Retirement Plans Newsletter

September 12, 2018

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Securing Guaranteed Income in Retirement
September 20, 2018 WEBCAST
Dietrich

Defined Contribution Workshop
October 25, 2018 in TX
Dimensional Fund Advisors

2018 Fiduciary Certification Workshop
October 26, 2018 in TX
Centre for Fiduciary Excellence [CEFEX]

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Editor's Pick Prudent Practices for Assessing Bundled Services in This Era of 401(k) Plan Fee Litigation

"[1] [A] plan sponsor must ensure that there is a documented record of the fiduciary's procedural and substantive prudence.... [2] [P]rior to contracting, each service provider proposal should be scrutinized for the cost of each distinct service, as well as overall costs.... [3] [F]iduciaries, with the assistance of fee consultants, should attempt to benchmark each level of service to other marketplace fees and proposals.... [4] [P]lan fiduciaries should consider the pros and cons of unbundling recordkeeping services from other distinct services.... [5] Plan sponsors should be cognizant of structural elements that position the service providers to facilitate IRA rollovers to themselves.... [6] [P]lan sponsors and fiduciaries should carefully review their existing policies with service providers to determine if the service providers solicit rollovers from the plan."
Thompson Hine LLP via Bloomberg BNA

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How Employers Can Help Employees Pay Off Student Loans and Save for Retirement

"$1.3 trillion ... that's how much student loan debt Americans had incurred by the end of June 2017. During that same time period, ... 37 percent of adults ages 1‑29 had outstanding student loans... [PLR 201833012] allows a proposed employer 401(k) plan feature to be associated with employees' student loan payments."
Ascensus

Six Retirement Changes to Watch in House's Tax 2.0 Plan

"Multiple employer plans ... Repeal of maximum age for traditional IRA contributions ... Portability of lifetime income investments ... Exemption from required minimum distribution rules ... Universal Savings Accounts ... Qualified birth/adoption benefits."
Bloomberg BNA

Why Target Date Funds Don't Work for Many Investors

"Target-date funds recommend a globally diversified portfolio of assets that is deemed to be appropriate for a 'typical investor' by age. The problem is that not everyone who invests in target-date funds falls into the category of 'typical.' Those nontypical investors need to take their circumstances into account -- but often don't. And that could leave them with a portfolio that is less diversified that they think."
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required

SeaTE: Subjective ex ante Treatment Effect of Health on Retirement

"Older workers' health and retirement expectations interact. Being in high health rather than low health increases the chance of working in two years by 28.5 percentage points and in four years by 25.7 percentage points."
Michigan Retirement Research Center [MRRC]

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October 15 Deadline to Recharacterize 2017 IRA Contributions and Conversions

"A recharacterization is a tax-free transfer of funds from one kind of IRA to another.... The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does away with recharacterization for conversions done in 2018 and later, but the IRS has made it clear that 2017 conversions can still be recharacterized."
Slott Report

How an Indirect Retirement Account Rollover Can Go Wrong and How to Avoid It

"[An individual received] a full distribution from her traditional IRA because the mutual fund it was invested in had been closed by the fund company.... [T]he fund company withheld 10% for federal income taxes.... To avoid taxes and penalties on the amount withheld, she will need to come up with that 10% amount to make the indirect rollover a complete rollover. Otherwise, she will incur taxes and penalties for the amount withheld that won't get into the new IRA within the 60 day deadline."
Financial Finesse

[Opinion]

Why Phyllis Borzi Is Pessimistic About the Future of a Fiduciary Standard

"[If] the SEC proposals are finalized as proposed without substantial improvement along the lines suggested by the investor advocates, investors will be even more confused about the legal duties of advisors/advisers than ever before. By allowing brokers to continue providing advice under the FINRA suitability standard while claiming they are meeting a best interest standard puts investors in a considerably worse position than they are today.... Unfortunately, the SEC appears ready to finalize a disclosure standard without first testing through focus groups and other common evaluation tools the efficacy of this disclosure."
Former EBSA Secretary Phyllis Borzi, via Fiduciary News

[Opinion]

The Politics of Public Pension Boards (PDF)

12 pages. "Political appointees to pension boards are responsive to constituencies -- such as local industry or the governor's budget -- that steer them away from acting in the long-term interest of the pension fund's fiscal integrity. But the representatives of public employees and their unions on these boards are also tempted to trade pension savings tomorrow for higher salaries today.... The only lasting solution is to replace state-administered, defined benefit pensions with defined contribution pensions, which, by definition, cannot be underfunded. In a defined contribution plan, employee contributions, combined with government employer contributions, would be managed by major money-management firms that are not exposed to political interference."
Manhattan Institute

Benefits in General

AICPA Working Draft of Chapter on Multiemployer Benefit Plans (PDF)

149 pages. "[This working draft has] been developed by the AICPA Multiemployer Plans Task Force to assist preparers of multiemployer plan financial statements in preparing [those] financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) and to assist auditors in auditing and reporting on such financial statements in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards."
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants [AICPA]

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Restarting Deferrals After a Hardship Distribution

One my plans is under CPA Audit and the auditor doesn't like that they don't automatically re-start 401k at 6 months after a hardship distribution. Is an employer required to automatically re-start 401k for a participant after 6 months? Can they require that the participant fill out new election paperwork?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Reasonable Classifications for Average Benefits Testing

Say you have a PS plan with each participant in his/her own group for allocation purposes and you want to run average benefits testing. I'm aware of the apparent IRS position that every participant in their own group is not a reasonable classification because it may have the effect of excluding an employee by name. I understand that position if the employer is allocating completely individual rates, including some zeros, with no consistent objective basis (e.g., we like Ann so she gets 5%, but we don't like Ben, who does the same job, so he gets 0%). However, if the actual allocation itself is still made on a reasonable, objective, business-criteria basis (and the group is nondiscriminatory) can you use ABT? For example, an employer has two locations and every participant works at one or the other, say Florida and California. The plan says every participant is in a separate group for allocation purposes. The employer makes the "official" allocations individually, but everyone who works in Florida gets the same percentage allocation, and everyone who works in California gets the same percentage allocation. Is this still a reasonable classification for ABT purposes despite the plan document saying everyone is in their own group for allocation purposes? In other words, do the "reasonable classifications" for ABT testing need to be explicitly stated in the plan document, or are the "reasonable classifications" based on actual practice?
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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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