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April 30, 2019 logo logo
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Director - Transactions (Pension Risk Transfer)
in New York NY

Relationship Manager / Consultant
The Retirement Plan Company [TRPC]
in TN

Defined Benefit Actuarial Analyst
TRA, Inc.
in Port Washington WI / Telecommute

Employee Benefits Compliance Associate
Slevin & Hart, P.C.
in Washington DC

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Webcasts, Conferences

ERISA in 2019: What Employers Need To Know
May 15, 2019 in IL
Seyfarth Shaw LLP

ESOP Distribution Policies
May 28, 2019 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

►See 174 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1520 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Expands Self-Correction Program Primarily to Facilitate Plan Loan Corrections

"Note that not all loan failures may be self corrected. In particular, if the loan violates the dollar limit, maximum loan period, or level amortization requirements under Code section 72(p)(2)(A), (B) or (C), VCP is still the proper correction vehicle. We note also that [DOL's] Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) allows certain default loans made to parties in interest under ERISA to be corrected under an IRS VCP filing. The VFCP has not been updated to permit such default loans to be corrected via a self-correction. Further, as a general matter, EPCRS does not provide relief from any prohibited transaction excise taxes."
Groom Law Group


Make Your Company's Retirement Plan Work for YOU!

Sponsored by Hall Benefits Law

FREE webinar May 16, 2 pm ET. The Retirement Plan legal landscape is shifting. Where do the biggest risks and opportunities lie? HBL's ERISA attorneys make sense of it all for plan sponsors and service providers. Free ERISA Case Studies book to attendees!

Editor's Pick Beneficiary Provisions and Designations: Plan Now for More Simplicity Later

"[B]etter waterfall provisions tend to be shorter and involve fewer determinations.... A strong beneficiary provision not only addresses what happens when a participant dies, but also what happens when the beneficiary dies -- after the participant does but before receiving benefits.... [E]nsure that it's clear when beneficiary designations are reviewed and determined for approval -- either when submitted to the plan sponsor or when the participant dies. The difference in timing can affect who becomes the beneficiary."
Foley & Lardner LLP

Editor's Pick QDIA Evolutions: Moving Defined Contribution Plans Into the Future

"[The DOL] specifies three potential QDIAs for sponsors to choose from ... [C]ombining the three allowable QDIAs in thoughtful ways, and utilizing available features and systems innovatively, sponsors have the potential to create new solutions that meet the definition of a QDIA and help improve outcomes for participants."
Willis Towers Watson

GAO Report: Retirement Savings -- Additional Data and Analysis Could Provide Insight Into Early Withdrawals

"For both IRAs and 401(k) plans, GAO was asked to examine: [1] the incidence and amount of early withdrawals; [2] factors that might lead individuals to access retirement savings early; and [3] policies and strategies that might reduce the incidence and amounts of early withdrawals.... GAO recommends that, as part of revising the Form 5500, DOL and IRS require plan sponsors to report the incidence and amount of all 401(k) plan loans that are not repaid." [GAO-19-179, Mar. 28, 2019; pub. Apr. 29, 2019; 60 pages]
U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO]

Report on Funded Status of Rhode Island Locally Administered Pension Plans (PDF)

50 pages. "The funded statuses for 29 of the 35 plans have increased since FY 2012.... Most municipalities met or exceeded their full ARC payments over the most recently reported 4 years. 14 plans have assumed rates of return at or below 7.0% ... [S]ignificant challenges remain: [1] The 35 local plans reviewed carry a combined unfunded liability of approximately $2.5 billion, a slight increase from last year. [2] Twenty-one of the plans are less than 60% funded ... [3] The funded statuses for 5 plans have decreased since FY 2012[.]"
Rhode Island Advisory Council on Locally Administrated Pension Plans


Handling QDROs, QMCSOs And Other Benefits Issues When An Employee Divorces

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

May 7 webinar. Practical guidance in reviewing and complying with QDROs, DROs, and QMCSOs, along with tools to identify and address potential complications that may arise when an employee divorces. BenefitsLink discount.

