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Manager, Benefits & Wellness
Barnes Group Inc.
in Bristol CT

Compliance Associate
Guideline, Inc.
in San Mateo CA

Paralegal ERISA - ACA
Western Growers
in Irvine CA

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Webcasts, Conferences

Public Sector Workforce 2030: Planning for the Next Generation of State and Local Government Employees
September 26, 2019 in FL
Center for State and Local Government Excellence

ESOP Overview - An Introduction to ESOPs
November 5, 2019 WEBCAST
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

Current Developments, Legal Updates and Ethics
November 6, 2019 in TX
ASPPA Benefits Council [ABC] of Dallas/Fort Worth

►See 156 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1540 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

RMDs Are Not Just a Participant Headache (PDF)

"What are some of the most common RMD mistakes the employer can make? [1] Failing to keep track of participant data ... [2] Failing to pay out RMDs to 5%-or-more owners who continue to work ... [3] Using the wrong payment dates for RMDs ... [4] Not understanding that an RMD must be calculated for, and paid from, each sponsored qualified plan ... [5] Making mistakes in handling RMDs after the participant's death."

Boutwell Fay LLP


The PPA restatement deadline is fast approaching!

Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer

Now is the time to check out's Defined Benefit Documents cloud-based software! With three plan types and our Batch Restatement Tool you can quickly and easily restate your existing plans to PPA in a few clicks! Why wait? Learn more.

[Guidance Overview]

MEPmentum Continues: DOL Issues Guidance on Association Retirement Plans and Turns to 'Open' MEPs (PDF)

"DOL's Final Rule, like its October 2018 proposed rule, is intended to clarify the requirements for a group or association of employers, or a professional employer organization (PEO), to act as an 'employer' within the meaning of ERISA ... Under the Final Rule, a group or association of employers, or a PEO, will be considered 'bona fide' and therefore eligible to act as an employer that can sponsor a MEP, if specified requirements are satisfied."

Groom Law Group, via Bloomberg Tax

[Guidance Overview]

Multiple Employer Plans: The DOL Opens the Door (A Little) (PDF)

"Under the new regulations, if the group meets certain criteria, it will qualify as a 'bona fide group or association of employees', meeting the statutory definition of employer and thus being eligible to sponsor a MEP. This interpretation represents an extension of the DOL's previous position of what types of employer groups could form a MEP."

Boutwell Fay LLP

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Expands EPCRS for Qualified Plans (PDF)

"[R]ecently the IRS expanded EPCRS, in Rev. Proc. 2019-19 ... [This article] is a summary of the changes to the program,which are effective as of April 19, 2019 ... [1] What changes were made for the correction of plan loans? ... [2] What changes were made for the correction of late amendments? ... [3] What changes were made for correction of operational failure to be corrected by a retroactive plan amendment ... [4] What changes were made to facilitate electronic VCP filings? ... [5] What changes are anticipated next?"

Groom Law Group, via TAXES The Tax Magazine

For 401(k)/403(b) Day, PSCA Provides Retirement Savings Communication Campaign Materials

"The campaign includes five pieces that can be used as posters, flyers, email content, and website content -- each module highlights different retirement savings concepts including enrollment, savings rates, investments, loans and hardship withdrawals, and planning retirement income."

Plan Sponsor Council of America [PSCA]


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.

Reducing Exposure to 401(k) Plan Class Action Litigation

"If the board of directors adopts a 401(k) plan, the plan document does not name the company plan sponsor as a named fiduciary but instead names, for example, a benefits committee (comprising subject matter expert employees), and the board exercises no discretion regarding the membership of the committee, the administration of the plan or its investments, then the board has best positioned itself to argue that it is not a plan fiduciary subject to a claim of a breach of fiduciary duties. Not only that, but it has prudently set into motion the best governance practices for the plan."

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Pitfalls to Avoid When Replacing 401(k) Plan Investments

"[1] Focusing on arbitrary track records ... [2] Ignoring risk for return ... [3] Inaccurately analyzing fees ... [4] Relying too much on a fund's objective."

Morningstar Advisor

Fiduciary Responsibility and Mutual Fund Fees

"While 401(k) fees have decreased in recent years because of litigation and various Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, mutual funds can still charge indirect fees that DOL would deem unreasonable. Unfortunately, fiduciaries with little knowledge regarding fee structures may authorize a plan to charge fees, decreasing participant balances. Providers of 401(k) plans don't have that responsibility, and employers are often left responsible for failing to choose the lowest-priced share class available."

