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Pension Plan Administrator
American Pension Advisors, Ltd.
in Indianapolis IN

Retirement Plan Administrator
Nicholas Pension Consultants
in Rancho Cordova CA / Corona CA

Wealth RPS - Participant Education Specialist
Johnson Financial Group
in Milwaukee WI / Madison WI

Employee Benefits Investigator (Recent Graduate)
Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor
in San Francisco CA / Seattle WA / Telecommute

Employee Benefits Investigator
Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor
in San Francisco CA / Seattle WA / Telecommute

Retirement Plan Consultant
The MandMarblestone Group, llc
in Philadelphia PA / Telecommute

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[Guidance Overview]

The SEC's New Standard of Conduct Rules: Application to Retirement Accounts (PDF)

"Given the retail customer and investor definitions, recommendations to the following are out of scope for both the Regulation BI and Form CRS requirements: [1] Institutions, including providers of retirement plans and accounts. [2] Plan sponsors or other plan fiduciaries, at least with respect to plan-level investment matters unrelated to the retirement savings of specific individuals.... Consistent with the [DOL's] longstanding position under [ERISA], the final rules also make it clear that 'investment education' -- as long as it does not become transaction-specific -- is not a recommendation in the scope of Regulation BI."

Eversheds Sutherland


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PBGC Multiemployer Program Continues on a Path Toward Insolvency

"The latest projections report from the [PBGC] covers fiscal year 2018 and has three key takeaways for plan sponsors: [1] The Multiemployer Program has a high probability of insolvency in the coming decade. [2] About 125 plans are presently in critical and declining status. [3] Action by Congress is needed to improve the agency's financial condition."


Looking at User-Friendliness of Recordkeeper Websites

"The ability to manage future investment allocations on websites provided by recordkeepers is very important to retirement plan participants, but a study found participants can be confused by terminology and frustrated by design features."

PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

TDF Choice Draws Fiduciary Breach Suit

"A $10 billion 401(k) plan has been sued for breach of fiduciary duty for selecting - and keeping - an underperforming target-date fund family on its fund menu.... The suit claims that, 'for nearly a decade, these investment options performed worse than 70 to 90 percent of peer funds.' " [Brown-Davis v. Walgreen Co., No. 19-5392 (N.D. Ill. complaint filed Aug. 9, 2019)]

National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]

How Does ERISA Apply to Annuities?

"ERISA applies to a plan that an employer establishes to provide retirement or deferred income to its employees. But there are, of course, some very important exceptions, and sometimes a life insurance company will focus its annuity sales solely on plans exempt from ERISA. But each of the exceptions come with traps that should be kept in mind."

The Knowledge Group

Pension Funding Index, August 2019

"In July, the funded status of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit pension plans decreased by $11 billion ... The funded status deficit swelled to $216 billion from $205 billion at the end of June due to a decrease in the benchmark corporate bond interest rates used to value pension liabilities. As of July 31, the funded ratio fell to 87.9%, down from 88.4% at the end of June."


Congress Weighs Changes to Retiree Savings, Pensions, Social Security

"New proposals aim to fix legacy issues by expanding access to retirement savings, making Social Security solvent and protecting income in multi-employer pensions. Whether the bills get the green light depends on whether they can generate bipartisan support and motivate both sides of Congress to act."


Oregon Government Employees Sue to Stop New Pension Law

"Nine Oregon public employees, including a Salem firefighter, have sued the state, saying their pension benefits are unfairly reduced by a new law. The lawsuit [says that] Senate Bill 1049, which the Oregon Legislature passed and Gov. Kate Brown signed into law this year ... amounts to a breach of contract and illegal taking because it reduces the amount of retirement benefits for the employees."


U.S. Fiduciary Rule Implications of Australian Hayne Commission

"Australia’s experience shows that lifting fiduciary standards actually can result in an increase in the levels of advice delivered to consumers, as eliminating low-quality advisors and reducing the level of conflicted advice leads to an increase in trust that ultimately creates more opportunity for financial advisors to survive and thrive."

Nerd's Eye View

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

ERISA Advisory Council to Meet on August 27-29

"The 197th meeting of the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (also known as the ERISA Advisory Council) will be held on August 27-29, 2019.... The Advisory Council will study the following topics: [1] Beyond Plan Audit Compliance: Improving the Financial Statement Audit Process; and [2] Permissive Transfers of Uncashed Checks from ERISA Plans to State Unclaimed Property Funds."

Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Benefits Fair Best Practices to Boost Employee Engagement

"Benefits fairs are arguably one of the best opportunities to reach employees. The in-person interaction facilitates engagement, establishes credibility and helps showcase the big picture of your benefits program. ...  [1] Solicit feedback ... [2] Build your team ... [3] Get logistics in order and consider timing ... [4] Diversify your vendors ... [5] Incorporate activities like health screenings ... [6] Brand your benefits fair and communicate ... [7] Offer giveaways to draw a crowd."


Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue, Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 644-4146

Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2019, 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, 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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