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Webcasts, Conferences

Innovative Total Compensation Panelist Discussion
March 19, 2020 in GA
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Atlanta Chapter

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program
March 24, 2020 WEBCAST
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

►See 129 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1473 Recorded Webcasts


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[Guidance Overview]

SECURE Act Relaxes Requirements for Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans

"How does the SECURE Act affect the Annual Safe Harbor Notice Requirements? ... How does the SECURE Act affect the timing of adoption of nonelective safe harbor contributions? ... How does the SECURE Act impact QACA automatic contributions? ... When do we need to amend our 401(k) plan?"

Husch Blackwell

[Guidance Overview]

Puerto Rico Treasury Adopts Special Distribution Rules to Help Victims of Recent Earthquakes

"Circular Letter 20-09 [establishes] rules to allow participants affected by the January 7, 2020 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks to request distributions from Puerto Rico qualified retirement plans and Puerto Rico [IRAs] ... Eligible Distributions must be requested by individuals who are bona fide residents of Puerto Rico during 2020, and must be completed during the period commencing on February 20, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2020. Eligible Distributions must cover damages or losses suffered, and extraordinary expenses incurred, by the individual and/or members of his/her immediate family (i.e., spouse, offspring or parents) resulting from the Natural Disaster." [English translation of Circular Letter 20-09]

McConnell Valdes

[Guidance Overview]

Massachusetts Finalizes State Fiduciary Standard

"The MA Fiduciary Rule becomes effective upon publication in the Massachusetts Register on March 6, 2020, although the Division has stated that it does not intend to begin enforcement ... until September 1, 2020.... It is possible, and in fact extremely likely, that the MA Fiduciary Rule will face a significant challenge in the U.S. federal courts on grounds that its adoption is preempted by U.S. Federal Securities law, including NSMIA and Regulation Best Interest."

K&L Gates

Supreme Court's Sulyma Decision May Complicate Plan Administrators' Consideration of the DOL's New Proposed Electronic Safe Harbor Disclosure Rule

"If the DOL adopts the proposed regulation, plan fiduciaries for ERISA pension benefits plans may have to think about a DOL rule that pushes plan sponsors to provide more electronic disclosures, and the Sulyma case which makes clear that just providing such disclosures is not enough for a participant to have 'actual knowledge' of the disclosure's contents. In the past, plan fiduciaries had to worry about participants receiving a paper disclosure in the mail and throwing it away without reading it. Today, plan administrators may need to worry about a participant who receives an e-mail Notice of Availability, but never opens the e-mail or clicks on the enclosed link." [Intel Corp. Investment Policy Comm. v. Sulyma, No. 18-1116 (S. Ct. Feb. 26, 2020)]

Robinson & Cole LLP

Nudge vs. Nature -- A Look at How Auto-Enrollment and Default Options Are Working

"60% of automatic enrollment plans use a default deferral rate of more than 3% -- up from less than 30% of plans 10 years ago. Redesigning plans around the tenets of behavioral finance is largely responsible for those gains. Still, to see further improvement, more plans need to adopt higher default contribution rates and institute automatic annual deferral increases."



SPARK Global Public Policy Forum -- June 23-24, Washington DC

Sponsored by SPARK

The retirement services industry's leading event: comprehensive agenda designed to meet the needs of 401(k) Plan Providers, Financial Advisors and Record Keepers -- focus on global retirement public policy and expansion of pension reform occurring worldwide. Learn more

2020 Guide to Retirement (PDF)

52 presentation slides cover topics and themes for retirement planning, including: [1] Older Americans in the workforce; [2] Managing expectations of ability to work; [3] Retirement savings checkpoints; [4] Income replacement needs in retirement; [5] The 4% rule -- projected outcomes vs. historical experience; [6] Effects of withdrawal rates and portfolio allocations; [7] Structuring a portfolio to match investor goals in retirement; [8] Structuring a portfolio in retirement -- the bucket strategy; [9] Tax implications for retirement savings by account type.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management

2019 Defined Contribution Progress Report (PDF)

14 pages. "68% of plans offer auto-enrollment and 53% offer auto-escalation.... The number of core menu investment options (11) and the provision of target date funds (offered by 96% of plans) have remained relatively stable over the past several years. What has changed is where participants have their assets invested, with 39% of plan assets now invested in target date funds, on average."


How to Delay and/or Avoid Required Minimum Distributions

"[P]articipants planning to work past the age of 72, and looking to delay RMDs on all of their retirement plan accounts, [can] [1] roll over pre-tax IRAs and prior employer retirement plan accounts into the current employer's retirement plan ... [2] roll all Roth assets to a Roth IRA prior to the calendar year in which a participant turns age 72, if they wish to avoid the RMD requirements entirely ... [3] roll over all retirement plan assets to an IRA (or IRAs) prior to the year in which a participant turns age 72, and then contribute the IRA RMD to a charity."