Brian Menickella, co-founder of The Beacon Group of Companies, via Forbes

Lawsuit Accuses H-E-B of Mismanaging Employee Retirement Plan

"Brought by two plan participants and filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Antonio, the lawsuit accuses San Antonio-based H-E-B of not monitoring and controlling plan expenses and allowing it to become one of the most expensive 'jumbo' 401(k) plans in the country. In 2017, the H-E-B Savings & Retirement Plan had about $2.5 billion in assets. More than 67,500 current and former H-E-B employees were part of the plan at that time." [Mongtomery v. H.E. Butt Grocery Co., No. 19-1063 (W.D. Tex. complaint filed Sept. 3, 2019)]

Rivard Report

Seventh Circuit Holds that a Deceleration of Withdrawal Liability is Unavailable Under ERISA's Common Law

"[T]he U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the trustees of a multiemployer pension plan could not agree to an employer's installment payment plan of its withdrawal liability after the trustees had demanded full payment following the employer's default. This 'no good deed goes unpunished' decision will likely make trustees much less likely to agree to subsequent payment plans after finding an employer in default." [Bauwens v. Revcon Technology Group, No. 18-3306 (7th Cir. Aug. 13, 2019)]


Employment Agreement Release Proves Buffer to ESOP Fiduciary Claim

"The language of the release should make it clear that the document includes a release of the right to bring lawsuits for damages, both as an individual and on behalf of another. The release should also clearly state that the released parties include everyone associated with the ESOP plan, including all trustees and fiduciaries. Finally, the release should clearly state that the employee is knowingly and voluntarily signing the release agreement and receiving payment as consideration of their signing." [Innis v. Bankers Trust Co. of South Dakota, No. 16-650, (S.D. Ia. Apr. 30, 2019)]

Hall Benefits Law

Retirement Income Strategies: The Total Return Approach

"The total return from a portfolio includes price growth plus interest and dividend income. Incorporating both yield and price appreciation can help smooth and increase your income stream, despite inevitable fluctuations in the market. A total-return approach to investing and income generation is about using your whole portfolio to generate returns from a range of sources, including interest, dividends and growth."

Charles Schwab

The World's Largest Pension Funds

"The pension world is reeling from plunging yields this year as liabilities have soared and many chronically underfunded pensions are going to face difficult choices if another crisis strikes them.... Defined contribution plans rose by 5.1% in 2018, in contrast to the 0.2 percent decline for defined benefit funds. However, defined benefit assets still made up nearly two-thirds of pension assets managed by the top 300 funds at the end of 2018[.]"

Pension Pulse


K-12 403(b) Isn't Just for Teachers

"By design [the 403(b) plan] is open to virtually all K-12 school employees. This includes bus drivers, custodians, maintenance crew, office personnel and countless others.... Nationally, K-12 teacher participation is only about 2 in 5. The data ... [is] even worse for non teachers.   What makes low non-teacher participation even more troubling is that support personnel aren’t always eligible for pension plans."


Benefits in General

Perfecting Your Benefits Communication Strategy

"[1] Set expectations at all levels of the organization.... [2] Keep it simple.... [3] Be clear and concise.... [4] Communicate regularly.... [5] Be transparent.... [6] One size does not fit all."


Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Safe Harbor Match Owed on Mistakenly Funded Deferrals That Have Been Refunded?

Suppose you have a 401(k) plan with a safe harbor match. The plan had a 6/30/18 plan year end. An HCE made salary deferrals of $18,000 from 7/1/17 through 6/30/18 ($18,500 for 2018). However he mistakenly funded an additional $500 on the next pay period on 7/15/2018 (now $19,000 for 2018). To correct this, the plan refunded the $500 plus earnings to him shortly after the extra $500 was funded. That extra $500 was technically funded during the 7/1/2018 - 6/30/2019 year. He funded no salary deferrals for the year ended 6/30/2019 (other than the mistaken $500). Should he get the match on that $500 even though it was refunded to him?

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

DOL Will Restructure EBSA
National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

How to Use Expanded IRS Self-Correction Program
Retirement Learning Center, LLC, 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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