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Pension Compliance Administrator
Associated Pension Consultants
in CA, Telecommute

Pension Trust Admin Supervisor
Associated Pension Consultants
in CA

Actuarial Manager
in CA

Retirement Plan Consultant and Administrator
Moran Knobel
in CA, WA, Telecommute

Associate Attorney Position
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center
in GA

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Memo for EP Employees on Missing Participants and Beneficiaries and Required Minimum Distributions (PDF)
"This memorandum directs EP examiners not to challenge a qualified plan as failing to satisfy the required minimum distribution (RMD) standards under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a)(9) in [specified] circumstances ... This memo addresses only the application of IRC Section 401(a)(9) to certain circumstances involving a plan's action related to a benefit of a participant or beneficiary whom the plan is unable to locate and does not address the application of any other qualification requirements or other applicable law, including Title I of ERISA." [TE/GE-04-1017-0033, Oct. 19, 2017]
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


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.

[Official Guidance]

Text of 2017 IRS Form 8880: Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions (PDF)
"You cannot take this credit if either of the following applies. [1] The amount on Form 1040, line 38; Form 1040A, line 22; or Form 1040NR, line 37 is more than $31,000 ($46,500 if head of household; $62,000 if married filing jointly). [2] The person(s) who made the qualified contribution or elective deferral (a) was born after January 1, 2000, (b) is claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2017 tax return, or (c) was a student[.]"
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Treasury Department Report: A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities -- Asset Management and Insurance (PDF)
176 pages. "This report covers the asset management and insurance industries. [It] examines issues related to the regulatory structure of financial entities and products in each of these sectors.... Treasury supports current efforts at the [DOL] to reexamine the implications of the revised fiduciary rule and related exemptions adopted by the DOL in April 2016.... Treasury supports the SEC's engagement on this topic, and encourages the DOL and SEC to work with the states to evaluate the impacts of a fiduciary rule across markets.... Treasury recommends strengthening consumer access and choice with respect to annuities as investments options within employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k) plans."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Employee Perspectives on Barriers to Retirement Saving (PDF)
32 pages. "Overall, two-thirds of those working for small to midsize employers said they have access to a plan at their jobs, and 68 percent of that group participates.... When businesses contribute to retirement plans, full-time employees are more than twice as likely as those whose employers do not contribute to participate. Only 28 percent of full-time workers without access to employer-sponsored plans report having any other retirement savings through alternative approaches, such as an IRA or a 401(k) from a previous employer."
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Helping 401(k) Participants Become Better Investors
"[1] Give all participants a risk assessment quiz every year ... [2] Offer basic investment advice to every participant. Free.... [3] Offer a target date series ... [4] Re-enroll everyone into the QDIA in your plan ... [5] Adopt an auto-enrollment provision."
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants


Join the Pension Rights Center's Celebration of Superheroes!

Sponsored by Pension Rights Center

Join the Pension Rights Center in celebrating 41 years of protecting and promoting retirement security for American workers, retirees, and their families at its Annual Superhero Celebration on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 in Washington DC. Learn more.

Key 401(k) Statistics: Retirement Plans by the Numbers
"In plans offering automatic enrollment, Vanguard finds that a whopping 90% of eligible employees join the plan. The figure plunges to 63% in plans without auto enrollment. This discrepancy is even wider for young employees. The participation rate is 85% for those below the age of 25 -- if they are auto enrolled into the company plan. The participation rate falls to 27% if they have to enroll themselves.... The average deferral rate was 6.2% ... [T]he average expense ratio was 0.39% for domestic equity funds in plans with more than $1 billion in assets.... BrightScope puts 2014 average total plan cost at 0.97% of assets."

University 403(b) Plan Fees and Investments Under Scrutiny
"Rulings tend to favor plaintiffs on allegations relating to ... [1] Recordkeeping fees ... [2] Offering high-fee actively-managed funds; [3] Maintaining poor performing investments. Rulings tend to favor plans/plan fiduciaries on allegations covering ... [1] Offering a large number of investment options ... [2] Selecting and maintaining investment options with unnecessary/excessive fee layers; [3] Entering into 'lock-in' arrangements; [4] Breach of the duty of loyalty. Rulings are notably split with regard to allegations that plan fiduciaries imprudently offered higher cost retail class mutual fund shares when an allegedly identical and cheaper institutional class mutual fund shares are available."
Hodgson Russ LLP

Oregon Retirement Program Faces Court Challenge
"The lawsuit challenges a narrow issue: whether employers who already sponsor ERISA plans are required to report plan activities to the State of Oregon. The resolution of this issue will determine the action(s), if any, such employers will need to take in the future. Unless the OregonSaves law and regulations are stayed, they remain enforceable come November 15, 2017.... [T]he lawsuit does not challenge the enforceability of OregonSaves law and regulations against employers who do not sponsor a retirement plan. Thus, these employers should continue to prepare to participate in the OregonSaves Retirement Program."


