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March 6, 2020 logo logo
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CA / Telecommute

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Webcasts, Conferences

Proving Prudence & Participant Loyalty: A Plan Committee Defends Itself
March 12, 2020 WEBCAST

The Importance of Prudently Monitoring Target Date Funds
March 19, 2020 WEBCAST
Multnomah Group

The SECURE Act: Key Issues for Benefits Lawyers and Their Clients
April 1, 2020 WEBCAST
American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education Group [ALI CLE]

The SECURE Act: What Plan Sponsors and Vendors Need Know
April 2, 2020 in MD
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - Baltimore Chapter

Update on MA Paid Family and Medical Leave
April 16, 2020 in MA
New England Employee Benefits Council [NEEBC]

►See 135 Upcoming Webcasts and Conferences

►See 1469 Recorded Webcasts


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[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 590-B: Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), for Use in Preparing 2019 Returns (PDF)

"What's New for 2019: [1] Automatic 60 -day extension.... [2] Disaster tax relief ... What's New for 2020: [1] Required minimum distributions (RMDs).... [2] Modification of required distribution rules for designated beneficiaries."

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]


New Edition! Order Your Copies of Ready or Not Today!

Sponsored by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP]

The new edition of Ready or Not: Your Retirement Planning Guide is here! This essential guide is the best way to help your plan participants prepare for what can be the best time in their lives. Order enough copies for your participants today! Learn more

[Official Guidance]

Text of IRS Publication 590-A: Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), for Use in Preparing 2019 Returns (PDF)

"What's New for 2019: [1] Modified AGI limit for traditional IRA contributions.... [2] Modified AGI limit for Roth IRA contributions.... [3] Difficulty of care payments.... [4] Repeal of alimony payments as inclusion in compensation.... What's New for 2020: [1] Modified AGI limit for traditional IRA contributions increased.... [2] Modified AGI limit for Roth IRA contributions increased.... [3] Certain taxable non-tuition fellowship and stipends.... [4] Maximum age for making traditional IRA contributions repealed.... [5] Required minimum distributions (RMDs)."

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Puerto Rico Treasury Department Issues Post-Earthquake Rules for Qualified Retirement Plan and IRA Distributions and Loans

"The provisions applicable to qualified retirement plans are optional. Therefore, employers maintaining qualified plans may choose to, but are not required to, adopt part or all provisions of [Circular Letter 20-09]. Plan sponsors may, for example, choose to amend their retirement plan to allow Eligible Distributions in accordance with [that Circular Letter], but can establish limits to such distributions to a maximum amount less than $100,000, or can require that distributions be related to certain events in particular.... Qualified retirement plans that adopt the provisions of CC RI 20-09 must amend their plans accordingly no later than December 31, 2020. " [Also available: unofficial English translation of Circular Letter 20-09]


The Latest Decisions in Actuarial Equivalent Lawsuits

"In the past year, approximately 10 large employers and fiduciaries of their pension plans have been sued over the actuarial assumptions used by their pension plans. The lawsuits generally allege that the plans violate [ERISA] by calculating certain pension benefits using mortality tables dating from 1951 to 1984. In the suits, the plaintiffs allege that the use of these tables is unreasonable, violates ERISA's requirement that benefit alternatives to single-life annuities be actuarially equivalent and leads to impermissibly diminished retirement benefits. Two recent U.S. District Court decisions -- both of which assumed that the actuarial factors used to calculate actuarial equivalence be considered 'reasonable' -- highlight the conflicts that pension plans face regarding ERISA's requirement of actuarial equivalence."

Holland & Knight

New DOL Process Agreement Adds Provisions on ESOP Indemnification and Control

"A new process agreement between the [DOL] and Farmers National Bank (FNB) ... lays out a much more detailed process for evaluating whether an ESOP actually has and can pay for control. It also prevents FNB from accepting indemnification and sets new hurdles for the advancement of fees in legal cases.... Process agreements apply only to the parties involved, but they may indicate how the DOL would proceed in other actions. While much of the agreement reiterates prior agreements, this new one lays out some potentially troubling issues." [Scalia v. The Farmers National Bank of Danville, No. 20-674 (S.D. Ind. Feb. 28, 2020)]

National Center for Employee Ownership [NCEO]

Safeway, Giant Agree to Guarantee Pension Payments for Union Members

"Union officials said that the more contentious Safeway agreement, ratified by local members hours before a planned strike, was one of very few agreements guaranteeing pensions.... Both contracts call for nearly $75 million in additional pension contributions over the four-year period to shore up the local FELRA/UFCW pension fund, which had $352 million in assets and $1.7 billion in liabilities and was 20.8% funded as of January 1, 2018."

