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Sr. Benefits Analyst
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
in CO

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Webcasts, Conferences

The Looming Liability of Target Date Funds
January 23, 2018 WEBCAST

Retirement Insights & Answers
February 20, 2018 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

Impact of Tax Reform on Executive Compensation: The New Landscape and the Road Ahead
January 22, 2018 WEBCAST
American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education Group [ALI CLE]

►See 125 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Instructions for 2017 IRS Form 8955-SSA: Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits (PDF)
Rev. Dec. 28, 2017. "The SSA no longer processes nonstandard pages 2. Report information about separated participants only on page 2 of Form 8955-SSA. If additional space is needed for separated participants, use additional pages 2 only. Do not add another page 1 of Form 8955-SSA, spreadsheets, or other nonstandard formats. A Form 8955-SSA need not be filed for a year if no information is required to be provided for that year by these instructions." [Also online: 2017 Form 8955-SSA (fillable PDF for download; may not open correctly in some browsers)]
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


Navigating the Compliance Challenges of Missing Participants

Sponsored by Pension Benefit Information, Inc.

The DOL is coming ... Pension plan audits are on the rise with a specific focus on the Term-Vested population and RMD. Attend our free webinar that will educate you on the DOL focus, identify options and introduce you to our new Term-Vested Audit & Remediation Service.

[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Final Regs on Missing Participants: Roadmap Emerges for Due Diligence
"[T]he PBGC consulted and coordinated with both the IRS and the DOL ... The three pieces of recent guidance ... DOL Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2014-01 on Fiduciary Duties and Missing Participants in Terminated Defined Contribution Plans ... The PBGC Rule ... The IRS October 19, 2017 Memorandum ... can be viewed as a rough roadmap -- endorsed by all three agencies -- for plan fiduciaries trying to determine the appropriate due diligence steps to take with respect to missing participants."
Morgan Lewis

[Guidance Overview]

New York Department of Financial Services Proposes Fiduciary Regulation
"If adopted, the Proposal would establish a New York-specific standard for insurance licensee conduct by expanding the scope and requirements of New York's suitability regulation, which currently applies to annuity contracts.... The Proposal ... will overlap in part with the DOL fiduciary rule and a soon-to-be-proposed SEC rule as well as related standards/proposals in states such as Nevada and Connecticut, raising potentially conflicting requirements, compliance challenges, and enforcement uncertainty."
Drinker Biddle

Lawsuit Moves Forward Over University of Chicago Retirement Plan Expenses
"The university worker who challenged the school's $2.1 billion plan sufficiently alleged that he paid excessive record-keeping and administrative fees, a federal judge ruled Jan. 10. In September, the school convinced the judge to dismiss all claims related to this plan -- leaving in place only challenges to the school's smaller $980 million plan -- by arguing that none of the workers involved in the lawsuit received benefits through the bigger plan. The workers resolved that issue by adding a new party to the lawsuit, the judge said, and he allowed challenges to both plans to move forward." [Daugherty v. Univ. of Chicago, No. 17-3736 (N.D. Ill. Jan 10, 2018)]
Bloomberg BNA

Changing Retirement Plan Administrative Services Providers: Considerations and Pitfalls for Employers
"An employer should give special consideration to the following: Request for a Proposal (RFP) ... Services agreement ... Plan document ... Understanding fees ... Blackout periods and investment lineup changes ... Monitoring service providers."
Stevens & Lee


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U.S. Population Mortality Observations, Updated with 2016 Experience (PDF)
55 pages. "The Society of Actuaries has developed this report to provide insights on the historical levels and emerging trends in U.S. population mortality.... The overall age adjusted mortality rate (both genders) from all causes of death decreased 0.6% in 2016.... Mortality improvement in older age groups offset large mortality increases, mostly due to external causes, in middle age groups.... The rate of overall mortality improvement has slowed in the most recent five years."
Society of Actuaries

EBRI Policy Forum on Retirement and Financial Wellbeing, 2017: Summaries and Links to Presentations (PDF)
"[P]resenters at EBRI's 82nd Policy Forum examined retirement security topics with a special focus on overall financial wellbeing.... [Topics included:] [1] How sufficiently have Americans saved for retirement ... [2] Whether options are available to help improve the current state ... [3] How can we protect retirement security for those who struggle with their financial wellbeing? [4] What are the best ways to examine and address financial difficulties? [5] [What are the] research tools, ideas, and analyses that employers, policymakers, and other stakeholders can use in approaching these and other questions?"
Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

The Power of the Financial Wellness Effect
12 pages. "There is growing acceptance among employers that helping employees achieve financial wellness drives value not only for employees, but also for employers ... Employers can maximize the effectiveness of their financial wellness programs by: designing a program that is informed by insights into the unique financial needs of their employees; successfully educating and engaging employees; and helping employees take concrete actions to improve their financial health."

