Retirement Plans Newsletter

May 17, 2019

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Jobs

Account Associate (Employee Benefits)
Private
in New York NY

Employee Benefits Law Specialist
Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor
in Washington DC / Telecommute

Process Specialist - Retirement Services
Infosys McCamish Systems LLC
in Atlanta GA

Pension Consultant
Pension Associates Retirement Planning LLC
in Stamford CT

Supervisory Actuary - DH
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
in Washington DC / Telecommute

Pension Administrator
Long Island, NY, Company
in NY / Telecommute

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2019-35: Weighted Average Interest Rates, Yield Curves, and Segment Rates for May 2019 (PDF)

"This notice provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the corresponding spot segment rates used under Section 417(e)(3), and the 24-month average segment rates under Section 430(h)(2) ... In addition, this notice provides guidance as to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury securities under Section 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(II) as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008 and the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate under Section 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I)."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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[Guidance Overview]

Information Requirements Expanded for PBGC Reportable Events and Late Contribution Reports

"PBGC will now require plan sponsor controlled group, financial, and actuarial information with all reportable event and late contribution reports. Updated forms and instructions include a description of their filing portal and alert filers to the additional information that may be needed upon request when reporting liquidations or insolvency settlements."
Buck

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Updates EPCRS Plan Correction Procedure

"The principal change in the new procedure is to require that submissions under the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) be made online through the www.pay.gov website.... The procedure also clarifies a number of different provisions in line with other changes in IRS processes.... The new electronic VCP submission must include many of the same documents as a paper VCP submission, but there are procedural differences:"
Bradley

Text of Ninth Circuit Opinion Awarding Surviving Spouse Benefits Under Private Plan to Domestic Partner, Reversing District Court (PDF)

"During either time the Committee evaluated the Plan's benefits in this case -- in 2009 or in 2016 -- California law afforded domestic partners the same rights, protections, and benefits as those granted to spouses.... Neither ERISA nor the Code provided binding guidance inconsistent with applying this interpretation of spouse to the Plan.... Therefore, because Reed and Gardner were domestic partners at the time of Gardner's retirement, the Committee should have awarded Reed spousal benefits in accordance with California law, as was required by the Plan's choice-of-law provision." [Reed v. KRON/IBEW Local 45 Pension Plan, No. 17-17176 (9th Cir. May 16, 2019)]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Bing, Bang, Bong: The Tax Code Supports Hemp/Cannabis 401(k) Plan

"The participation of cannabis employees in 401(k) plans ... has not been without its issues, particularly when they engage in activities that constitute criminal trafficking federally, despite being legal at a state level.... At present, many retirement plan service providers ... will not deal with these cannabis companies when, in fact, the Internal Revenue Code provides authority for their 401(k) participation. The reluctance here, however understandable, is unfortunate for the Cannabis and Hemp/CBD Industry."
Fisher Broyles, via Lexology; free registration required

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PBGC Update: New Director Takes Helm Amid Flurry of New Forms

"In addition to the change in leadership, PBGC recently issued new final or proposed forms relating to reportable events, facility shutdown reporting under ERISA section 4062(e), and coverage determinations."
Groom Law Group

DB Funding: Pay Now or Pay Later

"Trajectory of funding relief ... Shadow underfunding ... The significance of PBGC variable-rate premiums ... Outcomes under alternative funding strategies ... Varying the earnings rate ... [D]ifferent strategies work better under different versions of an unpredictable future."
October Three Consulting

Another Federal Regulator Jumps Into the Fiduciary Fray

"[The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)] is contemplating an update to the regulatory definition of 'fiduciary capacity' to include any activity based on the authority a national bank or federal savings association has with respect to a trust -- such as the power to make discretionary distributions, override the trustee, or select a new trustee[.]"
Eversheds Sutherland

Small 401(k) Plan Faces Excessive Fee Lawsuit

"The less than $250 million plan is accused of failing to employ a prudent and loyal process in evaluating investment and administrative fees.... According to the complaint, for every year between 2013 and 2017, the administrative fees charged to plan participants were greater than 90% of peer plan fees when fees are calculated as cost per participant.... The lawsuit also alleges that as of December 31, 2017, the fees for the investment options then in the plan were up to three-times more expensive than available alternatives in the same investment style.
PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Retiree Decumulation Confusion and What It Means for Plan Sponsors

"Many retirees are focused on the wrong things, such as outliving their money or investing it optimally, instead of focusing on spending assets in a prudent fashion and actually enjoying their retirement! In fact, some people are even working well past retirement age, not because they must, but because they fear the transitions that retirement will bring.... As part of their communication efforts, plan sponsors should not only educate participants on the importance of saving for retirement, but also on how to appropriately spend those assets once they arrive in retirement."
Cammack Retirement Group

Annuity Purchase Update: May 2019 Interest Rates

"During 2018, the spread of annuity purchase prices above the GAAP projected benefit obligation (PBO) remained fairly stable ... From December 2018 to May 2019, as annuity purchase interest rates and yield curve interest rates changed rapidly, the spread narrowed ... [which] may represent an opportunity to complete an annuity purchase at a relatively cheaper price[.]"
October Three Consulting

Connecticut Police Department Reverses Course, Switches Back to DB Plan

"The town of Branford and United Public Service Employees Union agreed to have the Branford Police Department switch to a DC plan in 2011 ... The switch was made after the 2008 global financial crisis and also because the town wanted to mitigate investment risks.... [P]articipants became concerned that the plan wouldn't provide sufficient benefits if they became disabled. Plus, the police union was the town's only bargaining unit not covered by a DB plan."
Pensions & Investments

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Delinquent Loans Under Rev. Proc. 2019-19: Can Correct Before Default?

Under Rev Proc 2019-19, can we can correct a delinquent loan that has not yet been defaulted? The Rev Proc says that a 'defaulted loan' is any loan that is not repaid in accordance with plan terms. Can SCP be used to correct a loan in which several loan payments were missed because the employer's payroll messed up and failed to withhold the loan deductions? The cure period has not expired so there is no default yet.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Safe Harbor Plan Termination Due to Retirement

Client is closing down his medical practice on July 31, 2019. He sponsors a safe harbor 401(k) plan. [1] Does he have reliance on safe harbor status even though plan is not a full year? [2] Is a notice to participants required? [3] Is there any special language needed in the amendment to terminate? The small firm that I was employed by has been bought by another firm whose termination procedures were very different from the way we handled plan terminations. I am looking for guidance on how others handle plan terminations.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Allocation Schedule vs. Payroll Report of Salary Deferrals -- What's the Diff?

A client's 401(k) plan is undergoing an IRS audit and the auditor requests both an Allocation Schedule and a report of 401k contributions for each pay period. Anyone know the difference, or what exactly they're looking for in an allocation schedule?
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Press Releases

Gordon Hartogensis Sworn in as PBGC Director
PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Six New Members Appointed to the 2019 ERISA Advisory Council
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Notes from Meeting of Actuaries 'Intersector Group' with PBGC, March 7, 2019 (PDF)
American Academy of Actuaries, Conference of Consulting Actuaries, Society of Actuaries, and ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries [ACOPA]

Life Insurance in Qualified Plans
Benefit Resources Inc.

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Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

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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