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October 10, 2017 logo logo
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Trade Association Management Company
in MD

Senior Retirement Plan Administrator
Goldberg, Swedelson & Associates
in CA

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Webcasts, Conferences

Tax Reform and the March on Capitol Hill
October 19, 2017 WEBCAST
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

Basic IRA Training
October 24, 2017 WEBCAST
Wolters Kluwer

Spooky Benefits Jeopardy
October 31, 2017 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

DOL Fiduciary Rule: What Plan Sponsors Need to Know
November 2, 2017 in IL
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

DOL Fiduciary Rule: What Plan Sponsors Need to Know
November 9, 2017 in PA
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Transfers and Rollovers
November 30, 2017 WEBCAST

Fundamentals Series 09: Allocation and Deduction Limits [2017]
December 7, 2017 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

Fundamentals Series 10: Top-heavy Testing [2017]
December 11, 2017 WEBCAST
FIS Relius Education

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[Guidance Overview]

Treasury Issues Final Rule: Mortality Tables for Defined Benefit Plans
"The Rule will generally result in [1] higher present values in defined benefit plan lump sum distribution calculations, and thus larger cash payouts, and [2] higher minimum funding obligations for employers maintaining single-employer defined benefit plans, as the new mortality tables reflect increased life expectancies for participants and beneficiaries."
Morgan Lewis


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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Finalizes New Mortality Table Rules for Pension Plans (PDF)
"Some in the plan sponsor and actuarial community had argued that the required use of the tables should be delayed to allow plans and plan sponsors more time to adjust. To partially address this concern, the final regulations allow plan sponsors to delay the application of the new tables for one year, but only for funding purposes. This delay option is not available for purposes of calculating the value of lump sum or other distribution options subject to the minimum present value calculations of Code section 417(e) -- the new tables must begin to be used for these purposes in 2018."
Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

Bifurcated Distribution Options Made Easier
"[IRS Notice 2017-44] provides model language that plan sponsors may use to calculate a bifurcated distribution option in compliance with the final regulations. The Notice makes clear that plan sponsors are not required to use the model language, so existing plan provisions that appropriately describe bifurcated distributions need not be amended."
Spencer Fane

[Guidance Overview]

Recent IRS Guidance on Curing Missed Loan Payments
"The IRS's conclusion that future payments may be applied to cure previously missed payments is consistent with most practitioners' existing interpretation of IRS regulations. The IRS's conclusion that missed loan repayments could be cured through refinancing was much less certain, since the missed payments are not actually made within the cure period."
Mazursky Constantine LLC

Improved Mortality Assumptions to Affect Pension Funding Calculations from 2018
"As a result of the new mortality assumptions funding target liabilities are expected to increase by roughly 2-4% while liabilities for PBGC variable rate premium purposes are expected to increase by a slightly larger amount. Any increase in funding liability will increase minimum required contributions -- the Society of Actuaries estimates a cumulative increase of 11% on required contributions."
Russell Investments


A simple, illustrative guide for pension plan sponsors.

Sponsored by Russell Investments

This practical overview for corporate plan fiduciaries is not only a great reference work -- it's a high level guide that makes an excellent training tool for new board and investment committee members.

MIT Must Defend Lawsuit Over Excessive Fees in Retirement Plan
"Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton ... partially adopted the magistrate judge's 59-page report and recommendation not to dismiss most of the participants' claims under [ERISA]. Gorton refused to dismiss claims that MIT acted imprudently by charging excessive record-keeping fees and failing to choose the least expensive share classes for some of the plan's investment options. However, Gorton departed from the magistrate judge's recommendation to allow the participants' claims of prohibited transactions based on an alleged kickback scheme between Fidelity and the plan." [Tracey v. Mass. Inst. of Tech., No. 16-11620 (D. Mass. Oct. 4, 2017)]
Bloomberg BNA

Let's Be Clear About Fiduciary Status
"An alarming percentage of individuals who oversee company 401(k) or other [DC] plans are not aware of -- or are uncertain about -- their status as fiduciaries under [ERISA].... [T]hose who know they are fiduciaries are more likely to have a philosophy that supports proactively placing participants on a strong saving and investment path. They also tend to be associated with plans that have features designed to help participants save for retirement, such as automatic enrollment and automatic contribution escalation[.]"
J.P. Morgan Asset Management

What a Fiduciary Should Know: Down and Dirty with 'Clean' Shares
" 'Clean' shares refer to mutual funds with all the sales-related fees stripped out of them.... This long-term trend among mutual funds to incorporate conflict-of-interest fees into their business models may have finally hit a brick wall with the DOL's Conflict-of-Interest (a.k.a. 'Fiduciary') Rule.... In shifting away from broker-oriented transaction fees, the industry itself may shift towards new business models.... With fees no longer hidden, it will be easier to monitor fees and competitive pressure will likely eliminate excessive fees."
Fiduciary News

Dangerous Fiduciary Assumptions
"[1] Assuming that not being required to have an investment policy statement means you don't need to have an investment policy.... [2] Assuming that all target-date funds are the same.... [3] Assuming that hiring a fiduciary keeps you from being a fiduciary.... [4] Assuming that all expenses associated with a plan can be charged to the plan.... [5] Assuming that the worst-case deadline for depositing participant contributions is the deadline.... [6] Assuming you have to figure it all out on your own."
National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]


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Does Your Plan Need an Internal Controls Policy?
"An internal controls policy spells out the procedures plan administrators and recordkeepers will follow to keep the plan in compliance with the huge number of technical rules that must be followed. It isn't designed only to prevent overpayments or penalties but has a broader purpose of ensuring that the plan is run properly."

