Retirement Plans Newsletter

February 4, 2019

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Administrative Manager
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Board Pensions - Presbyterian Church
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Webcasts, Conferences

Financial Literacy Programs for Local Government Employees
February 6, 2019 WEBCAST
Center for State and Local Government Excellence

ERISA Audits: What We All Knew but Forgot
February 13, 2019 WEBCAST
Clear Law Institute

Self-Correction of Failures Not Addressed in EPCRS
April 25, 2019 WEBCAST
ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

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Discussions

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Multiemployer Pension Reform Efforts Continue After Demise of Congressional Joint Select Committee, Part 2

"Eligible plans could apply for a loan in an amount needed to fund the plan's obligations for the benefits of participants and beneficiaries in pay status at the time the loan is made. Plans that receive a loan would then be required to fund the plan's obligations to those in pay status in one of the following ways: [1] purchasing annuity contracts from an insurance company ... [2] investing the loan proceeds in a cash or fixed income (bond) portfolio designed to match the specific benefit liabilities ... [3] invest in some other portfolio prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury in regulations."
Morgan Lewis

[Advert.]

P&I DC East Conference | Ft. Lauderdale | Mar 10-12

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Join leading executives who manage 401(k), 403(b), 457 and TSP plans at DC WEST. You'll learn how other plan sponsors analyze, develop, implement and measure programs for their participants, so you can improve your own plan.


Cybersecurity 'Patchwork' Leaves Retirement Industry Vulnerable

"No federal regulation comprehensively governs cybersecurity for retirement plans or service providers ... And while some retirement service providers are covered by federal rules based on their industry, they often cross several different industries, complicating which rules it must follow."
Pensions & Investments

Were You Generous or Are Company Contributions Part of Your Total Rewards Strategy?

"Many employers adjusted or suspended their employer contribution during the Great Recession. The 61st Annual Survey shows those curtailments have been more than fully reversed. Next year's survey, reflecting 2018 data, should show further improvements due to changes prompted by tax reform late in 2017."
Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]

Editor's Pick How to Talk to Employers About DB Plans (or, 'Pensions in Plain English') (PDF)

"The purpose of this column is to translate some key actuarial and investment concepts into something approaching plain English, and to provide a framework for helping an employer who has a DB plan understand what they have and what to do with it. The purpose is not to teach the basics, but to attempt to show a path toward communicating the basics meaningfully."
Pentegra, in Journal of Pension Benefits

Editor's Pick Financial Literacy Programs for Local Government Employees (PDF)

27 pages. "[This report] combines: [1] Background on the local government workforce; [2] A review of the literature on what is known about financial literacy; [3] Data from a survey of elected officials and human resources directors from local governments across the United States; [4] Insights gained from discussions with city managers and budget officers; [5] Recommendations for practitioners, focusing on program topic and mode, tailoring programs to diverse groups ... and assessing results."
Center for State & Local Government Excellence

[Advert.]

P&I DC East Conference | Ft. Lauderdale | Mar 10-12

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Join leading executives who manage 401(k), 403(b), 457 and TSP plans at DC WEST. You'll learn how other plan sponsors analyze, develop, implement and measure programs for their participants, so you can improve your own plan.


What to Consider When Buying an Annuity

"Assessing the long-term stability of an insurance company is a hard task even for professionals.... There are also risks with how annuities are structured as it can be difficult to make changes once a plan is in place.... Individual buyers have to think through potential life changes as well as total cost ... the total cost of buying an annuity may also be higher than what individuals are used to paying with mutual funds or exchange-traded funds."
The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required

Pension Finance Update, January 2019

"January was a very good month for stocks.... Bonds gained ground last month as well, driven by lower interest rates. Treasury bonds earned a fraction of 1% in January, while corporate bonds earned 1%-3% as credit spreads narrowed by more than 0.1%. A diversified bond portfolio earned 1%-2% in January, with long credit enjoying the biggest gains. Overall, [the] traditional 60/40 gained 5%-6% in January, while the conservative 20/80 portfolio grew about 3%."
October Three Consulting

