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Agile Product Owner
Wolters Kluwer

Pension Actuarial Consultant
in Deerfield IL

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Attorney
Ogletree Deakins Law Firm
in Indianapolis IN

Section 125 Administrator
in Clovis CA

Program Implementation Analyst
in Arlington VA

Retirement Services Analyst
Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System
in Sacramento CA

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Things to Consider Before Paying a Retiree Lump Sum

"[1] The savings -- vs. buying an annuity -- isn't as great as non-retiree lump sums.... [2] There's a hidden adverse selection cost.... [3] Unisex tables exacerbate the adverse selection problem.... [4] Offering lump sums to some older annuitants may present consent/fiduciary issues.... [5] Given press coverage, retiree lump sums may become an enforcement target."
October Three Consulting


Ensure Your Plan Participants Are Prepared for Retirement

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Make sure that your plan participants are ready for retirement. Besides encouraging employees to save, this guide will help them understand the confusing choices concerning when, where and how to retire. A must have for any future retirees.

Editor's Pick 2018 Trends in the Expenses and Fees of Funds (PDF)

32 pages. "On average, expense ratios for long-term mutual funds have declined substantially for more than 20 years.... In 2018, average expense ratios for equity mutual funds fell 4 basis points to 0.55 percent.... Expense ratios of target date mutual funds averaged 0.40 percent in 2018.... Average expense ratios for both actively managed and index equity mutual funds have fallen since 1997.... In 2018, average expense ratios for index equity ETFs fell 1 basis point to 0.20 percent."
Investment Company Institute [ICI]

Amicus Brief to Seventh Circuit on Northwestern University 403(b) Fiduciary Breach Claim

44 pages. "At bottom, Plaintiffs suggest that they should be able to defeat dismissal simply by proffering, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, alternative fiduciary decisions that they believe could have resulted in better performance over a time period of their choosing. Plaintiffs' proposed standard would insulate duty-of-prudence claims from dismissal, as a plan fiduciary always could have made some decision that would have proved more profitable; it is not possible to beat the market every time.... This is precisely what Congress sought to avoid in crafting ERISA." [Divane v. Northwestern Univ., No. 18-2569 (7th Cir., amicus brief filed Mar. 21, 2019)]
American Benefits Council and Chamber of Commerce of the United States

Start-Up Retirement Plans Will Evolve in Plan Design and Governance

"[T]he majority (73.9%) of start-up plans are safe harbor plans... This compares to 54.4% of DC plans overall.... 66.1% said recordkeeping fees are paid by the company, versus 33.9% for DC plans overall.... 19.5% of start-up plans use automatic enrollment, compared to 46.3% of DC plans overall.... Two-thirds (66.7%) use a default deferral rate of 3% or less." [Start-up plans are defined as those with less than $1 million in assets and less than three years of tenure with their provider.]
PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Should Retirees Expect More from Their Retirement Plans?

"Of course, retirees should consider the very real financial risks they could face on the road ahead. It's only natural that the closer they get to retirement, the more they worry about making their money last as long as they do. But too often, the fear of facing these risks paralyzes retirees to the point that they write off almost every dream they had about retirement to help prevent them from running out of money."


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Benefits in General

ERISA Plan Controversies: Rising the Stakes for Unprepared Sponsors and Fiduciaries (PDF)

16 presentation slides. Topics include: [1] What's the exposure? [2] How do these lawsuits get filed? [3] Modus operandi of plaintiffs' lawyers. [4] A glimmer of hope: victories in two recent trials. [5] Ways to minimize exposure to lawsuits challenging fees and investment selection. [6] Lawsuits relating to company stock and actuarial equivalence. [7] Lawsuits against health and welfare plans challenging fees. [8] ERISA issues to watch.
McDermott Will and Emery

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

[Guidance Overview]

What Constitutes Hedging Under the SEC's New Disclosure Rules?

"[T]he SEC resisted all requests to provide a definition of hedging, instead placing that burden entirely on the company (and counsel). The SEC declined even to state that the purchase and sale of mutual funds, index funds, and other diversified investment vehicles were excluded from the definition of hedging.... So what is a company to do? Should the company attempt to define hedging or provide examples of what sorts of transactions are prohibited?"
Winston & Strawn LLP

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Ineligible to Participate in 401(k) Because of Unionization

A group of employees recently voted to unionize and negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement has commenced. The current 401k plan offered by the company prospectively excludes union members. Accordingly, the company now wants to establish a separate 401k plan for union employees. A number of employees who participate in the current plan will now be ineligible for the current plan and have to switch to the plan which will be established for union members. What are the legal considerations in having employees have to switch plans? What types of things should we (union employees) be paying particular attention to? We want to make sure people who have to switch plans aren't harmed in the process.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Exclusion of 'Fringe Benefits' from W-2 Compensation Definition

I'm working with a plan that uses W-2 Comp, but excludes (among other things) "fringe benefits (cash and noncash)." Obviously, one of the big differences between using "3401(a) wages" and "W-2 Compensation" is the value of taxable group term life. However, since GTL is a fringe benefit, would this amount be excluded under the above definition? Or is it only the tax-free portion of GTL that is treated as a "fringe benefit"?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

DOL Fact Sheet: Adjusting ERISA Civil Monetary Penalties for Inflation (PDF)
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

The Social Security Retirement Age (PDF)
Congressional Research Service [CRS]

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Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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