Retirement Plans Newsletter

October 17, 2019

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Webcasts, Conferences

Using Stay Interviews to Improve Employee Retention
November 13, 2019 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Houston Chapter

Navigating Paid Family and Medical Leave: MA and Beyond
November 14, 2019 WEBCAST
New England Employee Benefits Council [NEEBC]

Cocktails & Conversation - WEB Dallas Young Professionals Happy Hour
November 21, 2019 in TX
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Dallas Chapter

Outsourcing Fiduciary Responsibility - Know Your Options
November 21, 2019 in NY
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - New York Chapter

►See 116 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1564 Recorded Webcasts


Discussions

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New Comments and Topics

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS TE/GE Fiscal Year 2020 Program Letter (PDF)

"TE/GE delivers a compliance platform that is divided into six portfolio programs: Compliance Strategies; Data-Driven Approaches; Referrals, Claims and Other Casework; Compliance Contacts; Determinations; and Voluntary Compliance and Other Technical Programs. Data is used to identify and address existing and emerging high-risk areas of noncompliance and steer the decisions on how best to apply optimal resources."
Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

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[Guidance Overview]

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors, Part 13

"[B]roker-dealers and their advisors must initially consider all of the account types reasonably available for a retail customer and must ... recommend the account type that is in the best interest of the investor. A clear example is the recommendation of a rollover.... [An] advisor (and the broker-dealer) must consider leaving the money in the plan, rolling to an IRA, and other alternatives available to the participant ... [and] make a recommendation that is in the best interest of the participant. [The author expects] that, in due course, the SEC or FINRA will conduct examinations on that issue."
FredReish.com

Legislation Proposes New PBGC Funding Source from QPAM Fees

"[The] proposed Pension Stability Act [S 2598] calls for the [DOL] to create a fee structure for QPAM exemption applications, with a minimum $1 million fee per application that would be multiplied by the number of previous applications. Those new revenues would be sent to the [PBGC] to help reduce a multiemployer pension program deficit that was $54 billion at the end of fiscal year 2018."
Pensions & Investments

Using ESOPs to Help Close the Wealth Inequality Gap

"To understand wealth inequality and the role ESOP companies can play in addressing it, a Kellogg Foundation study sought out ESOP companies and employee owners ... [E]mployee owners interviewed who were 60-64 years of age had 'over 10 times the median savings of employees nationally.' Those savings, and the financial insights gained, are helping close the wealth inequality gap, one employee owner at a time."
The ESOP Association

401(k) Education Needs More Hands-On Learning

"Most employees don't have the advanced skills of financial professionals. This makes them the equivalent of Boy Scouts among their adult leaders. So why not design 401(k) education programs the same way Boy Scout education programs are designed? Here's how to do it[.]"
BenefitsPro; free registration required

[Sponsored]

Pension Meets Profit Sharing: Equity Compensation for Results, Retention, and Retirement

Sponsored by Lorman and BenefitsLink

Oct. 24 webinar. Equity compensation is not just for executives, employees at every level can benefit from an incentive plan that rewards individual performance, business unit performance, and company performance. BenefitsLink discountLearn more


Self-Directed IRA's: The Risk of Investing in Unconventional Assets

"Why would an IRA owner want to invest in real estate and other alternative investments through his IRA? ... All future distributions from the IRA will be taxed as ordinary income, even though they may represent gains from the sale of real estate. Also, there are tax risks ... that make it unattractive, plus additional reporting and costs.... [M]ost of the time, the reason to use the IRA for the investment is that the IRA represents the owner's only source of capital for the investment."
Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group LLP

Annuity Purchase Update: October 2019 Interest Rates

"Although annuity purchase interest rates decreased throughout the year, a jump in rates was observed at the start of the fourth quarter. The activity of plans purchasing annuities remained constant through out 2019 and has dramatically increased in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Insurance company resources are being utilized to capacity so plan sponsors will need to act quickly if there is intent to take action in 2019."
October Three Consulting

Rise in Interest Rates Boosts Corporate Pensions' Funded Status by $38 Billion in September

"In September, the [Pension Funding Index (PFI)] deficit fell to $269 billion ... The monthly discount rate for these pensions climbed 14 basis points, from 2.95% in August to 3.09% for September -- an improvement, but still the second-lowest discount rate recorded in the 19-year history of the Milliman 100 PFI.... September's funded status for the Milliman PFI improved by $38 billion, while the funded ratio for these plans rose slightly, from 83.8% to 85.4%."
Milliman

