Retirement Plans Newsletter

October 14, 2019 logo logo
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Webcasts, Conferences

Labor Relations Certification Program: Bargaining Over Benefits
October 17, 2019 in CA
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

Getting Your Employee Benefits House in Order
November 11, 2019 in OH
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Northeast Ohio Chapter

►See 106 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1568 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

Final Hardship Regs: What You Need to Know

"[1] How did we get here? ... [2] What hardship provisions were modified as part of the Final Regulations? ... [3] Can Plan Sponsors rely upon their adoption of administrative changes implementing the proposed hardship regulations? ... [4] When does the hardship amendment need to be adopted? ... [5] Will document providers be able to sign the amendment on behalf of their employer-clients?"
FIS Relius


Join the Pension Rights Center's Celebration of Superheroes!

Sponsored by Pension Rights Center

Join us to celebrate the 45th anniversary of ERISA, the 43rd anniversary of the Pension Rights Center, and to honor our Retirement Superheroes! Tuesday, Oct. 29, Washington DC. Learn more

Editor's Pick 401(k) Service Provider Contract Considerations (PDF)

"Whether a small plan with only a handful of participants, or a large plan with tens or hundreds of thousands of participants, every 401(k) plan needs to have certain services performed for it. A plan ... is in large part implemented by service providers, who operate pursuant to various agreements. In this Q&A, [the authors] will identify several important types of service providers and what to watch out for in their contracts."
Greensfelder, via 401(k) Advisor

2019 Governmental Guidance Impacting Retirement Plans

"This article provides a high-level overview of some of the [recent] guidance ... [1] Expansion of the use of self-correction for loan failures; [2] Limited expansion of IRS Determination Letter Program; [3] Final regulations issued on hardship distributions; [4] Guidance on Remedial Amendment Periods for Code Section 403(b) plans; [5] Flexibility created under DOL final regulations on association retirement plans (a/k/a Multiple Employer Retirement Plans, or 'MEPs'); [6] DOL MEP transition relief for Form 5500 reporting."

Section 403(b) and 457 Retirement Plans Are the Subject of New Government Agency Investigations (PDF)

"The SEC is seeking details on how the plan administrators ... choose investment options and police themselves when conflicts of interest arise.... The investigation is currently non-public, and it is unclear how many Section 403(b) or 457 plan administrators have received the SEC investigation notices."
Jenner & Block

Does the SEC Expect Investment Advisers to Make a Sweeping Compliance Upgrade?

"[T]he Interpretation includes discussion of institutional clients, stating that the level of fiduciary duty for an institutional or more sophisticated investor may be different than that for an individual investor. Though REG BI may not apply to internal Pension Fiduciaries, it will apply to [investment advisers] handling 401(k) rollovers, not just with respect to investment advice, but also with respect to the advice to roll over the 401(k)."
Cohen & Buckmann, P.C.


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. Learn more

Shifts for the DC Organization of Tomorrow: Insights from a Global Best Practices Peer Study (PDF)

38 pages. "Pension adequacy is a significant failure of the system ... There is weak commitment and low resilience from plan sponsors ... Post-retirement income arrangements are primitive ... There are wider issues to address around engagement and sustainability ... Regulation can play a more positive role."
Willis Towers Watson

Defined Benefit Pension Primer: Public, Private Single Employer, Multiemployer, and Church Plans

"[Different types of] pension plans, differing by sponsors, have different levels of oversight and guarantees. But all defined benefit pensions in the U.S. share similar problems: [1] An extremely low interest rate environment, that has persisted for over a decade; [2] Pensioners live longer than ever, and their longevity continues to increase; ... [3] [B]enefits generally cannot be adjusted downward automatically to improve sustainability ... [4] Funding approaches often assume that the base for future contributions is only growing[.]"

How to Survive Retirement with Your Spouse

"Absent a reason to start their day, many recent retirees say they feel adrift and experience feelings of sadness, which can contribute to other health conditions, such as fatigue, insomnia, weight fluctuations, and lower sex drive.... That's hard on them, but also challenging for their spouse."

Benefits in General

Student Loan and Retirement Plan Guidance on IRS Priority List

"Employers have individually requested IRS approval of benefit arrangements that link student loan repayment and retirement plans. There have been calls for the IRS to issue guidance that other employers could avail themselves of without seeking IRS guidance or approval individually."

DOL Shake-Up Touted as a Plus for Industry

"A new labor secretary and a reorganization within the Employee Benefits Security Administration could lead to increased guidance and a more uniform enforcement policy... Preston Rutledge, the assistant secretary of labor who leads EBSA, told staff in an August email that the agency was expanding to three deputy assistant secretaries who report directly to him instead of the two in place previously. Oversight responsibilities among the deputy assistant secretaries are now allocated differently. Traditionally, the two EBSA assistant secretaries were split between a political appointee and a member of the career staff."
Pensions & Investments

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Employee Was Rehired Into New DB Plan Late in Year

DB plan established in 2017. Employee worked for employer 2007-2015. Employee rehired 9/1/18. Therefore, enters plan 9/1/18. Since employee won't have 1000 hours in 2018, is that employee treated as benefiting under the plan? If not, then is an 11(g) amendment required to bring in employee to meet 410(b) ([currently, 4 HCE-1 excluded, and two NHCE-counting the rehire)?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Plan Amended During Plan Year to Stop Safe Harbor Match -- How Does That Affect Top Heavy?

A retirement plan was operating as a safe harbor plan -- until they amended their plan as October 21, 2018 to no longer make the safe harbor match. Do they have to be tested for non-discrimination -- as in the ADP/ACP test for 2018? I think so, but just want confirmation. Also, when the top-heavy test is run, it shows that 74% of the account balances belong to the key employees at 12/31/2018. Do they have to make a top contribution for 2018 or 2019 because they were a safe harbor plan as of 12/31/2017?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

How Often to Notify Participants About Option to Self-Direct via a Brokerage Account?

How often should participants in a non-safe harbor 401(k) plan be informed that they have the option of investing in a brokerage account? In my situation, participants are either in the Pooled account, or can pull out vested balances to put into brokerage account. They receive annual statements of their balances and vested amount. Information about the investment options is provided in the SPD.
BenefitsLink Message Boards

409A/457(f) -- Voluntary Termination After Change in Control

In what would otherwise be a clear short-term deferral plan under 409A and 457(f), is there any exception from 409A and 457(f) with a vesting/payment trigger based on a voluntary termination (for any reason, not just good reason) at any time within one year following a change in control?
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Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

PBGC Announces Premium Rates for Plan Years Beginning in 2020
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.

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