Public Plans Receive Their Own Mortality Tables

"Officially known as the Pub-2010 Public Retirement Plans Mortality Tables Report, it is the first look at public-sector mortality distinct from the private sector. The findings are based on the experience of 35 public systems covering 78 retirement plans between 2008 and 2013, broken down by three job categories: general employees, public safety employees and teachers. The tables also suggest a correlation between higher income and lower mortality."
Pensions & Investments

[Opinion]

No, Pension Obligation Bonds Aren't a Form of 'Refinancing'

"The city owes pension liabilities.... In principle, they could indeed 'pay off' the benefits, if they purchased annuities for retirees, or if they offered lump sum buyouts to plan participants. And corporations are doing this increasingly often ... [P]ublic pensions are, with few exceptions, valued using the expected return on assets as their valuation interest rate, rather than, as with corporate pensions, a bond rate.... When a city does the same math, the cost of buying annuities is considerably higher than the (artificially) lower liability valuation. And workers would be foolish to accept a lump sum at lower value."
Forbes

[Opinion]

The SEC's Regulation Best Interest Rule Is So Bad It May Actually Do Some Good

"The proposal so blatantly tipped the playing field in favor of the brokerage world that state regulators and a number of state legislators seem to have decided that they have no choice but to take matters in their own hands. If they truly want to educate and protect the public, then they have go around the SEC and do it themselves."
Bob Veres, in Financial Planning

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of Corrected IRS Final Regs Under Section 199A: Qualified Business Income Deduction (PDF)

249 pages. The Treasury Department and the IRS on Feb. 1 released the corrected draft final regulations under section 199A (section 199A final regulations) on the new qualified business income (QBI) deduction (section 199A deduction). These corrections include, among other edits, corrections to the definition and computation of excess section 743(b) basis adjustments for purposes of determining the unadjusted basis immediately after an acquisition of qualified property, as well as corrections to the description of an entity disregarded as separate from its owner for purposes of section 199A and Sections 1.199A-1 through 1.199A-6. The corrected draft has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication.
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

EBSA Enforcement for 2019

"EBSA closed 1,329 civil investigations in 2018 with over 64% of those cases resulting in monetary recovery for the plan or other corrective action. The largest share of these recoveries was on behalf of terminated vested plan participants (recovering over $800 million in total for terminated vested participants)."
Butterfield Schechter LLP

Drivers of U.S. Mortality Improvement (PDF)

13 pages. "Experts from inside and outside the insurance/retirement industry were invited to participate in a daylong Expert Panel Forum discussion to provide input about drivers of U.S. mortality improvement for the short and long term. The issues addressed included: [1] What are going to be the key drivers of U.S. mortality? [2] How will key drivers of mortality interact? [3] How might factors discussed change mortality rates for different age groups, most noticeably below and above age 65?"
Society of Actuaries

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Timing of Safe Harbor Match: 'Other Right or Feature' for BRF Testing?

Suppose a safe harbor match, with a per payroll match. Deposit requirement for match on deferrals made in a given quarter is therefore by the last day of the following quarter. Reasons don't matter, but payroll system is such that for most employees, the match is actually deposited per payroll. For other employees, system won't handle it, so deposit of their safe harbor match is proposed to be made monthly or quarterly. This seems to me to fall under the "other right or feature" category in 1.401(a)(4)-4(e)(3), and therefore subject to BRF testing. And so, as long as these employees represent less than the 50% safe harbor percentage, it would pass. Other opinions/thoughts?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Two Employees Enrolled Too Early in 3% Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan

Participant enrolled 2 employees early in 401k plan that uses a 3% nonelective safe harbor. Do they refund the 401k deferrals or can they be treated as eligible for the 3% non elective safe harbor contribution and leave the 401k deferrals in the plan?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2019 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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