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ESOP Administrator
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
in VA, Telecommute

Senior ERISA Legal Compliance Counsel
Hall Benefits Law
in GA

Senior Health Benefits Analyst
The Segal Group
in AZ

Pension Plan Administrator
American Pension Advisors, Ltd.
in IN

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Webcasts, Conferences

2018 Retirement Research Consortium Meeting
August 2, 2018 in DC
National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER]

PBGC Filing Requirements for Reportable Events and Premiums
August 23, 2018 WEBCAST
ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries [ACOPA]

Handling the Repurchase Obligation: Forecasting
September 4, 2018 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

►See 135 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1399 Recorded Webcasts


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Stakeholders Propose Ideas for Expanding the Determination Letter Program

"The main themes in comments from employee benefits trade organizations ... included: [1] Significant legislative and regulatory changes ... [2] Significant plan design changes ... [3] Mergers and acquisitions ... The comments also included recommendations on other avenues for obtaining the IRS stamp of approval[:] Third-party certification ... Letter rulings ... [and] Limited scope reviews."


DATAIR's Ultimate Cash Balance Plan Seminar November 15-16, 2018

Sponsored by DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems, Inc.

Join DATAIR and Cash Balance experts Norman Levinrad and Kevin Donovan who will cover everything you need to know about Cash Balance Plans from theory to practice in this one seminar. CE approved for JBEA, ERPA and ASPPA. Register now.

Cybersecurity and Retirement Plans

"Are qualified retirement plans really at risk? ... What kind of information (and assets) 'precisely' is at risk? ... What steps should be taken to safeguard retirement plan assets and information?"
McGuireWoods, LLP

Why Plan Participant Education is Essential

"Only through educated engagement with their retirement plans can participants maximize the value they derive from participating in an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan. In turn, this success boosts employee confidence and increases the value of the plan as a recruiting and retention tool.... [1] Identify areas of need ... [2] Outline ongoing, systematic educational techniques ... [3] Follow up individually."

Consumers in Asia Are More Confident in Retirement Prospects Than Their U.S. Counterparts

"In the U.S., the average age consumers started saving for retirement is 35 while in Asia the average age was five years older at 40. Even though they started saving later in life, consumers in Asia expected to retire at age 60, six years earlier than U.S. consumers.... Sixty-nine percent of consumers in Asia expressed confidence in being able to retire and live the lifestyle they wanted, while only 50 percent of American consumers had that level of confidence."

Governance Checklist for Today's Investment Committees

"Tasks that were once the purview of an investment committee (e.g., manager selection and rebalancing) are increasingly delegated to investment staff or transferred to an outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) partner.... The biggest change in the investment committee's responsibilities occurs with the activities that fall between defining the objectives and monitoring progress towards those objectives. Namely, the design and implementation of the investment strategy."
Russell Investments


SPARK Forum - November 4-6, 2018 -- The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL

Sponsored by SPARK

Join us at the retirement services industry's leading event for top marketing, sales, administration and record keeping professionals. Comprehensive agenda includes topics of interest to Record Keepers, 401(k) Plan Providers, Financial Advisors and Cyber Security Professionals.

Fiduciary Standards for State and Local Government Retirement Plans

"To determine the responsibilities of trustees and other fiduciaries of state and local government plans, one needs to look to the statutes and regulations of the particular state. Interestingly, the language concerning fiduciary duties in many state statutes looks a lot like ERISA's.... A few states specifically incorporate ERISA provisions or DOL rules into their laws."
J.P. Morgan Asset Management

How Do College Employees Choose Between Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans?

"This study examines how faculty and staff at the University System of Georgia make this decision ... Mid-career, female, black and lower-paid employees all tend to prefer the defined benefit plan. Preference for the defined benefit plan rose for faculty during the period studied and fell for other staff. Those who choose the defined benefit plan often cite its perceived financial security. Those who choose the defined contribution plan often cite the likelihood of leaving their employer before the end of the defined benefit plan's 10-year vesting period."
TIAA Institute

Funded Status Rises in June by $23 Billion (PDF)

"The funded status of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit pension plans increased by $23 billion during June ... The deficit fell to $118 billion from $141 billion at the end of May due to an increase in the benchmark corporate bond interest rates used to value pension liabilities.... As of June 30, the funded ratio climbed to 92.8%, up from 91.6% at the end of May. The mid-year funded ratio is well above the 87.6% at the start of 2018."

