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DC Retirement Plan Consultant
Intac Actuarial Services
in NJ, NY

Employee Benefits Associate
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
in CT

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Webcasts, Conferences

Trick or Treat: Tips and Traps for CyberSecurity for Retirement Plans
October 30, 2018 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

Updated Road Map to Bad Ethical Decisions
November 29, 2018 WEBCAST
ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries [ACOPA]

►See 84 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1390 Recorded Webcasts


New Topics on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Plan Correction Program Goes Digital

"Under the new methods, a plan sponsor must either itself submit the VCP application electronically, or authorize a representative to do so via Form 2848, Power of Attorney. Only third parties designated via Form 2848, such as attorneys, CPAs, or enrolled agents, can sign and file the VCP application on the plan sponsor's behalf."
E is for ERISA


New! Distribution Tracking Software

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

Our cutting-edge Distribution Tracking Software, built by retirement service providers, makes distribution preparation and tracking faster and more efficient. Know exactly where each distribution is so nothing slips through the cracks. Learn more!

Summary of TE/GE Fiscal Year 2019 Program Letter

"For the EP Compliance Program, focus areas will include [1] ensuring plan distribution processes and procedures are correct and participants are receiving correct distribution amounts; [2] 403(b) examinations for universal availability, excessive contributions and catch-up contributions; and [3] 457(b) plan examinations for excessive contributions and the three-year catch-up rule. EP will continue to pursue referrals received from internal and external sources that allege possible noncompliance by a retirement plan.... EP will continue to review input from the qualified plans community on the potential expansion of self-correction of plan qualification failures under the EPCRS program."
Ice Miller LLP

ERISA Self-Dealing Lawsuit Calls SEI Plan 'Captive Customer'

"According to the lead plaintiff, the DC plan in question offers only investment options that generate fees for SEI and its affiliates and treat the plan as a captive customer.... The complaint makes a variety of claims about widespread conflicts of interest in the DC plan industry, suggesting that financial services companies such as SEI deserve extra scrutiny.... [T]he lead plaintiff says defendants did not meet their fiduciary obligations to regularly evaluate each investment option within the plan on its merits relative to alternative available options."

How to Measure Financial Education ROI

"[1] The baseline measurements will depend upon your organization's structure and the particular hurdles your participants are facing.... [2] Set a goal.... [3] Implement education initiatives.... [4] Conduct your followup survey and evaluate contribution levels.... [5] Take what you've learned and start back at No. 1 again."
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Videos from Pepperdine Forum on Public Pensions Held September 25, 2018

"Some notable video excerpts: ... [1] Mortality and discount rate fraud ... [2] Illinois situation ... [3] How do you fix a problem like Connecticut? ... [4] Illinois can pay and, if not, there are Pension Obligation Bonds and asset transfers."

Pension Indicator, September 2018

"September was favorable from a liability perspective ... [A] balanced portfolio for a frozen pension plan likely saw improved funding status in the month. For the year, liabilities are down 4.6%-7.5% according to the FTSE Pension Liability Index, depending on their duration.... Additionally, contribution activity in September was exceptionally high among plan sponsors due to tax benefits that expired on 9/15/18. If returns are even flat for the year, many plan sponsors may be in a position to de-risk."

Many Red-Zone Plans on Road to Recovery, but Plans in Critical and Declining Status Need Additional Assistance (PDF)

"The average market-value funded percentage for all red-zone [multiemployer pension] plans grew by 4 percentage points since 2010.... Most current red-zone plans have been red since shortly following the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 when they suffered severe asset losses.... The ratio of inactive to active participants is a key component of a plan's outlook, especially in having the resilience to recover from a financial or other shock.... Over the last 10 years, the average contribution rate for current red-zone plans has increased more than 50 percent, irrespective of the shade of red."
Segal Consulting

GE's Pension Plan Problem Isn't as Big as It Seems

"As long-term interest rates fell, General Electric gradually reduced the discount rate used to estimate its pension obligation, leading to a higher liability.... By the end of 2017, GE was using a discount rate of 3.64% to calculate its principal pension plan obligation. That was down from a discount rate of 4.38% just two years earlier."
Motley Fool

What Happens When the Retirement Honeymoon Is Over?

"People spend their entire career working in a system that lays out their priorities, guides their actions, and provides clear, measurable goals. Retirement means freedom, but it also means leaving that system and the comfort of certainty it has provided."
Fiduciary News

Variable Annuity Guaranteed Living Benefit Election Rates Rise for Third Straight Quarter

"Analysts ... suggest that the demise of the DOL rule and the improvement of economic conditions have improved the value that GLB's offer. Additional data shows average initial premium GLB buyers increasing from 2016‑2017 by 11 percent. Seventy percent of new VA GLB premium was sold to buyers aged 56‑70."

Benefits in General


Time to Revisit the Work Relationship

"The relationship between employers and employees has changed. As two factions battle for dominance in what that relationship should look like -- those who preach self-reliance think that employers should provide availability of savings options only and those who preach mandated pay and benefits think that the only differentiators should be things like office gyms and juice bars -- we are left in a world where creativity is encouraged, but not in any determination of how employees are rewarded."
Benefits and Compensation with John Lowell

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

415 Violation under Sole Proprietor's 401(k) Plan: Make Refund to Participant, or to the Plan Sponsor?

Acme Sports is a sole proprietorship. John Q. Owner defers on a draw throughout the year. Contributes $24,000. After end of year, taxes get done, and it turns out he has zero earned income. So there's a 415 excess to be refunded. Should the check be made out to Acme Sports, or John Q. Owner? or does it not make any difference? Because he had no income from which to defer, it seems that it should go to Acme Sports -- but then how would one report it on a 1099? It's probably easier to refund directly to John Q. Owner, report it on a 1099, and withhold 10% (unless he elects out of withholding).
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Supplemental Bonuses Only for Executives Deferring Under 401(k) Plan: Contingent Benefit Rule Violation?

401(k) plan sponsor has bonus plan that says to execs: Every year, if you make more than $275k, I will give you a bonus equal to your Box 1 W-2, without any limit, times 6%, minus the 402(g) limit, and then all that multiplied by $.50. So if I make $400k, my bonus is $2,750, which is $24,000 (6% of $400k), minus $18,500, or $5,500, times $.50. The intent is basically to make up for the missed match based on the statutory limits, which it does not do perfectly, but anyway, that's what they do. But then they also say that to get the bonus you have to have deferred into the plan, at least something. They don't penalize execs who defer less than the limit (e.g., defer $10,000), but they do exclude you if you deferred $0. This violates the anti-conditioning rule of Treas. Reg. 1.401(k)-1(e)(6)(ii), right? If so, what is the fix under EPCRS other than stopping it?
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Press Releases

George C. W. Gatch Elected Chairman of ICI
Investment Company Institute

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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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