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Job Openings

Defined Benefit Retirement Plan Administrator

Pinnacle Plan Design, LLC
Tucson AZ / Telecommute

Consulting Actuary

Pinnacle Plan Design, LLC
Tucson AZ / Telecommute

Relationship Manager

Benefit Plans Plus, LLC [BPP]
Saint Louis MO / Edwardsville IL / Henderson KY

DC Plan Administrator

Long Island TPA Firm

Defined Contribution / 401k Retirement Plan Administrator

Pension Consultants, Inc.
Farmington CT

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Webcasts, Conferences

Regulatory Focus: Impacts to Retirement Plans in 2019
October 17, 2019 WEBCAST
Multnomah Group

Roping In Retirement With Self-Directed IRAs: Fall Conference
October 29, 2019 in TX
Retirement Industry Trust Association [RITA]

Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference
May 3, 2020 in FL
University Conference Services

►See 99 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1562 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Issues Proposed Regs on Guaranteed Benefits, Asset Allocation, and Interest Rate Assumptions

"The proposed regulations ... provide that the PBGC may use either fair market value or, in certain cases, fair value to determine the value of plan assets, for purposes of determining an employer's liability to the PBGC for the unfunded benefits.... [A] second set of proposed regulations would modify the assumptions used in determining whether a benefit is de minimis ($5,000 or less) for purposes of lump sum payments in PBGC-trusteed single-employer plans."
Thomson Reuters Practical Law


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[Guidance Overview]

Final Regs on Hardship Distributions Make Few Changes to Proposed Regs

"The regulations eliminate this facts and circumstances test and replace it with a three-part test ... Plan administrators have been allowed to apply the Three-Part Test since January 1, 2019, but the requirement to obtain a participant's representation of insufficient liquid assets becomes mandatory for hardship distributions made on or after January 1, 2020."
Ice Miller LLP

[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Proposal Would End Publication of Old Lump Sum Rates

"Plans that specifically reference the private-sector rates shouldn't need amending if they want to continue to use those rates.... [S]ome employers may find using the final legacy rates for all future determination dates unpalatable since the immediate rate will be locked in at 1.5% (and the deferred rates at 4%), even if market rates return to higher levels. An employer that wants to avoid this result (for example, by switching to the 417(e) basis) will need to grandfather the legacy rates for accrued benefits to avoid violating the anti-cutback rules. "

The Restatement Requirement for Defined Benefit Plans: FAQs for Employers Adopting a Pre-Approved Plan

"If you're an employer who has adopted a pre-approved defined benefit pension plan, it's time to amend and restate your plan. All defined benefit plans using pre-approved plan documents must restate their plan before April 30, 2020. It's important that you understand why your plan document must be restated. [This article provides] a non-technical explanation in Question and Answer format."
The Retirement Plan Blog

Editor's Pick Participant Data as a Plan Asset: Lessons Learned from Recent Class Action

"[P]lan fiduciaries may want to ... [1] Inquire about participant data needed by the service provider.... [2] Inquire about the service provider's cross-marketing practices.... [3] Limit use of participant data for marketing non-plan products and services.... [4] Monitor the service provider's use of participant data."
Drinker Biddle


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Ninth Circuit Upholds 401(k) Plan's Provision That Compels Arbitration and Prohibits Class or Collective Action

"Notwithstanding Dorman's efforts to seek further review of the Ninth Circuit's decision, the Dorman opinion will likely encourage plan sponsors to consider amending their plans to require arbitration of ERISA statutory claims. Note, however, that Dorman did not involve any claims for benefits, and therefore the Ninth Circuit did not address whether a challenge to a denied benefit claim could be limited to binding arbitration." [Dorman v. The Charles Schwab Corp., No. 18-15281 (9th Cir. Aug. 20, 2019; also unpub. memo. opinion)]
Trucker Huss

Employers: The Retirement Security Challenge -- 19th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey (PDF)

