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ESOP Administrator
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
in VA, Telecommute

Senior Consultant
USI Consulting Group
in CT, NY

Employee Benefits Manager
County of Sonoma Human Resources Department
in CA

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Webcasts, Conferences

Cybersecurity Risks and Employee Benefit Plans
February 28, 2018 WEBCAST
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB]

Multiemployer Pension Plan Withdrawal: An In-Depth Examination
March 20, 2018 WEBCAST

Employee Benefits Spring Update, Including Tax Reform
April 9, 2018 in DC
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

Advanced ERISA Litigation National Institute
May 15, 2018 in IL
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

►See 144 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1379 Recorded Webcasts


New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Request for Public Comments on Proposed Changes to Survey of Nonparticipating Single Premium Group Annuity Rates
"PBGC gathers pricing data from insurance companies that are providing annuity contracts to terminating pension plans through a quarterly 'Survey of Nonparticipating Single Premium Group Annuity Rates.' The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) distributes the survey and provides PBGC with 'blind' data ... PBGC also uses the information from the survey in determining the interest rates it uses to value benefits payable to participants and beneficiaries in PBGC-trusteed plans for purposes of PBGC's financial statements. PBGC is proposing several changes to the survey distributed by ACLI[.]"
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

[Advert.] -- The Market Leader in Form 5500 Software and Filings

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[Guidance Overview]

2018 Pension Plan Limitations: IRS Confirms No Changes Due to Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017
"As the recently enacted tax legislation made no changes to the section of the tax law limiting benefits and contributions for retirement plans, the qualified retirement plan limitations for tax year 2018 previously announced in the news release and detailed in [Notice 2017-64] remain unchanged."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

A Simple Guide for Meeting 401(k) Fiduciary Responsibilities
"[1] Meeting investment-related responsibilities ... [2] Meeting administration-related responsibilities ... [3] Paying only reasonable expenses from plan assets.... [4] Depositing employee contributions timely ... [5] Maintaining adequate ERISA fidelity bond coverage ... [6] Selecting and monitoring 401(k) service providers."
Employee Fiduciary

RadioShack Defeats Challenge to Stock Losses in 401(k) Plan
"The workers' allegations -- that the executives were imprudent by failing to respond to public information on RadioShack's financial decline and insider information suggesting the stock was overvalued -- aren't sufficient to state a claim under [ERISA], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held Feb. 6." [Singh v. RadioShack Corp., No. 16-11587 (5th Cir. Feb. 6, 2018)]
Bloomberg BNA

Why Plan Sponsors are Considering CITs -- or Should Be
"60% of employers would consider offering a Collective Investment Trust (CIT) or other alternative investment vehicle to a mutual fund if it has the same objective, but lower fees in order to reduce their litigation risk.... There are often cost advantages to using CITs.... CITs are increasingly accessible.... Participants usually benefit with CITs."
Manning & Napier


2018 SPARK National Conference -- June 14-15, National Harbor, MD

Sponsored by SPARK

The retirement services industry's leading event for top marketing, sales, administration and record keeping professionals. Comprehensive agenda is designed to meet the needs of 401(k) Plan Providers, Financial Advisors and Record Keepers.

How Tax Reform Could Influence Defined Benefit Funding Decisions in 2018
"The timing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act presents many sponsors with an immediate opportunity to make a pension contribution in 2018 and obtain a deduction at the higher 2017 tax rate. For companies with a calendar year tax and plan year, they have until September 15, 2018 to make this contribution decision. While this is an attractive incentive to speed up contributions, sponsors considering this option will need to give serious thought to how it will impact their broader pension financial management strategy."
Willis Towers Watson


Testimony for Senate Committee Hearing on 'Exploring the "Gig Economy" and the Future of Retirement Savings'
"In practice ... nonstandard work is often low-paid and precarious work that is not conducive to saving or accruing retirement benefits. The bad news is that this problem is likely to be getting worse. The good news is that efforts to improve retirement security for all workers would disproportionately help nonstandard workers."
Economic Policy Institute

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Section 162(m)
"The Act's conference agreement ... makes clear that a contract that was in place prior to November 2, 2017, and that is renewed after that date, will be treated as a new contract that will no longer qualify for the transition rule. The requirement of a written binding contract under the transition rule raises issues such as whether a contract or plan subject to the compensation committee's discretion to adjust a performance award downward will result in the contract being ineligible for the transition rule."
Benefits Bryan Cave

[Guidance Overview]

Don't Overlook Death and Disability Benefits in Reporting Potential Payments Upon Termination of Employment or Change in Control
"Many companies' equity incentive plans or award agreements provide for full or partially accelerated vesting upon an executive's termination of employment due to death or disability.... Compliance and Disclosure Interpretation (C&DI) Question 126.02 states that the Instruction 5 standard that the 'scope' of arrangements not discriminate in favor of executive officers would not be satisfied where the awards to executives are in amounts greater than those provided to all salaried employees -- which is nearly always the case."
Winston & Strawn LLP

The Purpose and Importance of Executive Compensation (PDF)
"[H]igh-performing corporations are increasingly important to global society -- beyond economic growth -- and a strategic, principles-based approach to executive compensation helps to drive optimal business performance. That means creating an effective executive compensation system ultimately generates value for senior managers, their companies (including other employees), the economy, and society."
Willis Towers Watson

Overarching and Operating Principles of Executive Compensation (PDF)
"[F]our overarching principles form the foundation of an effective [executive compensation] program: ... [1] 'Purpose' captures why an organization exists, what its mission is with its various constituents, and its strategy and objectives.... [2] 'Alignment' captures the essence of agency theory ... by ensuring that management is aligned with and acting in the best interests of shareholders, and possibly in those of other stakeholders.... [3] 'Accountability' captures the relationship among pay, organization performance, and individual actions.... [4] 'Engagement' captures human motivation and the psychological implications of disciplines like behavioral economics and self-determination theory."
Willis Towers Watson

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

SCP Correction by Plan Amendment for Early Entries into Plan?
Plan allowed all participants into the plan early for more than 20 years. Both HCEs and NHCEs were allowed in early. If the early inclusion of participants is significant (or assumed to be significant), can we adopt a retroactive amendment under SCP? Does the requirement that significant operational failures be corrected within two years apply to corrections by plan amendments? Assume there is no discrimination issue.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Self-Employment Comp: Effect of Pre-Tax and After-Tax Contributions
Alpha and Beta are equal partners and each gets a K-1 (historically identical). Alpha makes pretax contributions which are included in Box 13 (a deduction). Beta makes Roth contributions which are included in Box 4 (a guaranteed payment). Thus Alpha and Beta end up with different Box 14 numbers. When allocating profit sharing, does Beta have higher compensation than Able and thus receive a larger profit sharing allocation? If so, is that a way to avoid that result?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

How to Update Our 401(k) Plan's Claims Procedures for Disability Benefits
I have questions about updating our prototype 401(k) plan disability benefit claims procedures for the new rules that start April 1. [1] Does the plan document for the prototype 401(k) plan need to be amended? [2] If so, is the deadline April 1 or the end of the plan year? [3] Should the prototype document provider prepare this amendment? [4] If we prepare our own amendment to the prototype, will it still be a prototype plan? [5] Which of the new rules must be spelled out in the SPD?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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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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