What Explains the Differences in Public Pension Returns Since 2001?

"Investment returns for state and local pension plans varied over 2001-2016 from 6.3 percent for the top quartile to 4.6 percent for the bottom. The variation could be due to differences in asset allocation and/or to the returns by asset class. The analysis found that asset allocation -- in equities, fixed income, and alternatives -- was broadly similar across plans, while asset class returns showed more variation. Therefore, asset class returns turned out to be the primary reason for the disparities in overall returns."
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College


Plan Sponsors Should Protect 401(k) Participant Loans from Default

"The problem is not loans per se, the real risk is when loans default. Yet many plan sponsors remain unaware of the size and scope of loan defaults each year (over $6 billion a year and counting) or, even more worrisome, their fiduciary obligation to address them.... Some plan sponsors are beginning to experiment with post-separation repayments, but so far employees without a job aren't rushing to sign up."
Employee Benefit Adviser


Yesterday's 401(k) Is Not the Same as Tomorrow's 401(k)

"[T]here is no solution for workers who do not have retirement preparation as a priority. There is no retirement preparation solution for those who suffer repeated employment, financial, medical or other setbacks throughout their working careers.... [T]he 401(k)'s past is not its future [and] most of the academic and media criticism of individual account retirement savings plans is based on what retirement professionals see in their rear view mirror."
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]


What Is PEPTA and How Would It Impact Public Pensions?

"PEPTA would require state and local public pension plans to disclose their unfunded liabilities to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, but it would require them to calculate their liabilities using the rate of return on U.S. Treasury bonds. This would artificially inflate the unfunded liabilities to much higher levels than what the plans actually face.... The federal government has very little oversight of state and local pension plans.... These plans do report plenty of relevant information to the stakeholders in their states."
National Public Pension Coalition


Pennsylvania's Pension Fury?

"Joseph Torsella, state treasurer, has accused Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) and Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) of wasting $5.5 billion paid as fees to Wall Street investment managers whose funds performed poorly. The dispute follows similar rows in Maryland and California, where pension officials were forced to admit their failure over decades to disclose multimillion-dollar payments to private equity managers."
Pension Pulse

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Disaster Relief Notice TX-2018-05, for Victims of Severe Storms and Flooding in Texas

"Victims of severe storms and flooding that began on June 19, 2018 in parts of Texas may qualify for tax relief from the [IRS].... Individuals who reside or have a business in Cameron and Hidalgo counties may qualify for tax relief.... certain deadlines falling on or after June 19, 2018 and before Oct. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Oct. 31, 2018."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

A Key Threshold Is Increased for Private Company Equity Compensation

"Many private companies restrict their equity compensation grants so as to stay within [the SEC Rule 701] $5 million limit and thereby avoid the requirement to disclose confidential financial and other information about the company, even if that means offering less equity to employees than the owners might otherwise like to provide.... Section 507 of the [Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law on May 24,] directs the SEC to revise Rule 701(e) within 60 days of enactment to increase this amount to $10 million and thereafter to index it for inflation every five years[.]"
Willis Towers Watson

How Do I Report Non-Qualified Plan or Severance Payments to a Former Employee?

"[If] the employer makes any non-qualified or severance payments to a person that are connected with or result from employee status, then such payments should be reported on Form W-2. That requirement applies regardless of when those payments are made (whether at termination or many years after).... [S]uch payments only belong on a Form 1099-MISC if the individual earned or became entitled to those amounts as a result of non-employee status, such as service as a non-employee director or independent contractor."
Foley & Lardner LLP

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

What's Good for Dr. Goose Must Be Provided to Nurse Gander?

I don't know how many times I have told different clients (mostly doctors) that they cannot make employer contributions during the year and wait until 9/15 of the following year to make employer contributions for the NHCE participants. Could you provide me with a cite to the rule or rules that support that conclusion?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Handling Switch from Union to Non-union Status

When we took over this 401(k) plan, union employees were not excluded, but the plan sponsor wanted us to exclude them when we restated the plan document so we did so, on a prospective basis. What happens when a union employee goes non-union, and then switches back to union status? Can he defer from that new union pay because he was grandfathered? Or because he switched to an ineligible class after the amendment date, can he not defer any longer?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

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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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