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[Guidance Overview]

New Flexibility for Hardship Withdrawals: Permissive Changes Starting in 2019 and Required Changes by 2020

"Plan sponsors should begin considering whether they want to make the changes that are permitted, but not required, by the new rules. The plan sponsor will need to make that decision quickly and work closely with their third party administrator to implement the change and communicate it to participants.... For those plan sponsors that currently use the six-month contribution suspension, work should begin sooner than later on the changes needed to eliminate the suspension, and to implement the required employee representations contemplated by the Proposed Regulations, by no later than 2020."
K&L Gates


25% off Employee Benefits E-Learning Courses Until 12/31

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Enroll today and make your education a priority in the new year! Enroll in any of these online courses and get instant access to interactive, self-paced online training. E-learning courses are the online training solution that fits into your schedule

[Guidance Overview]

Puerto Rico Qualified Plans Must Adopt Hurricane Maria Tax Relief Provisions by December 31, 2018

"Although the amendment is not considered a 'qualification amendment,' and therefore, it does not have to be filed with the Puerto Rico Treasury Department for an updated determination letter, it must be timely adopted to ratify the tax relief benefits granted on such eligible distributions and loans."
McConnell Valdes

[Guidance Overview]

Important Guidance and Relief for 403(b) Plan Sponsors Who Exclude Part-Time Employees

"[Notice 2018-95] contains many conditions to qualify for the relief. It also does not provide blanket relief covering all potential administrative issues involving the exclusion of part-time workers. So, just as important as the relief itself is what the relief does not cover, serving as an important reminder to plan sponsors about the circumstances in which part-time employees may be excluded from 403(b) plans."
Jackson Lewis P.C.

2019 Trends for Retirement Plan Sponsors

"[1] Increased focus on non-savers ... [2] Locating 'missing' participants ... [3] The reemergence of MEPs ... [4] Focus on recordkeeper value vs. cost ... [5] Re-acquaintance with hardship distributions."
Cammack Retirement Group

Retirement Industry Trends to Watch in 2019 (PDF)

"The enactment of legislation could usher in greater interest and adoption of guaranteed income options for 401(k) and other DC retirement plans.... [R]ecord-keepers will be under increasing pressure ... DC record-keepers that integrate with HSAs will have an advantage ... A more challenging stock market along with steadily rising interest rates ... could drive greater proliferation of, and demand for, products offering downside protection, stable value contracts, insurance products such as deferred annuities and guaranteed income benefits, alternative funds and real asset funds."
Institutional Retirement Income Council [IRIC]


Advanced Pension Conference - Feb. 6-8, 2019

Sponsored by FIS Relius Education

ERISA experts will cover: new QBI deduction and its impact; Safe Harbor corrections; plan document update; advanced testing; plan investments; beneficiary designations; fiduciary reg update; and more. 19 CE hours. Early fee ends January 4. Register now.

Benefit Plan Cybersecurity Considerations: A Recordkeeper and Plan Perspective (PDF)

27 pages. "The U.S. has no comprehensive national law governing cybersecurity and no uniform framework for measuring the effectiveness of protections, though retirement plan record keepers maintain the personally identifiable information on millions of workers, collecting names, birth dates, social security numbers, and beneficiaries.... The SPARK Institute has outlined a flexible approach for an independent third-party reporting of cyber security capabilities with several key control objectives."
Pension Research Council, The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania

New ERISA Class Actions Claim Underpayment of Pensions Due to Unreasonable Actuarial Factors

"Three recent lawsuits, filed within 15 days of each other, have targeted large corporate pension plans for using what the plaintiffs claim are unreasonable actuarial equivalent factors, including 'outdated' mortality tables, when calculating plan benefits payable in various annuity forms of distribution.... Given the lack of guidance in this area, the unsettled nature of the 'reasonableness' standard, and the interplay of fluctuating interest rates with gradual changes in mortality rates, it is difficult to predict how the courts will view these issues."
Groom Law Group

ERISA Record Retention Requirements In Plain English

"A solid record retention policy allows you to quickly and easily respond to employee documentation requests or changes, deal with audits, and keep things compliant.... The 401(k)-related records you need to keep: [1] Fiduciary Plan Documents ... [2] Contracts & Agreements ... [3] Participant Notices ... [4] Compliance ... [5] Participant-Level Benefit Determinations ... [Y]ou can dispose of your physical copies once you've made and securely stored electronic copies ... However, there are requirements for correct electronic reporting."

Retirement Savings Reform a Focus for the Trump Administration and Congress

"The [DOL Association Retirement Plan] proposal differs in significant ways from several legislative proposals introduced in Congress. For one thing, the Department's proposal is more limited because it relies solely on the Department's authority to promulgate regulations administering title I of ERISA.... As such, it does not appear that the NPRM -- as currently drafted -- is likely to have much of a substantive impact on ongoing legislative efforts surrounding Open MEPs."
Squire Patton Boggs

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

Private Company Grants of Stock Options and RSUs: IRS Guidance Provides Limited Support

"In Notice 2018-97, the IRS finally issued guidance for companies on qualified equity grants, with more to come, but it may do little to enhance the appeal of these grants for smaller startups.... [T]he IRS clarifies and creates rules in three areas that are evidently the most pressing for companies. [1] Time requirement for the 80% rule.... [2] Tax withholding.... [3] Companies can designate grants that are ineligible for the employee deferral election."

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

In-Service Distribution from Partially Vested Account: A Protected Benefit, Right or Feature?

Let's say a plan has an in-service distribution option for matching and non-elective contributions. A plan previously did not require participants to be 100% vested to take an in-service distribution from these sources. Can a plan be amended to allow in-service from these sources only if the participant is 100% vested?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Withholding on Required Minimum Distributions: What's the Default?

Question for my fellow admins. I know that 10% withholding is required on RMDs, but in practice do you withhold 10% unless the participant completes a W-4P, or do you process the RMD with no withholding unless the participant tells you otherwise?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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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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