Retirement Plans Newsletter

August 9, 2018

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Responsibilities of an Internal ESOP Fiduciary
October 9, 2018 WEBCAST
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[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Department Letter Approving Ironworkers Local 16 Pension Fund Application for Reduction of Benefits (PDF)

"Treasury has determined that the Plan is eligible to reduce benefits under MPRA and that your application satisfies the requirements of ... section 432(e)(9) ... as added by MPRA. This notification is not a final authorization to implement the benefit reduction described in your application.... [N]o reduction of benefits can take effect before a vote of the participants and beneficiaries of the Plan with respect to the proposed reduction."
U.S. Department of the Treasury

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Few in Temporary or Alternative Jobs Have Access to Employer-Provided Retirement Plans

"23.4 percent of contingent workers were eligible for -- or had access to -- employer-sponsored pension or retirement plans in 2017 ... about half the rate for more permanent or traditional workers, among whom 47.6 percent were eligible for an employer-sponsored plan.... 48.1 percent of workers whose jobs were with contract companies were eligible for an employer-provided plan, compared with only 12.7 percent of temporary help agency workers and 35.4 percent of on-call workers."
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Wawa Sued Again by Ex-Employees Over Forced Stock Sell-Off

"Wawa Inc. was hit with a second lawsuit by former employees challenging certain amendments to its retirement plan that allegedly forced them to sell their company stock at an unfair price. The lawsuit ... comes eight months after the convenience store chain agreed to pay $25 million to settle similar allegations. [That] settlement, which hasn't received final approval by the court, would provide relief for 2,300 current and former Wawa employees."
Bloomberg BNA

Citigroup Agrees to Settle Proprietary Funds Lawsuit

"Citigroup will pay $6,900,000 to settle the lawsuit. The settlement amount includes all attorneys' fees, incentive awards, litigation expenses, administration costs, taxes and costs of any kind associated with the resolution of the suit."
PLANSPONSOR

Voter-Approved Pension Reform Is Dealt a Blow by California Supreme Court

"Although put to City voters through a citizen's initiative, the [California Supreme Court] nonetheless reasoned the City caused the changes to employee pension benefits and did so without first negotiating with labor unions. The fate of those pension reforms that may help stabilize the City's pension obligations now hang in the balance." [Boling v. Public Employment Relations Bd., No. S242034 (Cal. Aug. 2, 2018)]
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

[Advert.]

J.P. Morgan Retirement Link: Helping you build stronger retirement plans

Sponsored by J.P  Morgan Asset Management

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IRA Investors Are Concentrated in Lower-Cost Mutual Funds

"IRA equity mutual fund assets represented 56 percent of IRA mutual fund assets in 2017, and 2017 marks the eighth consecutive year that average expense ratios have fallen for equity mutual funds held by IRA investors.... The average expense ratio paid by equity mutual fund investors in IRAs fell to 0.61 percent, down from 0.65 percent in 2016 and 0.98 percent in 2000."
Investment Company Institute [ICI]

Editor's Pick How Do Fees Affect Plans' Ability to Beat Their Benchmarks? (PDF)

12 pages. "[W]hat is known about the types of benchmarks used for different asset classes; how actual plan investment performance aligns to these benchmarks; and any relationship between investment fees and actual returns? This brief ... finds that there is not much uniformity in the use of benchmarks for different asset classes, among public plans. Also, for the 2011-2016 timeframe, while most plans' investment performance has surpassed their combined roster of benchmarks, a negative correlation was found between plans with higher investment fees and returns -- especially for nontraditional asset categories."
Center for State & Local Government Excellence

What Plan Sponsors Need to Know About Sustainable, Responsible and Impact (SRI) Investing

"57% of respondents (94% of Millennials) would choose an employer based on whether it offered a fully diversified responsible investment portfolio, and 79% said being able to choose responsible investing options in their retirement plan would make them feel good about working for their employer.... Today $1 of every $5 of investments under professional management has some type of ESG overlay, and the market is growing at more than 20% per year[.]"
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

When Employees Retire Matters to Them -- and to Employers

"[A] one-year delay in retirement for an individual can cost an employer $50,000. At that figure, it wouldn't take long for a 100-person company with 2 or 3 expected but delayed retirements per year to reach a significant level of expense.... Education is critical to helping employees retire on time [because participants] who are informed and confident often make better financial decisions, which can lead toward long-term security."
Fiduciary Plan Governance, LLC

There Are No Guarantees If You Self-Insure Your Retirement

"In this post, we will compare the risks and potential rewards of self-insuring your retirement vs. purchasing life annuities. Note that while [this discussion] compares these two alternatives, there is nothing to stop you from combining these approaches in your personal financial planning. In fact, many retirement experts recommend utilizing both approaches rather than one or the other."
Ken Steiner, FSA Retired

Benefits in General

Recent Litigation Surrounding Fiduciary Disclosure Obligations

"In a recent case, the provisions of a conflicting SPD may prevail. The case was sent back to the lower court because the error in the SPD was so significant that it could be found to be constructive fraud.... [Two other cases demonstrate there] are two primary situations for which plan fiduciaries can be liable for not disclosing information to plan participants.... Not telling a participant about a future benefit that is under serious consideration, knowledge of which would be material to the participant; and Leaving out information about a current benefit when the fiduciary knows that silence might be harmful."
CAPTRUST Financial Advisors

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

SEC Amends Rule 701 to Increase Enhanced Disclosure Threshold to $10 Million

"The amendment became effective on July 23, 2018. If a company commenced an offering during the current 12-month period that was continuing on the effective date of the rule amendment, it can apply the $10 million disclosure threshold to the offering."
Morgan Lewis

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

After Divorced Participant Commits Suicide, Judge Decides He Wasn't Divorced After All

I am on a plan administration committee for a defined benefit plan. A decree of divorce was entered ending the marriage between Employee X and spouse. The next day, Employee X committed suicide. Weeks later, spouse applied for and obtained a QDRO for 1/2 of X's benefits. For the plan, the committee denied the QDRO. Our denial was based on the advice of our ERISA attorney and actuary. They explained that the entire benefit "died with X" because he died single and before the plan received or even knew a QDRO might be coming. The spouse has applied to the divorce judge who decided to vacate the decree of divorce, restoring X and the ex-spouse to married status, due to the "unique and compelling circumstances," including that the decree had not even been delivered to either X or the spouse by the time of X's suicide. What to do?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Combining a Safe Harbor Match with Discretionary Match for HCEs

401k plan is considering a safe harbor match formula of 100% of the first 4% that would apply only to NHCEs. The plan allows for a discretionary match. The plan sponsor wants to fund HCEs with a similar 4% discretionary match but apply the vesting schedule to HCEs as well as a last day employment condition. [1] Permissible Safe Harbor as match for NHCE is 4% and overall match for all is 4%? [2] Is the discretionary match subject to ADP (which it would fail, obviously)?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Any Experience with 'Student Loan Genius'?

Has anyone ever heard of Student Loan Genius? They say employees make their student loan payments and based on a payment, the company makes a pre-tax contribution into the employee's 401(k). I was just wondering how this would work and if anyone has any experience with it.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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