Cammack Retirement Group

Creating a Superior ERISA 3(38) Appointment Framework

"The assertion that an indemnification agreement like that offered by Big Insurance Co. provides more protection than a 3(38) investment manager is nonsensical.... A plan sponsor that creates a retirement plan committee and delegates to it the sole authority to hire and fire 3(38) investment managers has effectively created a legal 'short circuit' that cuts it off from the legal responsibility (and liability) that the sponsor otherwise inherently assumes under ERISA for selecting, monitoring, and replacing a plan's investment options."

W. Scott Simon, in Morningstar

Impact of Historic Interest Rate Decline on Defined Benefit Plans

"Due to the long-term benefit structure of pension plans, their liabilities produce higher duration values than other debt-like commitments, that are particularly sensitive to movement in long-term interest rates.... Additional consequences of low treasury bond rates include growth in the value of lump sum payments and PBGC liabilities.... For companies that are contemplating defined benefit pension plan termination, there will be a significant increase in the cost of annuity purchases from this time last year."


Public Pension Funding Index, 4th Quarter 2019

"[T]he estimated funded status of the 100 largest U.S. public pension plans ... [grew] from 72.7% at the end of September 2019 to 74.9% at the end of December 2019. The deficit dropped to $1.334 trillion at the end of December 2019, down from $1.438 trillion at the end of September 2019. Plans are now at their highest funding levels since ... September 2016, and have rebounded considerably from [the] low point of 67.2% one year ago."


Social Security Dual Entitlement (PDF)

"Beneficiaries entitled to multiple benefits (such as being entitled to both retired-worker and spousal benefits) cannot receive all benefits in full. This can lead to inequities between single-earner and two-earner households. With the increase in two-earner households, some are concerned about the growing prevalence of this inequity." [CRS IF10738, updated Mar. 4, 2020]

Congressional Research Service [CRS]


Editor's Pick Ignoring Social Security Paints False Wealth Inequality Picture

"Adjusting for Social Security wealth not only substantially reduces the level of wealth apparently 'held' by the top 1 percent and top 10 percent, it completely changes the trend since 1989 ... Social Security wealth has increased over three‐​fold between 1989 and 2016, due to expansions of the program, a fall in real interest rates, and population aging ... [In] 2016 Social Security represented 57.7 percent of all wealth held by the bottom 90 percent by net wealth, up from 14.2 percent in 1989."

Cato Institute

Benefits in General

Fiduciary Responsibility Unclear When Handling Participant Data

"Fiduciary responsibility has blurred-lines around the use of participant data. Can your vendors use participant data to sell participants other products and services? ... The new focus on this issue reflects growing worldwide concerns over data privacy, but the jury is still out on whether such cross-selling to plan participants violates ERISA."


Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Plan Participants Suing Over 409A Failures

"The greatest risk from violations of the byzantine rules under Section 409A may not be from the IRS, but from the company's own executives. [Two cases illustrate] the potential risk to employers from an aggrieved employee who become subject to the 20% excise tax under Section 409A due to alleged errors by the employer[.]" [Kroll v. Cozen O'Connor, No. 19-3919 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 26, 2020); Wilson v. Safelite Group, Inc., No. 18-3408 (6th Cir. Jul. 10, 2019)]

Winston & Strawn LLP

Press Releases

DCIIA Announces Retirement Research Center Founding Members
Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association [DCIIA]

Upcoming Events About Retirement Plans or Executive Compensation

Mar. 6
Discussion of Sulyma v. Intel Decision
ERIC [ERISA Industry Committee]
Mar. 10
That 401(k) National Conference
Rosenbaum Law Firm P.C.
Mar. 10
Litigation Lessons and Minimizing Risks
Trucker Huss
Mar. 11
SECURE Act and Other Proposed Changes to RMDs
American Society of Enrolled Actuaries [ASEA]
Mar. 11
Developing Discount Rates in Public Sector Pension Valuation Webinar
Conference of Consulting Actuaries
Mar. 11
Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities: Retirement and Health Plan Sponsors - Day 1
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor
Mar. 11
Monetizing the SECURE Act
Pentegra Retirement Services
Mar. 11
Harnessing Technology to Improve the Benefits Administration Experience
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Houston Chapter
Mar. 12
Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities: Retirement and Health Plan Sponsors - Day 2
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor
Mar. 12
Annual Legal & Regulatory Update
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Northeast Ohio Chapter

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue, Inc.
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Lois Baker, J.D., President
David Rhett Baker, J.D., Editor and Publisher
Holly Horton, Business Manager

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