Retirement Plans Newsletter

May 30, 2019

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Retirement Account Administrator
Stalker and Associates, Inc.
in Newtown PA

Counsel - ERISA & CIT Matters
M&T Bank
in Buffalo NY / DE

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[Guidance Overview]

Updated EPCRS Expands Self-Correction Opportunities for Retirement Plan Sponsors

"Under the expanded program, self-correction can be used to correct operational failures by adopting retroactive plan amendments to conform the plan terms to the plan operations if: [1] the amendment would result in an increase of a benefit, right, or feature; [2] the increase is provided to all eligible employees under the plan; and [3] the increase is permitted under the code and satisfies the general correction principles of EPCRS."
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

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Feeling Defeated in the Battle of Participant Loans? Here's a Fix for That

"[T]he goal for plan corrections is to put the plan and its participants back in the position they would have been in had the error not occurred.... [M]ost plan sponsors prefer to preserve the loan for the benefit of the participant.... That means we've got a two-fold correction to work through. First, bringing the plan document back into compliance and second, getting the participant loan in good-standing. Luckily, the IRS provides specific guidance on stepping through these corrections."
DWC

Retirement Plan Outcomes: The Missing Puzzle Piece

"A plan sponsor can have a best-in-class investment array and extremely low fees, but if the participants cannot retire on time because their retirement account balances are insufficient, then the whole purpose offering a retirement plan is defeated! Not to mention the myriad of issues created when employees are forced to work past the age that they would normally retire."
Cammack Retirement Group

Editor's Pick Required Return: A Framework for Setting and Achieving Pension Objectives

"[T]he first step toward success in managing pension portfolios is to clearly identify the plan's ultimate objective (e.g., managing the plan in perpetuity, or partial or full termination) and to translate that objective into a measurable goal ... [This article describes] a required return and surplus volatility framework that can assist plan sponsors in shaping their asset allocations to help them achieve plan objectives."
J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Cost of a Retirement Plan? Just $2.64 Per Hour

"[A] recent study [concluded] that employers could restore retirement security by contributing $5,500 per year to each employee's retirement account -- approximately $2.64 an hour ... By shifting retirement savings burdens to employees, employers have saved significant money over the last four decades.... [The study's author] contends that businesses can pass a larger portion of their savings back to workers and avoid a societal retirement catastrophe."
San Antonio Express-News

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A Conversation with ERISA Litigator Jerry Schlichter: Cross-Selling in the Crosshairs?

"[T]he average total plan cost ... for a large retirement plan ... declined from 0.95% to 0.93%. Many advocates for retirement industry reform, Schlichter included, argue these numbers are still too high ... 'We're expecting to see something of a Whack-a-Mole game by providers as their fees are squeezed . . . . For example, you are seeing questions about the role of recordkeepers in taking confidential personal information from plan participants and using this data to market products and services outside the plan, such as IRAs, 529 plans, insurance and wealth management,' [he said.] Schlichter's position on this type of cross-selling is that it is improper under ERISA."
PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

CalSTRS's Plan to Reduce Investment Management Fees

"[CalSTRS] is initiating a long-range plan to increase internal management of assets to reduce the $1.8 billion it currently pays out in external management fees ... CalSTRS has made the largest progress in internal management in its $28.3 billion fixed income portfolio where 85% of the assets class is internally managed ... The largest group of fees paid to external managers in 2017 was in private equity where $521 million was paid in management fees and carry (profit sharing) to external managers."
Pension Pulse

Musicians' Union Pension Fund Preparing MPRA Application to Reduce Benefits

"As of March 31, the pension fund had $1.8 billion in assets and about $3 billion in liabilities, with a funding shortfall of $1.2 billion and a funding ratio of 60%. The plan's actuaries advised the board of trustees in May that it had entered critical and declining status for the plan year that began April 1 and is projected to be insolvent within 20 years."
Pensions & Investments

Benefits in General

Law Professors Ask SCOTUS to Limit 'Forum Selection' Plan Provisions

"Eleven law professors called on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that companies can't unilaterally limit the courts in which workers can sue over their health and retirement benefits.... The Supreme Court expressed interest in the issue in 2016, after the Sixth Circuit became the first appeals court to hold that forum selection clauses are permissible under ERISA.... Since then, the Third, Seventh, and Eighth circuits all followed the Sixth Circuit's lead in upholding these clauses from ERISA challenges."
Bloomberg Law

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Currently Filing 5500-SF But Want to Start Using 5500-EZ Instead

Plan year starts with 2 participants. During plan year, Participant #2, who is not a spouse and is already terminated, takes a full distribution. So plan year ends with 1 participant. So, is this the year that the plan switches to 5500-EZ? Or wait until the year it starts with 1 Participant? (Technically speaking, plan will file SF as one-person plan.)
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Trust Received Check Without a Participant Identified

We have received a check for around $500 from an investment fund but we can't determine what participant it applies to. The check is made payable to the plan. Apparently the SEC ordered a settlement under an administrative proceeding. Certain investors received settlement proceeds if they were affected by market timing activity in 2001-2003. We haven't been able to figure out what participant account to apply the check to. What should we do?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Provide Employees with Choice of HSA Contribution or 403(b) Contribution?

Nonprofit (Code section 501(c)(3)) plan sponsor provides a lump sum number to each employee representing an amount which can be contributed to the HSA or, if not, to the 403(b) plan. It has always been my opinion that such a choice makes this money, when contributed to the 403(b) plan, an employee contribution because of the old cash or deferred rules. The employer would like it to be deemed an employer contribution. We could insert a Non-Elective provision with individual groups and test it, but I am just not certain that the fundamental question and answer are correct.
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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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