Retirement Plans Newsletter

January 3, 2020

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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Rev. Rul. 2020-02: Permitted Disparity in Employer-Provided Contributions or Benefits (PDF)

"This revenue ruling provides tables of covered compensation under Section 401(l)(5)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code and the Income Tax Regulations thereunder, for the 2020 plan year."

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Sponsored]

DOL Update on Multiple Employer Retirement Plans

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PLR 202001008: 'Church Plan' Determination for Organization Not Established by a Church or an Association of Churches (PDF)

(An example of factors used by the IRS following the 2017 Supreme Court decision in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton.)  "[A plan sponsor] must establish that its employees are employees or deemed employees of a church or convention or association of churches ... by virtue of the organization's control by or association with the church or convention or association of churches.... Entity A has been certified as a related organization ... by Church, a Denomination A church ... [which thereby] allows it to issue calls for ordained and commissioned ministers on the Church's roster [which it has in fact done], use the Church logo, apply for certain loans, seek grants, and participate in Church's health plan and Church's group purchasing agreement.... Entity A is governed by a Board of Directors; [the Church requires that] at least 40 percent of the Board has to consist of members of Church.... Committee P is the plan administrator of Plan X ... [and] consists of the Treasurer, President and CEO of Entity A, as well as one to three directors appointed by the Chairman of the Board of Entity A. Committee P responds directly to Entity A's Board of Directors during Directors' meetings.... Accordingly, Plan X is maintained by an organization that is controlled by or associated with a church or a convention or association of churches[.]"

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

What Happens to Asset Allocation When Participants Roll 401(k) Plan Assets Into IRAs? (PDF)

"Even though target-date/balanced funds (TDFs) were specifically designed to make the asset allocation process automatic, assets are not being allocated the same way when they are rolled into IRAs.... Of the accounts that started with less than 10 percent of assets allocated to equities, just under half maintained a similar allocation when rolled over to IRAs. Of 401(k) plans with more than 90 percent in equities, only 30 percent still had this allocation when rolled over to IRAs."

Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

Second Circuit Opinion: Withdrawal Liability Must Be Based on Interest Rate in Effect on Measurement Date (PDF)

"[T]he assumptions and methods used to calculate the interest rate assumption for purposes of withdrawal liability [under the MPPAA] must be those in effect as of the Measurement Date.... Were it otherwise, the selection of an interest rate assumption after the Measurement Date would create significant opportunity for manipulation and bias.... Absent any change to the previous plan year's assumption made by the Measurement Date, the interest rate assumption in place from the previous plan year will roll over automatically." [The National Retirement Fund, et al. v. Metz Culinary Management, Inc., No. 17-1211 (2d Cir. Jan. 2, 2020)]

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

2020 Compliance Calendar for Retirement Plans (PDF)

"The deadlines in this calendar are for plans with calendar-year plan years. This chart is intended to provide plan sponsors with a list of notable deadlines[.]"

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Important 401(k) Plan Sponsor Concerns for 2020 (PDF)

"[1] The SECURE Act ... [2] A new fiduciary rule ... [3] Late salary deferral deposits ... [4] Consolidation in the retirement plan business ... [5] Missing former participants ... [6] Plan education."

The Rosenbaum Law Firm, P.C.

No, Safety Officers Don't Die Younger Than All Other Workers

"[T]he longevity for public safety officers is not actually too different from private pension white collar workers or from non-teacher government employees. But that's from age 25, at the start of a career. What about at what is considered normal retirement age for many people -- age 65? ... [S]afety officer life expectancy is not so much lower to support retiring at age 50, fifteen years than most other American get to do."

STUMP

[Opinion]

What Makes Fixing Multiemployer Pension Plans So Hard: The Discount Rate

"Should multiemployer pension plans be required to fund at the conservative level dictated by the use of a corporate bond rate similar to what's been required of single-employer plans since 2006, or is it acceptable to use a funding discount rate determined by the expected return on assets for the plan, similar to the method state and local public pension plans use?  ... [T]here is no single correct answer to this question."

Elizabeth Bauer, Actuary, via Forbes

[Opinion]

The Danger of Focusing on Retirement Plan Participant Outcomes

"The accepted wisdom among the retirement plan adviser intelligentsia is that Triple F advisers, those focused on fees, funds and fiduciary, are passé at best and dangerous at worst. Some elite plan advisers self-righteously proclaim that we must shift the focus to improving participant outcomes. But few have changed their business models to reflect this new focus, and even fewer have put their money where their mouth is."

Fred Barstein via InvestmentNews; subscription may be required

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

McClatchy Freezes Some Pension Benefits as Publisher Seeks Bailout

"McClatchy Co., the third-largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. by circulation, ... halted January payments to a small number of recipients of its nonqualified supplemental executive retirement plan. The move follows McClatchy's November announcement that it was in talks with its creditors and [the PBGC], about a bailout."

The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Not a Controlled Group But Employer Thought It Was -- Multiple Employers in Single 401(k) Plan

"Client has various levels of ownership in a variety of businesses, and was operating a single 401(k) plan for all of the companies under the assumption that it was a controlled group. Well, SURPRISE!! It is not a controlled group. Now what? I understand that we will have to re-run coverage and non-discrimination testing for the years in question. But, any thoughts on how to handle this going forward? Form a multiple employer plan? The companies are all in the same industry."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Benchmarking Legal Service Providers

"Everyone is aware that Plan Sponsors have a fiduciary duty to periodically benchmark service providers, such as recordkeepers and advisors, that are paid from their 401(k) Plan. However, if a large company has outside counsel that they use for all corporate activities, but also pay sporadically from their 401(k) Plan when they perform work that can be paid as a qualified expense, do those services have to be formally benchmarked? I think the selection of the outside counsel would be considered a settlor function since the fiduciaries are not involved in the decision. But because they're sometimes paid from the Plan, does the Committee need to perform some sort of benchmarking on legal services?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Effect of SECURE Act on Owner Who Turns 70-1/2 in 2020, and Effect on Normal Retirement Date

"Have a DB plan and the owner will turn 70-1/2 in 2020. Does that mean the RMD is not due until the calendar year he turns 72 (2021)?

"Another question: Because the SECURE Act lowered the in-service distribution age to 59-1/2 under defined benefit and money purchase plans (target benefit plans too), can we start designing DB plans with normal retirement ages of less than 62?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Paperless Binder Solutions?

"What are people doing for paperless binder solutions (i.e., saving your workpapers). We currently have an Access program but we might outgrow it."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587. Copyright 2020 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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