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November 6, 2019 logo logo
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DOL Argues for Stricter Reading of 'Actual Knowledge' in ERISA Cases

"U.S. attorneys have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that just because a retirement plan participant was delivered or had access to investment disclosures does not mean he had actual knowledge of a breach of fiduciary duty.... The attorneys agree with the 9th Circuit's view that 'the statutory phrase "actual knowledge" means what it says: knowledge that is actual, not merely a possible inference from ambiguous circumstances.' " [Sulyma v. Intel Corp. Investment Policy Comm., No. 17-15864 (9th Cir. Nov. 28, 2018; cert. pet. granted June 10, 2019)]


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Editor's Pick New Exempt Status Salary Threshold Could Impact 401(k) Plan Costs

"If your 401(k) plan employer contribution formula for hourly employees includes overtime pay, your plan costs may increase next year -- along with your overtime pay outlays. That is because the [DOL] issued a final ruling that increases the salary threshold for overtime pay eligibility."

Room for More Innovation in the QDIA Sphere

"This domination of TDFs poses the question of whether participants and plan sponsors can feel confident in other types of funds approved as QDIAs, and whether the retirement industry can innovate TDF properties to deliver customized retirement solutions that participants need.... QDIAs are seeing growth in the market, with several trends sprouting in product innovation."
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Massachusetts Voters Would Support State Retirement Plan

"Almost one in five registered voters said that their employer does not offer a retirement savings plan. Data from this survey found strong support among Massachusetts voters for a state retirement savings program, and most agree that elected officials in the state should support legislation making it easier for workers to save for retirement."

Splitting an IRA with a 72(t) Plan in Divorce Without Penalty

"[T]he IRS has issued several Private Letter Rulings ... [which] have been rather accommodating to both ex-spouses. Transferor ex-spouses have been given the option to decrease future 72(t) distributions proportionally to the amount that was transferred out of the account. Meanwhile, transferee ex-spouses have not been required to continue to take 72(t) distributions, though they have been allowed to choose to do so if desired!"
Nerd's Eye View


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ERIC Comment Letter on Proposed Massachusetts State Retirement Savings Program Bills

"The proposed bills should provide a complete exemption for all employers that offer a retirement plan under ERISA and not base the exemption on the definition of an 'eligible employee' or 'covered employee'. In the alternative to a complete exemption based on sponsoring a retirement plan, the definition of an 'eligible employee' or 'covered employee' should be amended to conform with the employee eligibility requirements under ERISA.... Any program created by the proposed bills should also exempt employers that provide a retirement plan to employees in accordance with ERISA from all reporting requirements."
The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]


Employers and Trade Associations Urge Senate Action on SECURE Act

"Nearly 90 company and trade association CEOs [on Nov. 5] signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urging quick action on the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, HR 1994. The group includes insurers, local chambers of commerce, firefighter organizations, think tanks, church groups and not-for-profit organizations unified in support for comprehensive retirement security legislation."
Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

Benefits in General

How Top Employers Are Upping Their Benefits Package to Attract Talent

"In 2019, employers most often strengthened their total rewards by enhancing compensation (73 percent) and medical benefits (52 percent). But employers also enhanced other offerings, including voluntary and supplemental benefits (40 percent), leave policies (37 percent), well-being initiatives (32 percent), retirement benefits (31 percent), and pharmacy benefits (18 percent)."
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Selected Discussions
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Owner's 401(k) Deferral Deadline

"Small plan -- professional corporation, 2 owners (husband and wife). Everyone is paid via W-2, including owners. They just moved from a SDBA with individual accounts to Nationwide. The owners typically deposit their 401k contribution out of one payroll check (max amount). Their plan year is 10/31. They are still trying to decide whether to defer for PYE 10/31/2019. They insist they have until their tax filing deadline. Since they are not a partnership, and don't receive K-1s, I believe their 401k contribution needs to be deposited by 10/31/19, or a couple of days after. Yes? No?"
BenefitsLink Message Boards

New Hardship Regs -- Impact of In-Service Distributions

"Part of the newly issued hardship regulations in determining whether an amount satisfies an immediate and heavy financial need was to replace the facts and circumstances test with the three requirements here: Amount Necessary to Satisfy Need. A distribution will be considered as necessary to satisfy your immediate and heavy financial need only if you have obtained all distributions, other than hardship distributions, under all plans maintained by the Employer. Does this mean theoretically that a participant who is age 59 1/2 or older and thus eligible for an in-service distribution, must take the in-service distribution and get hit with a 20% withholding prior to taking a hardship distribution?"
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Press Releases

Anna Rappaport Named 2019 EBRI Lillywhite Award Recipient
EBRI [Employee Benefit Research Institute]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue, 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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