Richard Thaler, 401(k) Hero, Wins Nobel Economics Prize
"Thaler, who teaches at the University of Chicago, has been a font of insights that have helped Americans save and invest better. Among his biggest successes: inspiring Congress to overhaul the nation's 401(k) system a decade ago -- a change that has helped millions of Americans prepare for retirement."

Does Corporate DC Matching 'Penalize the Poor'?
"Defined contribution plan sponsors can improve their plans be revising or adjusting some popular strategies and considering new ones, said Meir Statman, professor of finance, Santa Clara University. Sponsors should make corporate contributions 'unconditional on employee contributions,' Mr. Statman said ... The DC employer contribution is about 4% of participants' pay, but the DB contribution has been basically double that amount, he said."
Pensions & Investments

401(k) and IRA Holdings in 2016: An Update from the Federal Reserve's 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances
"For working households nearing retirement with a 401(k), median combined 401(k)/IRA balances rose from $111,000 in 2013 to $135,000 in 2016. While growing balances are encouraging, $135,000 provides only $600 per month in retirement, so current saving levels are still falling short. Moreover, about half of households nearing retirement have no 401(k) assets at all, so lack of access to a plan remains an enormous problem."
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Inside the First State-Run Retirement Plan
"Some 2,000 Oregon employers with 100 or more employees will be notified this month of the state's new mandatory retirement plan, and have until mid-November to register. Contributions start Jan. 1, 2018. For other states as well as the retirement plan industry, Oregon is the guinea pig."


Nevada Rains on Anti-Fiduciary Rule Parade
"The bullying efforts of the DOL and investment industry have now been countered by the state of Nevada's announcement that the intend to exercise their 10th Amendment police powers to protect their citizens by holding all stockbrokers and financial adviser in their state to a fiduciary standard. Pandora's box is officially open and the investment industry has clearly indicated its concern, and rightfully so."
The Prudent Investment Fiduciary Rules

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Proposed Delay of Effective Date for Claims Procedure Regs for Plans Providing Disability Benefits
"The [DOL] proposes to delay for ninety (90) days -- through April 1, 2018 -- the applicability of the Final Rule amending the claims procedure requirements applicable to ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that provide disability benefits.... The Final Rule currently is scheduled to apply to claims for disability benefits under ERISA-covered employee benefit plans that are filed on or after January 1, 2018.... The [DOL] accordingly seeks public comment on a proposed 90-day delay of the applicability of the Final Rule in order to solicit additional public input and examine regulatory alternatives. If this proposal is finalized, the amendments made on December 19, 2016, would become applicable to claims for disability benefits that are filed after April 1, 2018, rather than January 1, 2018."
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

What Issues Should Be Addressed in a Benefits Tech Policy? (PDF)
"The organization's parameters and vetting process for usage of technological tools handling sensitive employee data.... Standards for service providers and tech tools.... Standards for employees establishing and maintaining use of the benefits tech tools.... Cybersecurity insurance requirements.... Plan fiduciary responsibility."
Epstein Becker Green, via Confero

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Amendment to Maryland 'Blue Sky' Law Removes Filing Requirement for Many Private Employers Granting Equity Awards to Employees
"Effective October 1, 2017, Section 11-601(11) has been revised to provide for a self-executing exemption (no filing required) in connection with an investment contract or other security issued in connection with a benefit plan if no commission or other remuneration is paid in connection with the offering and [1] the plan is qualified under the Internal Revenue Code, [2] the plan complies with Rule 701, or [3] the security is effectively registered and sold under the Securities Act of 1933."
Baker McKenzie

on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

PBGC Trusteed Plan Question
"Suppose a plan with a Jan. 1 plan anniversary becomes PBGC-trusteed, effective June 15, 2017. A final 2017 PBGC Comprehensive filing is required -- marking line 13 'trusteeship' -- correct?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Summary Annual Report Needed for Deferral-Eligible Participant Even If Zero Account Balance?
"I've always understood that you are entitled to an SAR if you are eligible to defer, even if you choose not to. This is being questioned by a colleague. I don't see any exemption as being available under the regs. I'm talking about an active, eligible employee, albeit with no account balance. Am I nuts, or missing something?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Which Should Be a Safe Harbor Plan's Termination Date: December 31 or January 1?
"I have always used 12/31 to terminate a calendar year full-year safe harbor plan. Some of my co-workers use 1/1 of the following plan year end to terminate the plan. Which is better? Does it matter?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

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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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