Retirement Plans Newsletter

August 1, 2019

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Webcasts, Conferences

Voluntary Closing Agreements - The Non-EPCRS Correction Program
August 21, 2019 WEBCAST
Western Pension & Benefits Council

Retirement Plan Bootcamp
September 17, 2019 in UT
ISCEBS - Pacific NW Chapter

S Corporation ESOPs: Administrative Issues
October 1, 2019 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

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[Guidance Overview]

New Access to Multiple Employer Retirement Plans and Potential New Protections for Participating Employers

"The new association retirement plan regulations are similar to the DOL's association health plan regulations issued in 2018 that were struck down by a federal district court ... on both [ACA] and ERISA grounds. The ACA issues would not apply to these regulations, but they potentially raise the same ERISA issues."

Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

What You Need to Know About Association Retirement Plans

"A closed MEP files a single 5500 with a single audit, and has a single bond. Under the 2012 rules, relatively few associations or groups of employers could safely sponsor a MEP and have it treated as a single ERISA plan (closed). The effect of the ARP final rules is that a much larger number of groups or associations of employers can now sponsor closed MEPs.... ARPs are therefore not a new type of plan. They are a new pathway to an old type of plan. "

Pete Swisher, via 401(k) Specialist

IRS Expands Determination Letter Program for Retirement Plans (PDF)

"IRS discontinued regular determination letter process in 2017.  IRS is opening a one-year window for certain hybrid plans to apply for a determination letter.  For those plans, sanctions will not be imposed for certain failures.  Hybrid designs recently adopted by some multiemployer plans may qualify and be able to confirm compliance."

Milliman

Reducing the Number of 401(k) Recordkeeper Partners Poses Challenge for Plan Advisers

"While consolidating their provider roster makes sense, the reality is that few advisers are taking major steps in that direction for practical reasons, and even fewer record keepers are focused on helping. Robos like Vestwell are betting on this trend by trying to facilitate consolidation, but traditional plan advisers are slow to adopt new providers."

InvestmentNews; subscription may be required

California Pension Costs Grew Six Times as Fast as Nation

"Median pension costs went up $7,022 per employee in a selection of cities, counties and special districts in California from 2007 to 2016, compared to a national median increase of $1,216 ... The rising pension costs have consumed an increasing share of local government revenues, absorbing an additional 2 percent of general revenues over the 10-year stretch in California compared to a national median of 0.7 percent[.]"

The Modesto Bee

[Advert.]

SPARK Forum - November 3-5, 2019 -- The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL

Sponsored by SPARK

Join us at the retirement services industry's leading event for top marketing, sales, administration and record keeping professionals. Comprehensive agenda includes topics for Record Keepers, 401(k) Plan Providers, Financial Advisors and Cyber Security Professionals.


Four Key Strategies for Managing Pension Risk

"If managed ineffectively, pension plans can threaten cash flow, access to capital, liquidity, credit ratings, investor sentiment, and other corporate priorities. Their ultimate cost ... depends greatly on strategic choices within each CFO's control.... CFOs have four levers at their disposal:  ... [1] Asset returns ... [2] Liability hedging ... [3] Contribution policy ... [4] [P]olicies that govern benefit payouts."

Cambridge Associates

Pension Investing: An Alternative Strategy for Public and Church Defined Benefit Plans

"[T]hese plans' year to year volatility is closely tied to the performance of the supporting investment portfolio. An ideal investment strategy needs ... [to address] two key overarching objectives: [1] Improve the funded status of the plan while managing the ups and downs of the funded status volatility; and [2] Avoid having the plan become underfunded to the point where the plan falls into a 'death spiral'[.]"

River and Mercantile Solutions

FAS87 ASC715 Discount Rates and Moody's Rates, Updated August 1, 2019

An unofficial monthly report as of July 31, 2019, of the Moody's Daily Long-term Corporate Bond Yield Averages and Moody's Daily Treasury Yield Averages (used as benchmarks by some corporate pension plans).

David Rigby, via BenefitsLink Message Boards

[Opinion]

The DOL's Final Regs on MEPs: It's Not the Needed Cure-All

"The DOL ... issued a Request for Information on Open MEPs. One big question: If commercial financial services firms can sponsor an Open MEP, what conflicts of interest arise that could harm retirement savers? Another avenue: Legislation is pending in Congress that could give Open MEPs a boost by creating Pooled Employer Plans or PEPs in one provision in the stalled SECURE Act."

Ashlea Ebeling in Forbes

[Opinion]

Is There a Retirement Crisis?

"[M]ost of the retirement crisis articles are predicated on data showing that many defined contribution account balances are insufficient to support a comfortable retirement, when, in fact, this is just a small piece of the retirement equation. To figure out whether a person will thrive in retirement from a financial perspective, there are many pieces to the puzzle, including: Social Security ... pension income, income generated by defined contribution retirement plan account balances, earned income ... expenses in retirement, degree to which the retiree is insured against financial risks ... longevity, familial situation, and taxes, among others."

Cammack Retirement Group

[Opinion]

Bridging the Gap Between Fiduciary Advice and Annuity Usage

"[H]olistic tools are sorely needed to give fiduciary advisors a bridge between 'investment-oriented' retirement income generation and annuity-oriented approaches to retirement income. The advice industry still treats them as mutually exclusive. Better tools and investment products can help fiduciary advisors easily blend these approaches."

Advisor Perspectives

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

ISS Releases Its 2019 Policy Survey Questionnaire

"The Survey includes questions regarding ...  [1] The ISS quantitative pay-for-performance methodology for evaluating U.S. and Canadian companies; [2] Gender diversity on boards; [3] Director overboarding; [4] Shareholder proposals seeking to separate the Board Chair and CEO roles."

Meridian Compensation Partners, LLC

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Termination of Safe Harbor 401k Plan: How Quickly Can It Be Done in 2019?

An employer recently decided to terminate their calendar year 401k asap and would prefer to have 2019 be the last year that admin is needed. The SH contribution is the 3% nonelective. If I understand, the soonest that the plan can be terminated is no earlier than 30 days after the issuance of a participant notice which says that the plan is terminating and how the employer's obligation to make SH contributions will end on the plan termination date. Correct?

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Amending Plan to Provide Immediate Eligibility for Particular New Employee (Non-HCE)

We have a client that is bringing on board a new physician assistant. Their 401(k) Plan has a one year of service with semi-annual entry dates. They want to amend the Plan to allow this employee to participate immediately. Any thoughts on amending the Plan and under eligibility naming this individual specifically as being a participant in the Plan? I am told this employee will be compensated well below the HCE limit (around $90,000 a year in maximum compensation).

BenefitsLink Message Boards

ACP Testing of a Matching Contribution Under a Safe Harbor Plan

I have a plan that wants to do a fixed match in excess of 6% of pay (dollar for dollar up to 10%) -- generous, I know. There's a 3% SH Nonelective. Oddly enough, I've never had to perform an ACP test on match in a SH plan. I know I can test ALL the match together. But if I just want to test the non-safe harbor piece, what percentages am I using? I'm guessing if someone has a 10% match, do I give them a 4% in the ACP test? Someone deferring only 6% gets a 0?

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

DOL Finalizes MEP Regs
Ferenczy Benefits Law Center

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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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