Retirement Plans Newsletter

November 16, 2017

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Jobs

Pension Consultant
Spectra Associates, Inc.
in PA

Systems & Services Analyst - Temporary
Pentegra
in NY

Retirement and ESOP Account Administrator
Alerus Financial
in MI, MN, NH

Retirement Plan Administrator
Professional Capital Services
in PA

Pension and Annuity Analyst
Long Island Based [Queens Border] Union Benefit Plan
in NY

Defined Benefit Plan Consultant
The Pension Studio
Telecommute

ERISA Compliance Associate
Slevin & Hart, P.C.
in DC

►See 159 Jobs

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Webcasts, Conferences

New Year, New Vendor? Conducting a Vendor Search: Benefits and Best Practices
December 6, 2017 WEBCAST
Multnomah Group

Annual Employee Benefits Update
December 6, 2017 in IL
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Chicago Downtown Chapter

Legislative Update
December 7, 2017 in IL
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Chicago West Chapter

WEB and CMBA Joint Year-End Legal & Regulatory Update
December 14, 2017 in OH
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Cleveland Chapter

3rd Annual Ascend Education Conference
September 24, 2018 in DC
Ascensus

►See 91 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1346 Recorded Webcasts


Discussions

New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Comments and Topics

All Topics, Grouped by Forum


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[Official Guidance]

Text of Puerto Rico Treasury Administrative Determination No. 17-29: Rules Applicable to Distributions by Qualified Retirement Plans and Individual Retirement Accounts Due to Hurricane Maria
"Eligible Individuals may choose to receive Eligible Distributions independently of other forms of payment available under the Retirement Plan or IRA. In addition, such Eligible Individuals who receive an Eligible Distributorship do not have to be subject to a restriction period in the continuation of their contributions to the Retirement Plan or the IRA after the distribution is completed.... [E]ligible expenses are considered all those expenses that an individual will incur to correct losses or damages suffered by Hurricane Maria for Puerto Rico and extraordinary and unforeseen expenses to cover basic needs as a result of the disaster caused by said phenomenon.... [T]he related expenses may have been incurred by the Eligible Individual, his or her spouse, descendants or ascendants.... During the Eligible Period, the approval and disbursement of loans to participants of a Retirement Plan is permissible, even if at the time the loan is completed, said retirement plan does not provide for them, subject to the plan being amended ... to adopt such loans." [Translation provided by Google Translate; official Spanish-language document is available online.]
Puerto Rico Departamento de Hacienda

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Guidance on Missing Plan Participants and Required Minimum Distributions
"Unlike the DOL, the IRS's [October 19] administrative enforcement guidance ... does not require the administrator to identify and contact the missing participant's designated beneficiary. Moreover, the IRS guidance requires the use of one of [three] search methods ... [T]he DOL does not require that these search methods be used in all cases ... It is not known whether the DOL will give any deference to the IRS's position on what constitutes 'reasonable efforts' to locate missing participants."
Baker Botts L.L.P.

Text of Amicus Brief to First Circuit: Plan Sponsor's Fiduciary Duty Should Be Assessed in Terms of Process Rather Than Hindsight Results
"[A] decision from this Court endorsing Plaintiffs-Appellants' hindsight-based theory of ERISA fiduciary liability, their proposed presumption of imprudence, or their unduly expansive view of the duty of loyalty would saddle [retirement plan sponsors] with increased plan-administration and litigation costs, and their employees with decreased options for retirement savings.... [T]hese burdens would not benefit employees or plans but would be deadweight losses through transaction costs ... [and] these burdens are incompatible with ERISA's text and purposes." [Ellis v. Fidelity Mgmt. Trust Co., No. 17-1693 (1st Cir. brief filed Nov. 13, 2017; on appeal from Ellis v. Fidelity Mgmt. Trust Co., No. 15-14128, D. Mass. June 19, 2017)]
American Benefits Council and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America

Interesting Angles on the DOL's Fiduciary Rule, Part 70
"[R]ecordkeepers will increasingly take advantage of the [independent fiduciaries with financial expertise (IFFE)] carve-out. That means that they will be providing suggested investment line-ups to qualifying IFFE advisors. The advisor will then need to evaluate the line-up and decide whether to present it to the plan sponsor. If an advisor then gives that investment line-up to the plan sponsor, the law will treat it as the advisor's fiduciary recommendation (and, therefore, not as a recommendation by the recordkeeper)."
FredReish.com

Is a Change in MEP Rules Imminent?
"On November 14, [OMB] received from the DOL a proposed rule which would broaden the definition of employer under ERISA to allow more businesses to join association health plans.... [The DOL's position in Advisory Opinion 2012-04A was] that it had no authority to redefine [the] historical definition of employer it developed for MEWA purposes merely for retirement plan purposes, that it was bound by the statute to apply the same 'employer' definition to both health plans and retirement plans. Does this mean that the new proposed definition of 'employer' will, necessarily, by operation of statute, be expanded for retirement plan purposes as well?"
Business of Benefits