Small Balance Cash-Outs: The One Provision That Doesn't Make Sense

"While small balance cash-out provisions are a good idea, many plan sponsors sabotage the potential benefits by also including a provision that distributes balances of $1,000 or less to participants via paper checks. Here's why this is a terrible idea: [1] Participants with balances of $1,000 or less are the most likely to be missing ... so a significant number of these checks are returned to the plan. [2] Gen Z people -- the ones who are more likely to be the owners of these small balance accounts -- are less accustomed to receiving paper checks ... [3] With so much junk mail, there is the possibility that a check could simply be discarded[.]"
Cammack Retirement Group

Financial Well-Being and Retirement Readiness in the Higher Education Workforce (PDF)

38 pages. "Retirement plan participation is essentially universal among the sector's full-time workforce and over 90% are retirement savers.... Only 20% of higher education employees have received advice within the past three years about drawing income from savings during retirement, but 77% of those interested in receiving advice are interested in advice on this topic.... 86% of those interested in receiving advice are interested in advice on covering health care expenses in retirement and 81% are interested in advice on covering long-term care expenses."
TIAA Institute

[Opinion]

With Proxy Reforms the SEC Takes a First Step in Improving the Health of U.S. Pension Funds

"Nearly a year after it held a roundtable on the topic, the [SEC] ... issued 'an interpretation that proxy voting advice provided by proxy advisory firms generally constitutes a "solicitation" under the federal proxy rules.'... Public pension funds are already underfunded and underperforming. The SEC is in a unique position to address a serious problem. Now is the time for leading officials to ensure that investments are based, in the SEC's own words, on 'timely, comprehensive, and accurate information,' not on blanket recommendations steeped in ideology."
Institute for Pension Fund Integrity

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of EBSA Meeting Notice for Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans

"[T]he 199th open meeting of the [ERISA Advisory Council] will be held on November 4-5, 2019 ... At the November 5 afternoon session, the Council members will receive an update from leadership of [EBSA] and present their recommendations. The Council recommendations will be on the following issues: [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]

[Guidance Overview]

Two New Executive Orders Promise to Impact Retirement and Health Plan Guidance

"These agency memoranda generally limit sub-regulatory guidance with the force and effect of law and signal that agencies should not bring enforcement actions absent an act violating a regulation that was subject to notice and comment or the text of a statute. The Executive Orders have the potential to materially impact how [EBSA], the Department of the Treasury, the [IRS], and other agencies regulate retirement and health plans."
Groom Law Group

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

2019 Annual Incentive Plan Report (PDF)

21 pages. "The majority of companies (83%) disclose use of a formulaic annual incentive plan design with pre-defined metrics and metric weightings. ... 76% of companies [use] at least two financial measures ... Non-financial measures are used as discrete metrics and/or modifiers by 70% of companies with formulaic plans, but are not as heavily weighted as financial performance measures when used[.]"
FW Cook

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Effect of Qualified 'Governmental Excess Benefit Arrangement' Under Section 457 on Section 401(a)(17) Comp Limit

It appears that a qualified governmental excess plan can provide only benefits in excess of the 415 limits, not benefits that are cut back due to the limitations on compensation in section 401(a)(17). However, a governmental 401(a) plan is not bound by the rules against discriminating in favor of highly compensated employees. Would it therefore be possible to say that for everyone except one individual, the benefit is for example 2% of compensation times years of service, but that for a specified individual, the benefit is for example 4% of compensation times years of service?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

90 Day Return of Deferrals Allowed in QACA Plan?

I know in an EACA, the plan could have a provision that allows the withdrawal of deferrals within 90 of the deferrals starting. Can that provision be used in a QACA plan?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

Taxation of Lloyd's Specialty Life Insurance for Coverage of Key Executives

Client is purchasing life insurance to provide coverage to key executives above what is available in group plan. Client will be owner and pay premiums, but executive will be able to name beneficiary. Can the client impute income to executives based on Table I rates, and then the benefits paid would be received tax free? Or does the full premium amount need to be included as taxable income like a 162 bonus plan? Or will death proceeds be taxable to estate, or as income in respect of a decedent, or taxable to the beneficiary?
BenefitsLink Message Boards

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