estate, rather than the death beneficiary, is entitled to receive the late 2016 RMD amount? Executor is not worried much about the 50% excise tax, but even so he feels he has a fiduciary obligation to the estate to collect this money from the Plan."
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Getting Life Insurance Policy Out of a Plan
"I have a plan that has held a life insurance policy for only 4 participants for many years. They would like to terminate the polices, just get rid of them and take whatever the value is to themselves (they want the cash). Our recordkeeper is telling us that in order to cancel the policy they HAVE to deposit the funds into the plan and then follow the plan document as far as being able to actually take the funds themselves. In this case, you have to either terminate employment or be 59-1/2 take a distribution, per the plan doc. However, we were told by the outside insurance agent that they could take the cash and be taxed on it, as normal. I just need guidance on how to get a life insurance policy out of a plan, when the participant is under 59 1/2 and still employed."
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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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