Retirement Plans Newsletter

July 2, 2019

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Senior Pension Administrator - Combo DB / DC Plans
Primark Benefits
in Burlingame CA / Telecommute

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Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
in Charlottesville VA / Telecommute

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[Official Guidance]

Editor's Pick Text of IRS Proposed Regs: Multiple Employer Plans

70 pages. "This document sets forth proposed regulations relating to the tax qualification of plans maintained by more than one employer. These plans ... are often referred to as multiple employer plans or MEPs. The proposed regulations would provide an exception, if certain requirements are met, to the application of the 'unified plan rule' for a defined contribution MEP in the event of a failure by an employer participating in the plan to satisfy a qualification requirement or to provide information needed to determine compliance with a qualification requirement....

"The exception generally would be available if the participating employer in a MEP is responsible for a qualification failure that the employer is unable or unwilling to correct. It would also be available if the participating employer fails to comply with the section 413(c) plan administrator's request for information about a qualification failure that the section 413(c) plan administrator reasonably believes might exist. For the exception to the unified plan rule to apply, certain actions are required to be taken, including, in certain circumstances, a spinoff of the assets and account balances attributable to participants who are employees of such an employer to a separate plan and a termination of that plan."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Advert.]

ASC CE Webcast: Special Qualified Plan Rules for Churches and Governmental Entities

Sponsored by ASC

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Proposed Revision of ASOP No. 27: Selection of Economic Assumptions for Measuring Pension Obligations (PDF)

35 pages. "This document contains a second exposure draft of a proposed revision of ASOP No. 27 ... The first exposure draft was issued in March 2018 with a comment deadline of July 31, 2018. Eighteen comment letters were received and considered in making changes that are reflected in the second exposure draft."
Actuarial Standards Board

[Official Guidance]

Text of Proposed Revision of ASOP No. 35: Selection of Demographic and Other Noneconomic Assumptions for Measuring Pension Obligations (PDF)

33 pages. "This document contains a second exposure draft of a proposed revision of ASOP No. 35 ... The first exposure draft was issued in March 2018 with a comment deadline of July 31, 2018. Sixteen comment letters were received and considered in making changes that are reflected in the second exposure draft."
Actuarial Standards Board

[Guidance Overview]

A Guide to Regulation Best Interest

"Section I discusses Regulation Best Interest generally. Section II discusses at some length each of the four Component Obligations that must be satisfied to demonstrate compliance ... Section III examines a number of other important collateral issues ... Section IV discusses required records and recordkeeping ... Section V provides a suggested framework for ensuring that registered broker-dealers are fully compliant with Regulation Best Interest on or before the fast-approaching compliance date of June 30, 2020."
Stradley Ronon

[Guidance Overview]

Optional CalSavers Begins on July 1, 2019: Mandatory Participation Next Year for Some Employers (PDF)

"Large employers that have at least one eligible California based employee and who do not offer their own employer sponsored retirement plan must register with the CalSavers program and begin auto-enrolling employees ... no later than June 30, 2020. By 2022, even employers with as few as 5 California based employees ... will be subject to the mandate."
Boutwell Fay LLP

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Massachusetts Securities Division Proposes Uniform Fiduciary Standard

"On June 14, 2019, the Massachusetts Securities Division proposed and offered for public comment a state regulation to apply a fiduciary standard of conduct to broker-dealers, agents, investment advisers and investment adviser representatives when they advise their customers.... The Division's proposal appears to be a clear reaction to Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin's disappointment with the new Regulation Best Interest from the [SEC]."
Sidley Austin LLP

June 2019 Pension Finance Update

"Pension finances improved in June, as stock market gains overcame lower interest rates. Both model plans ... gained ground last month: Plan A improved close to 2%, ending the first half of 2019 basically flat, while Plan B added close to 1% and is now up less than 1% through the first six months of 2019[.]"
October Three Consulting

Estimates of the Financial Effects on the Social Security Program Assuming Enactment of the 'Strengthen Social Security by Taxing Dynastic Wealth Act of 2019' (PDF)

"The draft bill would make the following changes: [1] Reduce the lifetime estate tax exemption limit to $3.5 million for deaths in 2020 or later ... [2] Establish a lifetime exemption limit for gifts of $1 million ... [3] All monies from tax on excess gifts and transfers made, and tax on estates of deaths in 2020 or later, would be directed to the OASDI Trust Fund. Enactment of this provision alone would improve the long-range OASDI actuarial balance by an estimated 0.58 percent of taxable payroll, and would improve the OASDI annual balance by 0.78 percent of payroll for the 75th projection year (2093)."
U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA]

[Opinion]

Three Policy Ideas for Turning Individual Account Balances Into Retirement Security (PDF)

"Crafting the ideal retirement spending program requires an alchemistic blend of the retiree's life expectancy, future investment returns, inflation, emergency spending needs, bequest motives, and ever-changing tax law and Social Security benefits. Annuities would be an obvious solution for many, but few retirees are willing to turn over a large sum of money for a seemingly small monthly payment.... [T]hree relatively new and promising ideas [are]: a voluntary Social Security buy-in; tontine -- a kind of mortality risk sharing pool; and a new kind of Treasury bond called a SeLFIE."
K&L Gates, via Benefits Law Journal

Benefits in General

A Deadline Is a Bright Line: Seventh Circuit Narrows 'Substantial Compliance'

"Although the court held that a plan administrator that misses a statutory deadline cannot be in 'substantial compliance' with the statute, the Seventh Circuit ... refused to abrogate entirely the doctrine of 'substantial compliance.' Rather, the court narrowly held that the doctrine does not apply to the violation of regulatory deadlines, so 'when that time is up, it's up.' " [Fessenden v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., No. 18-1346 (7th Cir. Jun. 25, 2019)]
Jackson Lewis P.C.

Considerations When Eliminating Specific Employee Benefits

"[C]ompanies can't simply continue to add benefits. Every once in a while, they might need to phase out or eliminate a benefit to put a new one in its place or because it doesn't align with the company's compensation philosophies. From a legal perspective, what should organizations be aware of when it comes to the elimination of an employee benefit? ... Are there some best practices that employers might want to consider when it comes to underutilized benefits?"
HRbartender

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Editor's Pick #MeToo, Clawbacks and Executive Compensation in 2019: Has Anything Changed? (PDF)

161-page presentation outline. "[To] know whether compensation is subject to clawback where an executive is terminated for sexual misconduct that constitutes 'cause,' one needs to know what the corporate clawback or recoupment policy says, and those policies are not commonly included in securities filings.... It seems reasonable to expect that over the next few years sexual harassment will increasingly be explicitly listed as 'cause' for purposes of determining whether a terminated executive must forfeit potential compensation."
Utz & Lattan, LLC

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

No Profit Sharing Contribution Made for New Plan -- Must File 5500 Anyway?

New profit sharing plan adopted in November 2018. The 401k component was going to start 1/1/2019. Plan sponsor decided not to make a profit sharing contribution for 2018 -- so zero assets at December 31, 2018. Is a Form 5500 required for 2018?
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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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