Retirement Plans Newsletter

February 21, 2020

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Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group
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Colorado Springs CO

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Brentwood TN / Telecommute

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Philadelphia PA

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Aspire Financial Services LLC
Philadelphia PA

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Final Regs: Administrative Review of Agency Decisions

23 pages. "This final rule ... clarifies and changes the review process for certain agency determinations and the procedures for requesting administrative review.... This final rule: [1] Subjects all coverage determinations to appeal. [2] Subjects all determinations concerning the allocation of a trusteed plan's assets upon plan termination to appeal, except for determinations concerning the distribution of residual assets, which remain subject to reconsideration. [3] Clarifies that, consistent with PBGC's long-standing practice, when PBGC makes an initial determination effective on the date of issuance, a person aggrieved by the initial determination has no right to request reconsideration or appeal of the determination. [4] Clarifies where to send requests for extensions on appeals and extensions for reconsideration. [5] Clarifies that persons seeking administrative review may request information in PBGC's possession by using PBGC's procedures for requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act."

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

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[Official Guidance]

Text of Puerto Rico Circular Letter CC RI 20-09: Special Disaster Distributions from Qualified Plans Following Recent Earthquakes

"Puerto Rico is in an emergency situation due to the earthquakes that have occurred since January 6, 2020 and that continue to affect the infrastructure of the southern area of ​​Puerto Rico.... [T]he Department issues this Circular Letter with the objective of establishing: [1] the period of time during which Special Disaster Distributions may be made, both from Retirement Plans and IRA Accounts; and [2] the responsibilities imposed on the fiduciaries, administrators and service providers of the Retirement Plans and IRA Accounts regarding the fulfillment of their responsibilities as a retaining agent in these Special Disaster Distributions."

[Editor's note: Link is to Google Translate version of the official Spanish text]

Puerto Rico Departamento de Hacienda

[Official Guidance]

Text of Amendments to Massachusetts Standard of Conduct Applicable to Broker-Dealers and Agents (PDF)

"The adopted amendments to the Regulations will apply a fiduciary conduct standard to broker-dealers and agents when dealing with their customers ... The failure to adhere to the fiduciary standard of utmost care and loyalty will be deemed a dishonest or unethical practice ... In addition, the Final Regulations will revise certain paragraphs in Section 12.204 to make clear that the existing suitability standard still applies to any relationships or transactions expressly excluded from the fiduciary standard."

Massachusetts Securities Division

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Notice 2020-11: Weighted Average Interest Rates, Yield Curves, and Segment Rates for February 2020 (PDF)

"This notice provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the corresponding spot segment rates used under Section 417(e)(3), and the 24-month average segment rates under Section 430(h)(2) ... In addition, this notice provides guidance as to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury securities under Section 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(II) as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008 and the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate under Section 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I)."

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

SECURE Act Surprises for Plan Sponsors and TPAs

"The mandatory [long-term part-time] employees rule will require employers to assess the plan document amendments and the ability of their HR systems to track such hours and employee classifications (including proper accumulation of vesting service, and addressing elapsed time methods).... Because the qualified birth or adoption provision is voluntary, a plan sponsor may likely want to assess the demand or need for such a provision (with accompanying plan amendments and communication). The technical side of implementing this provision could be complex."

Milliman

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Critical Challenges Facing Pension Withdrawal Liability

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[Guidance Overview]

SECURE Act May Pave Way to More Lifetime Income Opportunities in Defined Contribution Plans

"[The DOL] in 2008 [adopted] a regulatory 'safe harbor' at 29 CFR Section 2550.404a-4 to protect fiduciaries selecting guaranteed retirement income contracts.... [S]everal of the conditions of the safe harbor contained somewhat vague standards. Section 204 of the SECURE Act, which creates Section 404(e) of ERISA, provides much more certainty on how the required conditions can be satisfied.... Section 404(e) also provides comfort that a fiduciary does not have an obligation to review the appropriateness of a selection of a guaranteed income contract after the contract has already been purchased -- only at the time of purchase or the time of selection of a contract to provide benefits at a future date."

Morgan Lewis

Court Advances Suit Challenging Delta Air Lines' Offset of Pension Benefits with Workers Compensation Settlements

"Citing a provision of the plan that requires Delta to offset pensions by the amount of other income-replacement benefits, Delta has reduced each plaintiff's monthly pension by an amount calculated in his workers' compensation settlement agreement.... [The judge noted] that the plaintiffs agreed to a single payment, not an income stream that would supplement their pension.... She pointed out that the plaintiffs' entitlement to workers' compensation actually was never determined because the parties settled without stipulating to liability." [Leighton v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., No. 19-1089 (D. Minn. Feb. 8, 2020)]

PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

How Much More Secure Does the SECURE Act Make American Workers?

"This Issue Brief uses EBRI's Retirement Security Projection Model® (RSPM) to simulate the likely impact on retirement income adequacy of three of the [SECURE Act's] most important provisions: .... [1] Overall reductions in retirement savings shortfalls from Open MEPs ... [2] The impact of various adoption rates on overall reduction in retirement deficit ... [3] The impact of auto portability on overall reduction in retirement deficit."

Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

Reasons to Communicate Regularly with Employees About Retirement

"[1] Reiterating the value of your retirement benefits will help people appreciate them.... [2] Your employees' lives are constantly changing.... [3] Repetition builds financial acumen.... [4] People are super busy and super distracted.... [5] Reminding employees why they're saving may help prevent them from cashing out their accounts or withdrawing too early."

PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Building a Successful Investment Committee

"A critical step in meeting your fiduciary responsibility is to start an investment committee or strengthen your current one.... [1] Committee structure ... [2] Identifying roles ... [3] Sample committee agenda ... [4] Investment committee building blocks ... [5] Steps for a successful committee meeting."

