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Defined Contribution Client Relationship Manager
Niles Lankford Group & Affiliated Companies
in AZ, IN, OH, SC, Telecommute

Defined Benefit Client Relationship Manager
Niles Lankford Group & Affiliated Companies
in AZ, IN, OH, SC, Telecommute

Bilingual Relationship Manager
John Hancock
in TX

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Webcasts, Conferences

What a Relief: Disaster Assistance for Retirement Plans

Making of a Regulation: How Guidance Is Born
May 1, 2018 WEBCAST
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

ESOP Distribution Policies
May 22, 2018 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

Deferring Taxation Using the Section 1042 "Rollover"
May 29, 2018 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

►See 152 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1358 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

February Federal Budget Deal Revisits Previously Proposed Changes to Qualified Retirement Plan Rules
"[S]ince both the plan loan and six month suspension are part of the IRS 'safe harbor,' deciding not to make theses change will impact hardship administration (e.g., the new relaxed IRS substantiation guidelines only applies to safe harbor hardship distributions).... Employers wishing to continue to rely on the safe harbors (as opposed to making individual hardship determinations) should plan to adopt these provisions."
Baker McKenzie


Free Webcast on National Employee Benefits Day [April 2]

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

On April 2, the International Foundation will host a free webcast: Small Tweaks, Big Impact: The Power of Behavioral Decision-Making for the Plan Sponsor. Learn tools and tips to help your participants make the most of their benefit options. Register Today!

Edward Jones Can't Escape 401(k) Fee Class Action
"Edward Jones argued that the workers failed to plead additional facts showing that the fiduciary's decision was based on financial interest rather than a legitimate consideration. The company also said the workers didn't include facts suggesting that the choice of higher-cost affiliated funds was the result of flawed decision-making. [The judge] rejected the argument. The workers' allegations were sufficient to raise an inference of disloyalty and imprudence, he said." [Schultz v. Edward Jones & Co., L.P., No. 16-1346 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 27, 2018)]
Bloomberg BNA

Seventh Circuit Rejects 'Big Buyer' Defense to Successor Liability
"[T]he Seventh Circuit rejected the purchaser's so-called 'big buyer' defense that it did not substantially continue the seller's business because the seller's operations made up only a small proportion of the purchaser's operations.... [T]he Court explained that the appropriate inquiry was the extent to which the purchaser continues the seller's business after the asset purchase, which required an evaluation of the totality of the circumstances." [Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Benefit Fund v. ManWeb Services, Inc., No. 16-2840 (7th Cir. Mar. 12, 2018)]
Proskauer's ERISA Practice Center

Court Dismisses Fiduciary Breach Claims Against Aon Hewitt with Respect to Financial Engines Arrangement
"[T]he fact that courts are dismissing these cases against providers does not mean that a participant advice arrangement cannot violate ERISA. Indeed, it is certainly possible that such an arrangement could be unreasonably priced. In this regard perhaps the most interesting language in the decision was the court's explanation of the 'reasonableness' standard in this context: The analysis is to focus on the fair market value of the the services as a bundle, not on how the two service providers -- the recordkeeping platform provider and the advice provider -- divide up the total fee." [Scott v. Aon Hewitt Fin. Advisors, LLC, No. 17-679 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 19, 2018)]
October Three Consulting

How to Avoid or Reduce Multiemployer Pension Plan Withdrawal Liability
"There are at least 17 provisions in MPPAA that abate, reduce, offset, or eliminate withdrawal liability. [This article includes] a list of those provisions and a brief explanation of each[.]"
Frost Brown Todd LLC


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. Contact the pros at PBI to learn more about our new Term-Vested Audit & Remediation Service.

Understanding and Evaluating Retirement Plan Fees
"The criteria for fee and performance reviews should be contained in the plan's investment policy statement ... Recordkeeping and administrative fees should be evaluated and compared to plans of similar size and type that are receiving analogous services.... Other service provider fees should be evaluated on an annual basis, including audit fees, legal fees and investment advisory and consulting fees."
Cammack Retirement Group

Frequently Asked Questions About Prevalence of 401(k) Plans
"How large are 401(k)s? ... How many Americans have 401(k)s? ... How did 401(k) participants fare through the financial crisis and economic recession? ... What role do mutual funds play in 401(k) plan investing? ... What role do retirement account investments play in the mutual fund industry? ... What is the average 401(k) plan account balance? ... How have 401(k) participants allocated their investments? ... Does age affect a 401(k) participant's asset allocation? ... How many participants borrow against their 401(k)s? ... What is the average outstanding loan balance through 401(k) plans?"
Investment Company Institute [ICI]

Pension Review 2017: It Should Be Different This Year (PDF)
17 pages. "Ninety percent of the plans in [this] sample posted a year-over-year increase in their funded percentage, and the system as a whole saw a rise in aggregate funded status of over 4 percentage points. Strong asset returns and voluntary contribution activity drove funded levels higher, although lower discount rates offset some of the gains. Actual allocations to fixed income were only marginally higher than the year before, indicating that 2018 may be the year that many plans undertake portfolio adjustments." [Also available: 22-page chartpack]
Goldman Sachs

Retirement Readiness Takes a Dip as Employers Focus on Health Care
"The steps companies are taking to promote retirement readiness among employees don't seem to be having much -- or any -- impact. Despite the generally strong performance of financial markets, the proportion of employees with a positive outlook on retirement tumbled sharply between 2015 and 2017[.]"

CFP Board Approves New Ethics and Conduct Standards, Expands Fiduciary Duty
"The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards' board has approved the second installment of revisions to its Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct ... [T]he board 'unanimously' approved the new standards requiring CFPs to 'at all times' act as a fiduciary when providing financial advice to a client.... The new standards take effect on Oct. 1, 2019[.]"


Constructing 'The Best' 401(k) Investment Menu? Really?
"[S]hort-term bonds are ... a meaningful, although distinctly underutilized, addition. Perhaps a true bear market in bonds will change how employees invest in fixed income but, overall, providing one stop diversified options like asset allocation or target date funds as the foundation of an investment lineup is a much sounder approach.... While using the lowest cost share class available is advisable ... DOL, the courts and too broad a range of authorities to list have confirmed and reaffirmed what the fiduciary obligation really is and it is not to use the lowest cost share class, period."
Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

Expanded Disability Claims Procedure Rules Become Effective in Three Days
"Plan sponsors need to review their plans to determine whether such plans provide disability benefits and, if so, whether the rule applies. This review should encompass not only short- and long-term disability plans, but also ERISA-governed retirement, severance and 'top hat' plans that provide disability benefits.... [A]ppropriate steps should be taken to amend plan documents, prepare necessary participant communications and confirm proper administration of any disability claims filed on or after April 1."

Press Releases

IRI President and CEO Announces Retirement
Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

DOL Investigation Results in Federal Court Ordering Former 401(k) Manager to Pay Restitution
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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