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401(k) and 403(b) Contributions Still on the Chopping Block
"Here's what is now under consideration: [1] The maximum catch up contribution would be increased to $9000, but catch up contributions would have to be made on a ROTH basis.... [2] No catch up contributions would be permitted for employees earning more than $500,000. [3] Catch up contributions for pre-retirees and long service employees under 403(b) and 457 plans would be eliminated. [4] Special post-termination employer contributions for 403(b) plan participants would be eliminated. [5] The rules permitting contributions to a 457(b) plan in addition to maximum 401(k) and 403(b) contributions would be eliminated."
Cohen & Buckmann, P.C.

Participants Say More Information About Plan Investment Fees Would Be Useful
"[N]early seven in 10 survey respondents in employer-sponsored retirement plans said they were at least somewhat familiar with their plan's fees, while 31% were not at all familiar with the fees. Roughly two-thirds had not read any investment fee disclosure in the previous year.... Of the one-third who had read a fee disclosure, nearly seven in 10 said they found the information understandable ... Roughly four in five participants said it would be at least somewhat useful to have additional information about investment fees."
PLANSPONSOR

Defined Benefit Plans: 10 New Definitions for 2018
"As changes occur in the defined benefit plan landscape, our business language needs to keep up.... Outdated terms may lead to excessive risk taking and time wasted on short-term issues that have little or no bearing on pension plan success. These new definitions can help improve how sponsors, consultants and managers address pension plan challenges as we head into 2018."
Willis Towers Watson

U.S. Single Premium Pension Buy-Out Sales Post Record-Breaking Results for Second Consecutive Quarter
"U.S. single premium pension buy-out product sales were $6.4 billion in the third quarter of 2017, a 7 percent increase compared with prior year. This is the tenth consecutive quarter of sales over $1 billion ... Year-to-date, single premium buy-out product sales were $11.9 billion, 47 percent higher than the same period in 2016."
LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute

Do Consumers Believe in Debt After Retirement?
"Debt levels for those aged 65-80 increased 40 percent from 2003-2015 ... While two-thirds of consumers see mortgage debt during working years as 'good' debt, only 4 in 10 feel the same about it in retirement. Two-thirds of consumers don't think people should carry mortgage debt into retirement."
LIMRA

Benefits in General

JCT Correction to the Description of the Chairman's Modification to the Chairman's Mark of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
"As previously published [on Nov. 14], the description of the modification to the Chairman's mark contained a misprint of certain calculations in the rate tables. Printed [in this document] is the correct table. [JCT has] highlighted those numbers that have been corrected from the prior version."
Joint Committee on Taxation [JCT], U.S. Congress

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Should You Make Your Annual Incentive Bonuses Deductible in 2017?
"A potential sticking point for many companies is that they require their employees to be employed on the day bonuses are paid, usually in March 2018. Ordinarily, that requirement would cause the bonus program to fail the 'all events test' under Code Section 461 and, consequently, prevent deduction in 2017. However, there are other methods of satisfying the 'all events test' to allow a company to deduct in 2017, employee bonuses paid in 2018."
Winston & Strawn LLP

2017 End of Year Plan Sponsor 'To Do' List, Part 3: Executive Comp
"Last chance to correct certain Section 409A document failures discovered in 2017 ... Nonqualified deferred compensation deferral elections should be made on or before December 31, 2017 ... Consider shareholder reapproval of Section 162(m) performance compensation plans approved in 2013 ... Review whether your equity-based compensation plan has sufficient shares remaining for 2018 awards ... Consider adding separate annual limits on director equity awards ... Section 6039 information statements due by January 31, 2018 ... Consider revising stock-based incentive programs in response to FASB's new approach to share-based withholding."
Snell & Wilmer

Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Applying a Document's Provision for Termination Upon Acquisition of the Plan Sponsor
Employer A merges with employer B. Employer B gives stock in B to A in exchange for all of the stock in A. (I would say this is treated like a stock sale.) Employer A never terminated its plan. A wants to terminate its plan so the owner can do a rollover. Typically since B now owns the stock in A it would decide what to do with A's Plan. But our plan document says that if the employer is acquired and the new employer doesn't continue the plan then the plan terminates automatically. B would eventually want to start a new plan (maybe next year) but they haven't yet done so, leaving A's plan alone for the moment. Can the owners of A rely on that provision in their plan to pay their plan out rather than be forced to merge it with B's future Plan or relinquish control of its plan to B?
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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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