Retirement Plans Newsletter

July 31, 2019

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Jobs

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

ESOP Administrator
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
in Charlottesville VA / Telecommute

Client Relationship Manager
Administrative Fiduciary Services, Inc.
in Houston TX / Telecommute

Regional Sales Director
AimPoint Pension
in FL

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Webcasts, Conferences

Qualified Plans - All Day with Alison Cohen
September 10, 2019 in MN
ASPPA Benefits Council [ABC] of Greater Twin Cities

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Request for Advisory Committee Nominations

"The Advisory Committee's prescribed duties include advising the [PBGC] as to its policies and procedures relating to investment of moneys ... The Advisory Committee meets at least six times each year.... By February 19, 2020, the terms of two of the Advisory Committee members representing employee organizations and one of the Advisory Committee members representing the general public will have expired. Therefore, PBGC is seeking nominations for three seats."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

[Advert.]

Attract Top Employees and Impact Performance, Loyalty, and Growth

Sponsored by Hall Benefits Law

FREE webinar Aug 22, 2 pm ET. Executive compensation plans targeting specific goals related to performance, loyalty, and growth impact the growth and future success of a business. Learn how from ERISA Counsel. ERISA Case Studies book to registrants!


[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Notice of Intent to Request OMB Approval of Modifications to Premium Payment Forms and Instructions

"PBGC intends to modify the 2020 filing and instructions to require that plans offering a lump sum window separately report the number of participants in pay status who were offered and elected a lump sum in addition to the related current requirement with respect to participants not in pay status.... PBGC intends to change the reporting period for risk transfer activity (lump sum windows and annuity purchases) ... [to] the prior premium payment year. PBGC also intends to modify the filing instructions for a plan that reports that a premium filing will be the last for the plan and checks the 'cessation of covered status' box as the reason.... PBGC is proposing to add to the instructions that a plan that claims cessation of coverage status should complete a coverage determination request."
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Finalizes MEP Regs

"[The final regulation] does not provide any relief for so-called 'Open MEPs' ... [T]he DOL is also requesting considerable input from the practitioner community regarding Open MEPs, as a prelude to considering further regulation.... [T]he Regulation refers often to the possible coordination by associations of their health plan offerings with their retirement programs ... The AHP final regulations were struck down by the D.C. District Court ... in March of this year ... [S]ome of the structure of the Regulation reflects changes meant to resolve some of the elements of the court decision ... [T]he Regulation contains a 'severability' clause[.]"
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center

[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick Form CRS: Practical Considerations

"While certain of these disclosures may already be effected via other means (such as in an advisory firm's Form ADV), they must still be provided in the Form CRS. Creating a compliant Form CRS will entail significant effort, and securities firms should prioritize internally coordinated efforts to ensure that their relationship summaries are fully informed and accurate."
K&L Gates

DOL Expands MEP Availability in Final Regs on Association Retirement Plans

"The [DOL] has issued final regulations that clarify the circumstances under which either a group of employers or a professional employer organization (PEO) is considered to be an 'employer' under Section 3(5) of [ERISA] for purposes of sponsoring a multiple employer plan (MEP) ... The DOL also issued a request for information (RFI) seeking comments on whether it should issue regulations that would facilitate 'open MEPs,' which are excluded from the final regulations."
Thomson Reuters Practical Law

Small Businesses (Really) Like 401(k) Open MEP Concept

"66% of small business owners who do not offer a retirement plan today are likely to consider an open multiple employer plan (MEP).... 59% of employers interested in open MEPs said other advantages to offering retirement plans would be employee retention and attracting talent."
401(k) Specialist

401(k) Compliance Calendar (PDF)

3-page chart shows important dates for a calendar year-end 401(k) plan.
Sapers & Wallack

Helping Participants Who Take Hardship Withdrawals

"Of those who do take hardship withdrawals, 73% are taken for two primary reasons. The first is to prevent eviction or foreclosure, and the second is to pay uninsured and unreimbursed medical expenses.... [O]ne way to help decrease the likelihood that a participant will tap into his or her DC plan when experiencing a financial hardship is to help them understand the importance of having an emergency savings account. Plan sponsors may even consider offering 'sidecar' savings accounts linked to the payroll system."
planadviser

SEI Agrees to Pay $6.8 Million to Settle Self-Dealing Suit

"According to the Settlement Agreement, the defendants will pay $6.8 million to a Qualified Settlement Fund. In addition, SEI agrees that ... [1] Defendants shall retain the services of an unaffiliated investment consultant to provide an evaluation of the design of the plan’s investment lineup and to review the plan’s investment policy statement; [2] SEI shall continue to pay all recordkeeping fees associated with the plan that it is currently paying and that would otherwise be payable from plan assets; and [3] SEI shall ensure that all of the plan’s investment committee members will participate in a training session on ERISA’s fiduciary duties."
planadviser

District Court Decides Medical Center Plan is a Church Plan Under ERISA

"Citing the Supreme Court decision regarding church plan cases and using a three-part test, a federal judge found the St. Elizabeth Medical Center Employees' Pension Plan falls under the ERISA exemption for church plans." [Boden v. St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Inc., No. 16-49 (E.D. Ky. Jul. 25, 2019)]
PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Analysis of Disability Benefits in Public Retirement Plans (PDF)

"Although a long-term disability benefit is available to participants of every retirement system examined, a wide range and variety exist in benefit levels, eligibility criteria, and most other basic features that make up this benefit.... The expected duration of the disability varies among plans, with a minimum expected duration of 12 months[.]"
National Association of State Retirement Administrators [NASRA]

How to Invest for Your Retirement

"Whether you're investing on your own through an individual retirement account (IRA), through your employer with a 401(k), or both, here's what you need to know about laying out an investment strategy that will hopefully get you from where you are now to a comfortable retirement."
MassMutual

[Opinion]

From Saving to Spending: A Proposal to Convert Retirement Account Balances Into Automatic and Flexible Income

"[The authors]  propose a default decumulation solution that could be added to retirement plans to simplify decumulation choices ... centered on pooled investment accounts known as managed payout funds that deliver monthly income that is likely, though not guaranteed, to last a lifetime. Coupled with longevity annuities that begin to make payments when the owner reaches an advanced age and a separate fund for emergencies and extraordinary payments, managed payout funds could help protect retirees from longevity risk without unduly reducing their current living standards."
The Brookings Institution

Benefits in General

Reviewing Your Independent Auditor's Report: Where to Start

"First, look at the auditor's opinion about the fair presentation of the financial statements.... Next, read the Notes to Financial Statements section.... Third, examine the financial statements themselves for trends in the financial data."
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Sixth Circuit NQDC Plan Decision Highlights Importance of Code Section 409A Compliance and ERISA Claims Procedures

"The Sixth Circuit decision held that an NQDC plan whose default payment timing was retirement but also allowed earlier in-service payments was an ERISA pension plan that potentially provided retirement benefits. The fact that payments could be made before retirement did not qualify the plan for the bonus program exception to ERISA.... The take-away is that being a top hat ERISA pension plan provides another line of defense for plan sponsors. Mr. Wilson may still recover some or all of the penalties he incurred, but the process would have been easier for him in state court than under the ERISA procedures." [Wilson v. Safelite Group, Inc., No. 18-3408 (6th Cir. Jul. 10, 2019)]
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of DOL Prohibited Transaction Exemption: Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Congress Has a Dangerous Idea for Your 401(k)
Ethan Schwartz in Bloomberg, via Yahoo News

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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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