Conrad Siegel Actuaries

Interest Rates 2020 -- Signal or Noise?

"With the 2019 rate declines continuing into 2020, notwithstanding a relatively robust economy and neutral-to-ambiguous Fed policy, ... the current decline looks like a signal, not noise. In other words, we may be in a new, lower interest rate 'box.' "

October Three Consulting

State of the Insured Retirement Industry: 2019 Review and 2020 Outlook (PDF)

26 pages. "The annuity industry is poised for significant growth in the coming years. Consumers are concerned about retirement risks and outliving savings, uncertain how to use retirement account balances to create sustainable lifetime income and are worried about potential Social Security insolvency and rising medical costs. These factors are putting insured retirement income squarely on the radar of retirement savers and financial advisors."

Insured Retirement Institute [IRI]

Spotlight on Retirement: Latin America (PDF)

48 pages. "About 64 percent of respondents fear encountering a gap in their retirement funds when they turn age 60. In addition, only about 36 percent of respondents expect to have 80 percent or more of the funds needed to lead a comfortable retirement life ... Thirty-five percent of the respondents stated they are very or extremely interested in buying a tax-deferred annuity."

Society of Actuaries, and LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute

Getting Closer to Retirement: A 6-Step Action Guide to Help You Secure a Future 'Paycheck' (PDF)

12 pages. "[1] Shift investing and withdrawal strategies.... [2] Get trustworthy advice to stay on track.... [3] Plan for Social Security and Medicare.... [4] Understand the pros and cons of annuities.... [5] Get more value from your home equity.... [6] Explore a phased retirement."

Kiplinger's Personal Finance, for Investor Protection Institute

[Opinion]

Editor's Pick Ask the Wizard: Can I Retire?

"[The authors] tested online retirement readiness calculators at Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab, New York Life, Pacific Life and the Alliance for Lifetime Income to look for best practices that might inform the creation of a standard 'lifetime income disclosure' for 401(k) plans."

Retirement Income Journal

Benefits in General

Insurer Must Defend ERISA Claims Despite 'Statutory' Violation Exclusion

"The court determined that the insurer failed to show that an exclusion barring coverage for claims arising out of ERISA and other securities laws violations was broad enough to bar coverage for accompanying common law claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation." [Great American Fidelity Ins. Co. v. Stout Risius Ross, Inc., No. 19-11294 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 14, 2020)]

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Workers Want Help with College Loans, Not 401(k)s

"Two-thirds of workers age 21 to 27 said their companies should help them pay down student loans, while just over a quarter, 27%, said employers should help workers save for retirement ... That sentiment isn't much different across age groups -- nearly 40% of all workers said that employers should help with student loan payments, while just 25% said the same for retirement plan contributions.... [P]eople who have low or no debt agreed with that nearly as much as those with high levels of debt[.]"

InvestmentNews; subscription may be required

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

New SECURE Long-Term/Part-Time Rule: How Does It Apply to Governmental Plans?

"Does section 112 of the SECURE Act (which says 401(k) plans must allow long-term employees working more than 500 hours but less than 1000 hours per year to participate) apply to grandfathered 401(k) plans? I don't think so, but would greatly appreciate additional perspectives."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Davis Bacon/Prevailing Wage Profit Sharing Contributions -- Must Pass General Nondiscrimination Test?

"Employer make prevailing wage profit sharing contribution. That is the only profit sharing contribution. Is it subject to General Testing? If yes, Gateway if using accrual basis? In this plan's case, there is an HCE who receive the PW contribution. Also, how do you determine who is 'eligible' for the prevailing wage?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Upcoming Events About Retirement Plans or Executive Compensation

Feb. 24
Webcast
IRA Institute
Ascensus
Fee is required
Feb. 25
California
Accredited Investment Fiduciary Designation Training
fi360
Fee is required
Feb. 25
Illinois
Accredited Investment Fiduciary Designation Training
fi360
Fee is required
Feb. 25
Pennsylvania
Accredited Investment Fiduciary Designation Training
fi360
Fee is required
Feb. 25
Webcast
A Deep Dive on RMDs
Western Pension & Benefits Council
Fee is required
Feb. 26
Webcast
Groom's IRS Comment Letter Group: SECURE Act Issues Impacting Qualified Plans and IRAs
Groom Law Group
Feb. 26
Webcast
Breaking Down the SECURE Act's Impact on DC Retirement Plans
Multnomah Group
Feb. 26
Webcast
Avoiding Nonqualified Plan Traps: Key Considerations for ERISA Counsel and Employers
Strafford
Fee is required
Feb. 27
Webcast
IRA and 401(k) Retirement Changes: Understanding the SECURE Act and How It Will Affect Your Business
Burnham
Feb. 27
Webcast
The Dirty Dozen: The Most Common Plan Mistakes and How to Fix Them
ERISApedia.com
Feb. 27
Alabama
Regional Benefits Forum
Southeast Benefits Education Network [SBEN]
Fee is required
Feb. 27
Webcast
Retirement Plans Legislative and Regulatory Update
TRI-AD
Feb. 27
Webcast
Multiple Employer Plans Under the SECURE Act
Wagner Law Group P.C.

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

401(k) Plan Changes in SECURE Act May Necessitate System Changes (PDF)
Jackson Walker, via Bloomberg Tax Management Memorandum

BenefitsLink.com, Inc.
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(407) 644-4146

Lois Baker, J.D., President  loisbaker@benefitslink.com
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher  davebaker@benefitslink.com
Holly Horton, Business Manager  hollyhorton@benefitslink.com

Article submission: Online form, or email to news.editor@benefitslink.com

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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