68 presentation slides.  "At a time, when fewer than one in five workers (18 percent) are very confident they will be able to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle and a similar percentage of employers (17 percent) are very confident that their employees will be able to achieve a financially secure retirement, this report highlights opportunities for employers to do even more to help their employees prepare for retirement."
Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

Participation, Contributions Climb in 403(b) Plans

"Top trends: [1] Increased average contributions promoting retirement readiness: Plan sponsor contributions up to 5.5%, from 4.7%; Participants now contribute 6.6% of pay, up from 6.3%. [2] Retirement advisors needed: Nearly half (46.6%) don't currently work with one. [3] Financial wellness programs gaining momentum: A quarter (26.7%) already have a formal plan in place; nearly half (47%) have plans or interest in implementing one."
Principal Financial Group

Shared Payment vs. Separate Interest QDROs

"[A] QDRO offers some flexibility in planning strategies for both the Participant and the Alternate Payee. While the Shared Payment method must be used if the Participant has already begun payments when the QDRO is implemented, either the Shared Payment or Separate Interest strategy can be chosen if the QDRO is implemented before pension benefits begin. These choices allow for more flexible planning for both parties, possibly lowering at least one hurdle for older couples who choose to divorce."
Nerd's Eye View

Overconfidence Versus Extreme Caution: Irrationality in Retirement Planning

"Concerned future retirees sometimes invest conservatively in order to protect their savings, but the over-cautious can miss out on growth opportunities available in a riskier asset mix .... [I]nsufficient retirement education and financial literacy contributes to the confidence-preparedness gap in retirement planning. ... [R]ecordkeepers, plan sponsors and employers must understand the types of cognition that lead to damaging financial behaviors and provide those in need with targeted advice and education. "
Corporate Insight

September 2019 Pension Finance Update

"Both stocks and interest rates moved higher in September, helping plans partially recover from an awful August.... Plan A improved 2% last month but remains down almost 5% for the year, while Plan B gained less than 1% and remains down 1% through the first three quarters of 2019[.]"
October Three Consulting

Funded Status of State and Local Pension Plans in FY 2018 (PDF)

"[F]rom 2017 to 2018, actuarial assets grew by 4.7 percent (from $3.65 trillion to $3.82 trillion), while liabilities grew by 3.8 percent (from $5.05 trillion to $5.25 trillion). The larger percentage change in assets increased the funded ratio slightly from 72 percent to 73 percent."
Center for State & Local Government Excellence


SPARK Comment Letter to IRS on Proposed Regs for Multiple Employer Plan Relief (PDF)

"[SPARK] believes that Treasury and IRS can improve the proposed exception to the unified plan rule by streamlining its conditions, broadening its availability, and providing additional clarity."
The SPARK Institute

Benefits in General

Some Independent Contractors in California Will Become Employees

"The new law will reduce worker misclassification, 'which erodes basic worker protections like the minimum wage, paid sick days and health insurance benefits,' the governor said in his signing message.... The legislation codifies and expands the use of criteria established in the 2018 Dynamex [decision which] created a presumption that a worker who performs services for a hirer is an employee for wage and benefit claims under wage orders issued by the Industrial Commission."

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Mid-Year Amendment to Safe Harbor Plan to Exclude Sole Proprietor from Allocation

Sole proprietor. Plan is a 3% SH plan. HCEs are NOT excluded. It's being proposed that the plan be amended to exclude the sole prop from receiving the SH for 2019, the idea being that, because the sole prop isn't required to receive a SH (if the plan had been set up that way initially), this would be OK. This seems aggressive to me. Anyone have a different view?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Make Further Contributions for More-Than-5%-Owner Despite Being Over 70-1/2?

My understanding is a more than 5% owner of a business who is still actively working has to take a minimum distribution each year. Does it make sense to contribute to their retirement plan? If they have an IRA, can they aggregate the 401k balance and IRA balance, taking the RMD out of their IRA? Thoughts?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Can Plan Loan Be Made to Participant on Active Duty?

If plan allows for loans, can an employee who is on active duty (and has been 3 years) take a loan? Plan does allow for distribution for deemed severance of employment, but client wants to give loan option to employee if allowed.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

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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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