Pensions & Investments

Editor's Pick A Guide for Widows: Five Steps for Navigating the Financial Challenges (PDF)

24 pages. "The first step in making a workable financial plan for the long term is to identify all sources of income -- both your own and those from your spouse, such as Social Security benefits, Veterans Benefits employer pensions and savings plans, earnings and income from work, home equity, and life insurance. Additionally, determine whether each source of income is a regular payment (like a Social Security benefit) or is a lump-sum (like a single payout from life insurance), and whether or not the regular payment is indexed to inflation and will increase over time."

Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement [WISER]

Editor's Pick Divorce and Retirement: How to Take Control of Retirement Benefits (PDF)

24 pages. "One practical issue that women often fail to make a priority is getting a fair share of retirement assets. Retirement funds may be among the biggest assets you have as a couple. It's important to know that these funds are not automatically split in a divorce.... Don't gloss over this issue -- it could mean the difference between comfort and teetering on the edge once you reach retirement age."

Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement [WISER]


Multiemployer Pensions: Prior Bailout Plan's Shortcomings and State of Play

"The main problem is that Butch Lewis is a [partial] bailout, only temporarily fixing holes, pretending that it's not a bailout at all (because they're 'loaning' the money…which has no way of being clawed back when it all goes out into benefits), and would require additional bailouts years down the road. Which are not being guaranteed right now.... The biggest problem for [multiemployer plans]: shrinking private union rolls."



DCALTA Letter to EBSA on Fiduciary Considerations for DC Plan Investments in Private Equity (PDF)

"In determining whether to include an investment option containing alternative investments like private equity, plan fiduciaries are required to engage in the same due diligence process and undertake the same type of analysis that they would in making any other investment decision.... When evaluating more complex products, we would expect plan fiduciaries to focus on  ... [1] Liquidity ... [2] Time horizon / J-curve ... [3] Valuation ... [4] Fees ... [5] Private equity management ... [6] Legal structure of private equity component."

Defined Contribution Alternatives Association [DCALTA]

Benefits in General

IRS 2019-2020 Priority Guidance Plan, Second Quarter Update (PDF)

31 pages, updated Mar. 6, 2020. Employee benefits items begin on page 13.

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Have Stock Compensation? Avoid Costly Tax-Return Mistakes by Understanding Changes in IRS Forms and Reporting

"IRS tax forms and reporting have changed yet again for the 2020 tax season (for 2019 tax returns), adding yet more confusion to an already complicated process.... The IRS Form 1040 tax return, condensed in 2018, has been revised again for the 2019 tax year.... Form 1099-B is essential for completing IRS Form 8949 and Schedule D.... However, the cost-basis information in Box 1e of Form 1099-B may be too low, or the box may be blank. This is because the rules for cost-basis reporting are somewhat counterintuitive. Also, no basis is reported for restricted stock or restricted stock units."

CEO Pay Ratio Tracker Update

"[This] CEO Pay Ratio Tracker Update highlights the reported CEO to median employee pay ratios of 2020, for Starbucks and Natural Fuel Gas Company.... Starbucks' reported CEO pay ratio increased by 60% from 1,049 in 2019 to 1,675 in 2020.... Driving the increase in the ratio is a 10% drop in median employee pay and a corresponding 44% increase in executive pay year over year.... National Fuel Gas saw a 51% decrease in its year over year CEO pay ratio.... [T]he CEO pay figure used in the ratio in 2020 was $4.0MM as compared to last year's $8.1MM."

Farient Advisors

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

Back Wages / Post-Severance Compensation for Section 415 Purposes

"Participant terminated in 2018. Settlement for back wages was reached recently. Is it eligible compensation? It's well outside the 415 post-severance compensation window but the interesting twist here (of course) is that theoretically these wages should have been paid in 2018, which presumably the employer admits by having agreed to a back wage settlement in the first place."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Adding a New EACA Feature Midway During a Plan Year

"An ongoing 401k plan is changing investment vendors. A question has arisen as to whether they can add auto-enroll EACA provisions at this time. I think the EACA provisions must be first day of the plan year start only (i.e., as of January 1 for this plan) and cannot be implemented other times during the plan year. Am I correct?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Upcoming Events About Retirement Plans or Executive Compensation

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
Proving Prudence & Participant Loyalty: A Plan Committee Defends Itself
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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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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