Treasury Department Recommends IRI Retirement Security Policies
"This summer, IRI met with staff at Treasury to explain how the policies included in our Blueprint would improve retirement readiness across the country, and we are extremely encouraged to see so many of those policies being recommended in this report."
Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]


Evaluating Your Third-Party Administrator: Are You Getting What You're Paying For?

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Nov. 9 webinar. Entities responsible for identifying, selecting, and monitoring their TPA will learn how to track performance and assess results, as well as identify opportunities to create additional value in collaboration with their TPA. BenefitsLink discount.


Active Versus Passive Management: Reject an Oversimplified Decision Framework (PDF)
"What's typically labeled as 'passive' investing isn't actually passive.... The passive label emerges from the fact that this type of indexing approach doesn't seek to identify the specific winners versus losers in a market through security selection -- it just seeks to buy the entire market. The concept underlying indexing is powerful, but the passive label is misleading and masks the underlying complexities embedded in an investor's decision to index."
Cambridge Associates, via Trusts & Estates


Pension Pursuit: How State and Local Governments Are Underfunding Pension Obligations
"Play the game of Pension Pursuit and see how state and local governments are underfunding pension obligations by trillions of dollars. This five-part animated video series is based on Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Josh Rauh's research on the vast underestimation of public pension liabilities and gives insight into the hidden debts the next generation will face."


Limit on 401(k) Savings? It's About Paying for Tax Cuts
"Nearly 40 years later, 401(k) accounts are the most common employer-sponsored retirement plans and a raft on which millions of Americans hope to float through retirement.... A proposal to slash the amount of money workers can put in tax-deferred retirement accounts set off alarms among savers and members of the financial services industry, who contend that limiting the tax break would discourage contributions to 401(k) plans."
The New York Times; subscription may be required


Coping with the Public Employee Pension Albatross
"Only a few years ago, opponents of pension reform disparaged reformers by repeatedly asserting that pension costs only consumed 3% of total operating expenses. Now those costs have tripled and quadrupled, and there is no end in sight. What can local elected officials do? The short answer is not much. At least not yet."

Benefits in General

Taxing Employer-Provided Benefits: Congressional Discussions Continue
"[1] Some limit on 401(k) plans is still on the table, possibly coupled with other saving incentives, such as increasing investments in Roth retirement plans where tax exclusions are shifted to post-retirement years; [2] Some cap on the tax exclusion for short-term disability benefits is possible, which could impact generous leave benefits; ... [3] [At] least for now, there are no plans to change the tax exclusion for employment-based health benefits; and [4] While the Cadillac tax is not currently in the mix, amendments to repeal or delay it are expected."
HR Policy Association

on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Affiliated Service Group (Not a Controlled Group) Involves Plans for Partners and a Safe Harbor Plan for Staffers
There exists a controlled group that includes a plan for staffers under which the participants get a safe harbor contribution, plus individual plans for partners in the employer-partnership, who contribute on an cross-tested basis and do not receive a safe harbor contribution. All plans are tested together. Situation: A new partner would like to start her own plan on 11/1. Although her plan will not have a safe harbor feature, would the staffers plan limit her ability to start such a 401(k) for herself on 11/1? She has never been a participant of any of the involved plans.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Loans in Excess of Limit
The plan administrator inadvertently allows a participant to exceed the plan dollar amount limits when taking out a second loan (second loans are permitted). The plan permits in-service distributions. At the time the loan is taken out, the participant is already 59-1/2. The error is found several months later. Because the participant was already 59-1/2, I believe that the excess amount over the dollar limit should count as a distribution (as opposed to a deemed distribution) and the payments (principal and interest) that have already been made should be applied to the correct loan amount (i.e., the amount that is left once the excess has been characterized as a distribution). In addition, the employer must issue a 1099-R. No VCP is necessary. Am I missing anything here?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Previously Not Excluded, But Now in Excluded Class with Account Balance; Count on 5500?
If an employee was a participant in the plan, deferred into the plan, and established an account balance but then becomes part of an excluded class, does he or she continue to be included in the participant count for purposes of the Form 5500?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

ROBS Plans and UBTI
I've never seen anything on this, which probably means it's OK. Generally, if a qualified plan operates an active trade or business, the income derived from that business may be subject to Unrelated Business Taxable Income. What about a ROBS plan, where the plan owns the stock, or nearly all of it, in the corporation? Does UBTI generally apply, or is there a special exemption?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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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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