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Plan Analyst
Acuff & Associates, Inc.
in Brentwood TN / Telecommute

Retirement Plan Administrator
Liden, Nestle, Soled & Associates
in Westlake Village CA

Sr Analyst Compliance
Empower Retirement
in Overland Park KS

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Webcasts, Conferences

Mergers and Acquisitions: A Who's the Employer Perspective
June 18, 2019 WEBCAST
Western Pension & Benefits Council

A Deep Dive: Who is an Employee?
June 25, 2019 WEBCAST
American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

►See 154 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1533 Recorded Webcasts


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Does Your Retirement Plan Incorporate State Law Into the Plan? Check Your Spousal Benefit Obligations!

"[If] domestic partner rights are imported into the plan document, ... even in the absence of joint and survivor annuity provisions....domestic partner approval of plan loans and hardship withdrawals may be required, and QDRO procedures may have to be expanded. For this to be the case, the plan's choice of law provision must invoke the law of a state which grants to domestic partners rights equal to those of spouses, and the plan must also not define 'spouse' in a more limiting way, for instance by limiting the term to legally married couples." [Reed v. KRON/IBEW Local 45 Pension Plan, No. 17-17176 (9th Cir. May 16, 2019; unpub.)]
E is for ERISA


Legal Analytics help ERISA Litigators Win

Sponsored by Lex Machina

Join our complimentary webcast on May 30, unveiling the first ERISA Litigation Report with valuable trends and insights such as ERISA case timing, resolutions, damages, remedies, and findings.

Former Employee's Release Agreement Bars ERISA Claim Against ESOP Fiduciary

"A recent summary-judgment decision explains how individual releases can bar the individual from pursuing ERISA fiduciary-breach claims on behalf of the plan. A plan, employer or fiduciary that wants to ensure a release that includes ERISA claims on behalf of a plan should consider language that addresses the court's areas of inquiry in [this case.]" [Innis v. Bankers Trust Co. of South Dakota, No. 16-650, (S.D. Ia. Apr. 30, 2019)]
McDermott Will & Emery

Sustainable Investing in Defined Contribution Plans: A Guide for Plan Sponsors (PDF)

"The recent series of bulletins issued by the DOL has led to confusion due to a lack of clarity in the language and an inconsistent tone over the course of different administrations ... The two primary ways for plan sponsors to implement sustainable investing in DC plans are [1] adding ESG-themed fund options into the fund lineup or self-directed brokerage window, and [2] considering ESG factor integration in investment processes during manager evaluation."
Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association [DCIIA]

How Sticky is Your Plan's Default Investment?

"80% of 25-year-old participants accepted the default compared with 60% of 65-year-olds ... Regardless of age ... participants making less than $25,000 had more than an 80% probability of accepting the default. In contrast, participants making more than $125,000 had a probability of less than 50%. This suggests that income may be a much stronger driver of default acceptance than age."
Morningstar Advisor

Lessons for Fiduciaries from the University of Pennsylvania Appeal

"Have you ... reviewed revenue sharing payments to see if they exceeded the cost of the services? Have you reviewed available share classes to determine which were the least expensive? Do you regularly review your investment menu to determine whether changes are appropriate? Prudent fiduciaries will want to take these steps and document their process." [Sweda v. Univ. of Penn., No. 17-3244 (3d Cir. May 2, 2019)]
Cohen & Buckmann, P.C.

Level of Financial Confidence Among Adult Children May Stem from Their Parents' Approach to Retirement Planning

"A new survey from TIAA finds Americans who lack confidence in their parents' financial security in retirement (27 percent) are twice as likely to lack confidence in their own retirement as those who are confident in their parents' (72 percent versus 36 percent). More than half of respondents (57 percent) also indicate that their parents' financial planning for retirement has impacted their own, with almost half (44 percent) avoiding taking on significant debt, and nearly four in ten (38 percent) saying they have adopted a more conservative approach to everyday spending by consciously limiting their spending on non-essentials."

The New Social Contract: Empowering Individuals in a Transitioning World (PDF)

Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2019; 80 pages. "This year's survey report delves further into the specifics of a new social contract with an emphasis on empowering individuals to play a greater role in their preparations in our transitioning world. It outlines the Five Fundamentals for Retirement Readiness, which are action steps they can and should be taking right now. It also outlines specific recommendations for governments, employers, industry, and other social partners to begin building the new social contract."

Fiduciary Duty and the Market for Financial Advice

"[I]mposing fiduciary duty on broker-dealers shifts the set of products they sell to consumers, away from variable annuities and towards fixed indexed annuities. Within variable annuities, fiduciary duty induces a shift towards lower-fee, higher-return annuities with a wider array of investment options.... [The authors] find evidence that fiduciary duty does not solely increase the cost of doing business but that it has the intended effect of directly impacting financial advice."
National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER]; purchase required for full document

Constructing Tax Efficient Withdrawal Strategies for Retirees with Traditional 401(k)/IRAs, Roth 401(k)/IRAs, and Taxable Accounts

"[This] algorithm ... generates an individualized strategy that results in consistent improvements over non-individualized withdrawal strategies ... [The authors] quantifiably demonstrate why retirees should avoid ... dividend producing stocks in their taxable accounts. [The] model, which can work to optimize either portfolio longevity or the bequest to an heir, accommodates many salient tax code features, including dividends, different taxable lots, conversions, and required minimum distributions."
James DiLellio, Daniel N. Ostrov, via SSRN

Is This $136,852 Gift Hidden in Your 401(k)?

"60% of 401(k) plans now offer auto-escalation ... [Assume] you earn the median household income in the United States ... Visualize that you never receive any raises, that your 401(k) doesn't have a match, and that you save 6% of your salary in it every year for 30 years at a 7% annual return ... At the end of 30 years, your nest egg is worth $372,183.... [If you] have auto-escalation built into your 401(k) ... your savings are worth $576,545 ... Part of that is the additional contributions from saving more each year toward your 401(k) ... But the larger part is thanks to the compounding of those extra savings."
Fox Business

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Debunking SPD Myths: Yes, There Are Reporting Requirements for 'Top Hat' Plans

"Top hat plans remain subject to ERISA's claims and appeal rules, preemption of state law provision, and civil enforcement provisions. Also, a plan administrator must still provide the DOL certain documents upon request.... The DOL maintains the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) under which a plan administrator may voluntarily correct a failure to file the top hat statement."
Dickinson Wright

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Last Day Employment Condition to Earn CB Contribution Credits: OK to Apply to HCEs Only?

I am taking over a cash balance plan that requires NHCEs to work 1000 hours to receive the contribution credit, but HCEs must work 1000 hours AND be employed on the last day of the plan year? Is this allowed for HCEs?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Application of Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy to 'Direct Billing' Type of Participant Loans

Many of our clients plans permit participant loans to be repaid through "home bill" or "direct bill" (i.e. non-payroll deduct). Is there a best practice for handling an automatic stay issued pursuant to a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy filing in connection with these type of loan repayments? We understand the Bankruptcy Code (section 362(b)(19) exempts payroll deduct loan repayments from the automatic stay, but the code is silent on non-payroll deduct repayments). Does that mean non-payroll deduct loan repayments are subject to the automatic stay? If so, are defaults suspended too during the stay?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Bing, Bang, Bong: The Tax Code Supports Hemp/Cannabis 401(k) Plan
Fisher Broyles, via Lexology; free registration required

Small 401(k) Plan Faces Excessive Fee Lawsuit
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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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