Benefits in General

Employee Benefits Resolutions for 2018
"January is a great time ... to tidy up your employee benefit plan documents! ... Re-evaluation of your benefits advisers (third party administrators, investment advisers, auditors and even us attorneys) is not only good common sense, it's required under ERISA.... [C]arefully review cybersecurity protections offered (or perhaps not offered) by service providers.... Review electronic distribution of benefit plans.... [W]hy not try out some new benefits?"
Mintz Levin

No Further Delay for Disability Claim Procedure Rules, DOL Says
"The Final Rule adds several new requirements for the processing of claims and appeals for disability benefits, including the following: Explanation of reasons for denial ... Statements regarding claim file and internal protocols ... Limitations on denials based on new information ... Avoidance of conflicts of interest ... Deemed exhaustion of claims procedures ... Coverage rescissions ... Communication requirements in non-English languages."
Winston & Strawn LLP

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Nonprofits and Governments Face Compensation and Benefits Issues Under the New Tax Law
"What employers are covered? What employees are covered? What compensation is covered? What is excess compensation? What are excess severance benefits? How do these rules differ from the comparable rules for taxable employers? How does the tax on excess compensation differ from the 'reasonable compensation' rules? How do the excise taxes affect the ability to promote medical employees to other positions? How do the excise taxes affect deferred compensation? How does the excise tax affect fringe benefits?"
Venable LLP

[Guidance Overview]

New Code Section 83(i): Qualified Equity Grant Programs Permit Employees to Elect to Defer Income Taxes on Stock Options or RSUs (PDF)
"[W]hen an employee vests in a qualified equity grant, the employee can elect to defer for up to five years the income taxes that otherwise would be due on the date the stock vests or is transferred to the employee.... [W]hen an employee makes a Code section 83(i) deferral election, the 'deferral stock' begins its holding period for long-term capital gain tax treatment on the date the qualified stock is transferred to the employee, even though the employee will not pay taxes on the value of the qualified stock for up to five years."
Trucker Huss

[Guidance Overview]

Does Repeal of the Section 162(m) Performance-Based Exception Signal the End of Performance Pay?
"The following plan provisions will need to be evaluated due to the new changes: [1] Compensation Committee composition; [2] Individual award limits; [3] Performance goals and exclusions and their pre-establishment; [4] Compensation Committee certification of satisfaction of performance goals; and [5] Prohibition on the use of positive discretion."

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Looking for Training Courses on Basics of 401(k) Plans
I am looking into training and development courses for 2 employees. One has no 401k experience and the other has some basic knowledge. I know there's a few different organizations out there that offer courses. Right now I'm looking for one that offers the basic ABC's of 401k administration. Any suggestions?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Can Matching Contribution Formula Differ Within the Group of HCEs?
I have a client with a great number of highly compensated employees. They want to have a different matching formula for some but not all of the HCEs. Can we have a different matching formula based on years of service? How much of a discrepancy would be permitted?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

RMD to Non-Owner from Terminated Plan Even Though Still Working?
Company owner passes away and Company is sold fairly quickly. All participants continue working for the new owner in same positions. Existing 401(k) plan is terminated by deceased owner's spouse (also a trustee). One participant is over 70 -1/2, is not an owner, is still working. Is he required to take an RMD from his plan account under the terminated plan prior to rollover? The plan document does delay RMDs for non-owners until actual retirement.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Surprise! Sponsor-Client Established New Controlled Companies, Moved Employees Over to Them
One of our clients has a 401(k) plan. During 2017, the employer created 2 new controlled group companies. All of the employees then became employees of one of the new companies. We were never informed of this and the 2 new companies were never added to the plan as participating employers. They continued to deposit deferrals for the employees. Do the deferrals have to be refunded? Or can this be corrected under EPCRS? Any other suggestions?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Court Orders Illinois Business Owner to Restore Losses To Retirement Plan and Trust After Fiduciary Violations
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2018, 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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