Retirement Plans Newsletter

July 17, 2019

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Retirement Account Administrator
Alerus Financial
in Arden Hills MN / Albert Lea MN / East Lansing MI / Troy MI / Bedford NH

Senior Retirement Plan Administrator
Professional Capital Services, LLC
in Philadelphia PA / Telecommute

Benefits Analyst
University of Maryland Medical System
in Baltimore MD

Defined Contribution Administrator
Pension Investors Corp.
in Hollywood FL / Telecommute

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Proposes Exception to IRS 'One Bad Apple' Rule

"Where a qualification failure is not corrected, generally the assets of the MEP attributable to employee-participants of the failing employer will be distributed to them.... [T]he amounts so distributed 'would not, solely because of the participating employer failure, fail to be eligible for favorable tax treatment accorded to distributions from qualified plans.' The IRS, however, reserves the right to not apply this special treatment to a person (e.g., an owner-participant) that is responsible for the plan failure."
October Three Consulting

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Determination Letters Are Back in Play for Certain Ongoing Plans (PDF)

"Rev. Proc. 2019-20 ... reopens the determination letter program for statutory hybrid plans (e.g., cash balance plans) and merged plans, and provides sanction relief from plan document failures identified and corrected as part of those determination letter applications."
Groom Law Group

Editor's Pick How America Saves: Small Business Edition (PDF)

36 pages. "On average, VRPA plans had 43 participants and plan assets of $2.4 million.... In 2018, 22% of VRPA plans allowed employees to make voluntary contributions immediately after they joined their employer.... 41% of plan sponsors required eligible employees to have one year of service before they could make employee-elective contributions to their plans.... Forty-five percent of VRPA plans provided only a matching contribution in 2018. Eight percent of plans provided both a matching and a nonmatching employer contribution.... Two-thirds of VRPA plans with an employer contribution had adopted a safe harbor design ... As of December 2018, 15% of VRPA plans permitting employee-elective deferrals had adopted automatic enrollment."
Vanguard

The Effect of the Employer Match and Defaults on Federal Workers' Savings Behavior in the Thrift Savings Plan

"This paper develops an empirical model to forecast the effects on employee contribution rates and on employer costs if the federal government changed the employer match or the default contribution rate for participants in the Thrift Savings Plan.... [R]aising the matching threshold from zero percent to 5 percent leads to employees contributing 3.3 percent more of their salaries to TSP. In contrast, an increase in the default contribution rate from zero percent to 3 percent increases employee contributions by 0.3 percent of their salary." [Working Paper 2019-06, Jul. 16, 2019]
Congressional Budget Office [CBO]

Dealing With Significant Multiemployer Pension Plan Issues in Corporate Transactions

"Buyers contemplating acquiring a business that contributes to an underfunded multiemployer pension plan must perform significant due diligence to assess the financial ramifications, including the potential effect of such underfunding on the price it is willing to pay for the business.... [B]ecause both an asset sale and an attempted transfer of multiemployer pension plan obligations to a joint venture entity can trigger withdrawal liability for the seller, ... sellers must also consider the withdrawal liability exposure of the target."
Tax Executive

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Employers Should Request Annual Estimate of Multiemployer Pension Plan Withdrawal Liability

"Many employers are reluctant to request an estimate, especially if they are considering selling the business, perhaps because they are trying to keep the negotiations quiet. If the employer requested an estimate every year or two, then suspicion would be less likely, and the employer would be informed of the potential liability on an ongoing basis."
Frost Brown Todd, via Lexology; free registration required

Defined Benefit Pensions and Homeownership in the Post-Great Recession Era

"[H]ouseholds with a defined contribution plan were 2.1-2.9 percent less likely to own a home after the Great Recession compared to households with a defined contribution plan.... Future retirees face a potentially riskier housing market and are less likely to have a defined benefit plan. As a result, future retirees may be more willing to use their housing equity to increase consumption in retirement than was observed in past generations."
Tim Murray, Virginia Military Institute, via SSRN

European Pension Authority Issues Opinion on ESG Pension Investing

"Those charged with global governance of pension plans and pension investment in multinational companies may wish to watch this development closely, as the EU may influence pension investing trends in other countries. The UK has already begun to require that Statements of Investment Principles for both DB and DC plans must address ESG considerations beginning in October, 2019."
Groom Law Group

Flexible Spending Rules to Avoid FIREing at 4%

"[T]he challenge of trying to 'FIRE' out of work as quickly as possible -- sometimes as early as one's 40s or even 30s -- is that it leaves a very long time to be in 'retirement.' So long, in fact, that the classic '4% rule' of retirement should probably be more like a 3.5% rule ... But also so long that most human beings will struggle to be idle for so long... which often leads back to productive engagement that even ends out producing post-retirement employment income. Which ironically means that if many of those accumulating towards FIRE considered this likely income, they might even transition sooner instead! (Because even earning 'just' $20,000/year of side income in retirement can reduce nearly $500,000 from the required retirement savings!)"
Nerd's Eye View

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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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