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Senior Pension Administrator - Combo DB / DC Plans

Primark Benefits
Burlingame CA / Telecommute

Employee Education Consultant (bi-lingual)

Newport Group
Pittsburgh PA / Philadelphia PA

Pension Consultant

Pension Associates Retirement Planning LLC
Stamford CT / Telecommute

Plan Compliance Analyst

VA / Telecommute

Legal Clerk (Pathways Intern)

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]
Washington DC


Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA]
Dallas TX / Telecommute

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Finalizes Hardship Distribution Rules

"[If] a plan sponsor elects to impose (in operation) an additional condition that must be satisfied before a participant can obtain a hardship distribution, and this condition is not required under the final regulations, the plan must be amended to reflect such condition by the last day of the plan year in which the condition is first effective. There are also separate rules for the timing of amendments to pre-approved plans."
Spencer Fane


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.

[Guidance Overview]

Hardship Distributions Made Easier

"[T]he final hardship distribution regulations allow employers to broaden the employee contribution sources (including earnings) available for hardship distributions, and to grant a hardship distribution without first requiring the participant to take a plan loan.... [T]he regulations eliminate the six-month suspension of salary deferral and employee after-tax contributions (employee contributions) following receipt of a hardship distribution."

Plan Sponsors Using PBGC Lump-Sum Assumptions May See Changes

"The agency has issued proposed rules on Benefits Payable in Terminated Single-Employer Plans and Allocation of Assets in Single-Employer Plans, as well as the assumptions PBGC uses to determine de minimis lump sum benefits in PBGC-trusteed terminated single-employer [DB] pension plans.... The agency also warns plans sponsors that once the appendix C rates are no longer identical to the rates used by the PBGC, the plan terms may have an ambiguity that should be resolved."

'Segal Blend' Method Still in Question for Withdrawal Liability (PDF)

"[T]he District Court of New Jersey upheld the use of the Segal Blend in the case of Manhattan Ford Lincoln v. UAW Local 259 Pension Fund. Numerous other cases have subsequently been filed regarding assumptions for withdrawal liability assessments. The difference in opinion of the various courts keeps the door open for future challenges"

Pepsi Avoids Retirees' Claims Challenging Benefit Conversion Factors

"[T]he court ... handed the defendants a victory in granting the defendants' motion to dismiss, holding that ERISA's nonforfeitability requirement applies only to benefits accrued at normal retirement age, and the plaintiffs did not allege they retired at normal retirement age. The decision gives some hope for defendants with pending motions to dismiss, but ... it does not address a number of defendants' arguments in these lawsuits." [DuBuske v. PepsiCo, No. 18-11618 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 24, 2019)]
Groom Law Group

Vanderbilt Settlement Challenged by Plan Participant Who Is a Law Professor

"The challenge to the settlement ... has to do with a release of claims included in the settlement -- a release that [Michael B. Bressman, who is a participant and  law professor] claims would ... 'have the effect of releasing valuable claims against non-parties to the lawsuit -- the third party service providers TIAA-CREF, Fidelity, VALIC and Vanguard ... without consideration being paid by these non-parties.' ... Bressman makes clear in his filing that he does not object to the remaining terms of the settlement -- but asks that the court not approve it 'unless the parties revise the scope of the Release.' "
National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]

Editor's Pick Supreme Court to Hear Three ERISA Cases in Upcoming Term

"[T]he Court will consider whether [1] constitutional or statutory standing requirements prevent a participant in a defined benefit plan from bringing a claim for breach of fiduciary duty where the plan is overfunded; ... [2] constructive knowledge of a breach or other violation of ERISA is sufficient to trigger the statute of limitations applicable to a claim relating to plan investments, and the degree to which whether the specificity of the knowledge is relevant; and ... [3] the applicable standard for pleading a claim of a breach of the duty of prudence where a retirement plan is invested in employer stock."

Sixth Circuit Affirms Denial of Attorneys' Fees to Successful ERISA Plaintiff in QDRO Dispute

"[T]he Court did not find Dr. Saghafi’s legal positions to be frivolous. He believed that the divorce proceedings were a fraud on the court. His contention that the QDROs were void was a reasonable defense to the ERISA action. Even though the Ohio courts already rejected his challenge to the validity of the divorce proceedings, the Court noted that res judicata can always be waived or forfeited." [Simonoff v. Saghafi, No. 19-3001 (6th Cir. Sept. 26, 2019)]
Kantor & Kantor

How the Curse of the Average Leads to Failed Retirement Plans

"Too many plans assume that the average long-term results will be the result in their cases. The problem is that the averages are composed of individual results that differ quite a bit from the average."
Bob Carlson via Forbes

IRA Aggregation Rule: When Many IRAs Become One

"The aggregation rule makes a big difference when it comes to required minimum distributions.... Roth IRAs don't have RMDs and generally aren't aggregated with traditional IRAs.... Nonspouse heirs need to be particularly careful navigating RMDs.... A taxpayer is now allowed only one 60-day rollover every 12 months, no matter how many IRAs she owns.... [T]he aggregation rule does not apply to RMDs from employer retirement accounts."

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Can Previously Nonparticipating Subsidiary Start a New 401(k) Plan Even Though Parent Terminated Its 401(k) Plan Less Than 12 Months Ago?

An employer terminated a plan earlier this year and recently paid everyone out. He wanted to start a new one but he's got to wait at least 12 months. But he also owns two subsidiary companies. If either or both of the subsidiaries were not participating in the original 401k plan, could they start a plan up immediately, even though the owner of the main company and the 2 subsidiaries had sponsored the original plan?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

412(e)(3) Conversion to Cash Balance Plan

Looking for guidance to convert 412(e)(3) plan into cash balance plan. Am a single owner S-corp 44 years with 2 years into 412(e)(3) plan with Whole Life and Annuities. The CB plan option looks more attractive with conservative investment strategies and flexibility compared to 412(e)(3). Goal is to fund the pension plan in 10-12 years instead of stretching for 20 years. Can the 412(e)(3) be converted into cash balance plan instead of being terminated?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

We Use Sharefile. Anything Better?

We use Sharefile. It's OK, but it's too complicated for a lot of our clients. Sharefile is integrated with Outlook so we can easily encrypt our attachments, and our clients can upload files directly to our own personal in-box. But the password thing is clunky, clients always forget their passwords, etc. Anything better out there?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Former Carpenters' Benefit Plan Administrator Indicted On Fraud Charges
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Text of PBGC Proposed Regs: Lump Sum Payment Assumptions
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC], 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.

Links to web sites other than and are offered as a service to our readers; we were not involved in their production and are not responsible for their content.

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