Kentucky Appeals Court Dismisses Pension Fund's Hedge Fund Lawsuit

"The suit ... was filed on behalf of state taxpayers and KRS by eight public employees who are members of the retirement system. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants enticed KRS to invest in funds of funds investment vehicles, when KRS could have earned higher returns in the stock market."
Pensions & Investments

Many Middle-Income Seniors Will Have Insufficient Resources for Housing and Health Care

"[By] 2029 there will be 14.4 million middle-income seniors, 60 percent of whom will have mobility limitations and 20 percent of whom will have high health care and functional needs. While many of these seniors will likely need the level of care provided in seniors housing, ... 54 percent of seniors will not have sufficient financial resources to pay for it. This gap suggests a role for public policy and the private sector in meeting future long-term care and housing needs for middle-income seniors."
Health Affairs


Multiemployer Plan Reforms are Needed Before It's Too Late

"[I]ncreasing PBGC premiums alone will not save the multiemployer system. A variable-rate premium could encourage better funding. Without other reforms, however, it could drive more employers out of the system. Among the reforms that have been suggested are stakeholder premiums, changes to funding, withdrawal liability, and benefit adjustment rules, stronger governance rules, and clearer rules on plan termination and windup."
The Wagner Law Group


Blaine Aikin Says DOL Fiduciary Rule's 'Lasting Impact Lives On'

"The Rule elevated and expanded the level of discourse about why advice is inherently a fiduciary function.... The fact that the DOL Rule moved all the way to and through implementation forced many firms to change their business practices in a fiduciary direction. It also caused more firms to require those who render retirement advice in their organization to accept ERISA fiduciary status and act accordingly. Most have not turned back from the positive changes they made."
Fiduciary News

Benefits in General

[Guidance Overview]

New DOL Opinion Letter Says Certain Gig Workers Are Contractors

"While this letter can only be used as an authoritative legal defense by the specific (unnamed) gig economy business that requested the letter, this publication still provides the federal government's official interpretation on whether a certain business model or practice complies with the law. We now have a solid understanding of how the current [DOL] views the misclassification question and will approach it from an enforcement perspective, and the news is all good for gig businesses." [DOL Opinion Letter FLSA2019-6, issued Apr. 29, 2019]
Fisher Phillips

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Validates Independent Contractor Relationships in the On-Demand Marketplace

"[DOL Opinion Letter FLSA2019-6] is a breath of fresh air for businesses in the on-demand marketplace. It validates the fundamental notion that not every working relationship between an individual and a business is intended to confer employment status under the FLSA."

District Court Holds That Public Library's Disability Plan Is Not a Governmental Plan

"The decision ... contains some analysis that could raise additional questions for other entities that maintain they are agencies or instrumentalities of a state or political subdivision of a state, and the plans they sponsor or retirement systems they participate in. Notably, this decision follows on the heels of a complaint filed by a prominent plaintiffs' law firm that a North Carolina county hospital system was not an agency or instrumentality of a county[.]" [Skornick v. Principal Financial Group, No. 18-4324 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 18, 2019]
Groom Law Group

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Some Executive Compensation Drafting Tips for Employers

"[T]he plaintiff had no sooner reached a $1 million settlement with his former employer over a potential whistleblower claim, when he sued again, arguing that the settlement amount should have been taken into account in calculating his supplemental pension ... The court ... rejected the employer's attempt to have the case dismissed, thereby allowing the (costly and time-consuming) litigation to continue." [Weller v. Linde Pension Excess Program, No. 16-4254 (D.N.J. Apr. 24, 2019; unpub.)]
Winston & Strawn LLP

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

HCE Determination During Year of Plan Sponsor's Acquisition

We had a company acquire another in 2018 and they both maintain separate plans. They now are a controlled group. The one that acquired the other utilizes top-paid group while the other plan does not. I know we are supposed to be uniform in how these are tested but wasn't sure if it's okay to test separately during the acquisition year.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Proposal Software for Comparing Contribution Allocations

Trying to learn what software providers are available to import client census and produce a side-by-side comparison of contributions to participants based on plan and contribution types for use in proposals. Which ones are the most preferred based on ease of use, most features, and lowest costs?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Two Partners Walk Into a Bar...

Two partners are the only employees in a business. They want to start a 401(k) plan. Would they file Form 5500-EZ?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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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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