Retirement Plans Newsletter

November 28, 2017 logo logo
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[Official Guidance]

Social Security Announces Updated 2018 Taxable Maximum Amount
"Based on the wage data Social Security had at the time of the October 13, 2017 announcement, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) was to increase to $128,700 in 2018, from $127,200 in 2017. The new amount for 2018, based on updated wage data reported to Social Security, is $128,400."
U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA]


States & Localities Pose Serious Threat to Employee Benefits

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[Guidance Overview]

DOL Finalizes BICE Transition Period Extension to July 1, 2019 (PDF)
"The Department indicates it intends to utilize the next 18 months to re-examine the fiduciary rule as instructed by the President's February 3, 2017 memorandum. The Department also signals a desire to coordinate with other federal and state regulators, including the SEC, FINRA and the NAIC as part of that effort. The Department anticipates the proposal of a new streamlined class exemption 'in the near future.' "
Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

Mediation of PBGC Disputes: A New and Welcome Option (PDF)
"This article provides a brief history of the background leading to the pilot mediation program, a description of the two categories of disputes that are eligible for the program, and a summary of the basic rules that apply to the program."
Keightley & Ashner LLP, via Bloomberg Law Pension & Benefits Daily

Protecting Retirement Plans from Identity Theft
"Retirement plans can have very large balances compared to other cyber targets such as bank accounts, and therefore, have become quite attractive to cyber criminals. Cybercrime related to retirement plans can occur as a result of threats such as phishing, ransomware, 'social engineering,' and wire transfer fraud, among others.... [R]etirement plans should remind their employees to confirm the identity of individuals who call claiming to be a plan participant, especially if the individual is calling to make a withdrawal or transfer."
Ice Miller LLP

What the New Form 5500 Means for 401(k) Advisors
"[P]roposals suggest that a 'modernized' Form 5500 will compel plan sponsors to deliver a trove of information -- some of it new -- in formats that facilitate data mining.... The sharper edge of modernization may be an improved ability to identify anomalies and compliance issues."
401K Specialist


Things Have Changed Are You Up-To-Date?

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House HELP Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on PBGC
"On Wednesday, November 29 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions [HELP] will hold a hearing on 'Financial Challenges Facing the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Implications for Pension Plans, Workers, and Retirees.' ... The subcommittee hearing will examine how pension plans, workers, and retirees may be affected by financial challenges faced by the [PBGC]."
Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives

Are Annuities a Viable Retirement Solution?
"There are definite advantages to annuities that may make them a suitable choice for a portion of your total retirement income, but there are some downsides that purchasers need to be aware of before incorporating them into their retirement planning."
Frenkel Benefits

Do Specialized Retirement Plan Advisers Even Need a Broker-Dealer?
"While [the broker-dealers'] relationship with 401(k) advisers may have been more transaction- and compensation-oriented in the past, their utility has become one founded more on adviser-support functions as the retirement market has become more challenging to navigate. That helps advisers focus more on servicing clients than worrying about the minutiae of running a business."


Moving to 401(k)-Style Retirement for Kentucky Teachers Will Reduce Costs
"[A]ctuaries working for the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System claim that Gov. Matt Bevin's plan to switch newly hired public employees to 401(k)-type retirement accounts would cost billions more than simply keeping them in their traditional 'defined benefit' pension plan. This conclusion flies in the face of a worldwide movement toward 401(k)s that was designed to reduce costs. And it has."
American Enterprise Institute

Benefits in General

Disability Claims Procedure Regs Delayed ... for the Last Time?
"EBSA currently remains unconvinced that the revised claims procedures are overreaching. In the preamble regarding the delay, it states that based on information and data provided to date, no substantive changes or delay past April 1 is warranted. However, through December 11, 2017 interested parties may submit comments, data and 'convincing factual support' for EBSA's review."
Mayer Brown

Focus on Employees' Motivations to Help Them Understand and Maximize the Value of Their Benefits (PDF)
16 pages. "Today, employees are expected to fully understand which benefits will serve them best -- now and in the future -- and then effectively allocate their benefit dollars across a vast range of choices ... [T]hree key strategies for employers ... [1] Speak clearly about the coverage; [use] a simple four-point formula. [2] Communicate in multiple ways ... [3] Focus on motivations that most impact decision-making[.]"
Lincoln Financial Group

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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