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[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick 2020 Compliance Checklist for Plans That Are Subject to ERISA (PDF)

44 pages. "The Compliance Checklist incorporates defined benefit (DB), defined contribution (DC) and ERISA 403(b) requirements and provides information on the materials that you will need to file, filing due dates and agencies to which the filings should be made."


[Guidance Overview]

Editor's Pick 2020 Compliance Checklist for Plans That Are Not Subject to ERISA (PDF)

20 pages. "The Compliance Checklist incorporates requirements for governmental and nonelecting church plans, non-ERISA 403(b) plans, 457 plans and nonqualified executive benefit plans, and provides information on the materials that you will need to file, filing due dates and agencies to which the filings should be made."


[Guidance Overview]

One-Time Irrevocable Elections and 401(a) Opt-In Plans for Governmental Sponsors

"Most governmental employers cannot have a 401(k) plan. If a governmental employer continues to maintain a 401(a) opt-in plan in contravention of the 401(k) rules, the plan could be entirely disqualified by the IRS, with employees losing most -- if not all -- of their tax benefits."

Best Best & Krieger LLP

[Guidance Overview]

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors, Part 27

"This article discusses the SEC guidance on how to satisfy the Care Obligation for considering which account types are in the best interest of investors.... This is very much a principles-based approach, as opposed to a rules-based method. As a result, compliance will be evaluated on the basis of the process used to reach a recommendation."

403(b) Plan Remedial Amendment Period Ends March 31, 2020

"By adopting a 403(b) pre-approved plan or the appropriate plan amendments by the March 31, 2020 deadline, a plan sponsor is able to correct written plan document defects that have occurred since January 1, 2010.... If a 403(b) plan sponsor did not originally adopt a 403(b) compliant written plan document before December 31, 2009, the IRS offers its Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) to address the correction."

Michael Best


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

Senators Introduce Lump-Sum Transparency Bill

"[T]he Information Needed for Financial Options Risk Mitigation (INFORM) Act ... would require: [1] Plan sponsors offering buyouts to provide participants and beneficiaries a paper notice 90 days before the period in which they must make an election; [2] comparison of benefits, explanation of how the lump sum was calculated, ramifications of accepting a lump sum such as the loss of certain federal protections, details about the election period, and where to follow up with questions to be included in the notice; and [3] Disclosure on these practices to the [DOL]." [Also available: Fact Sheet]

Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, U.S. Senate

401(k) Plan Sponsor Fiduciary Duty in Light of Coronavirus Fear

"Now is the time for 401k plan sponsors to seize their fiduciary mantle and provide the guidance and tools plan participants need to dodge emotional decisions that could ruin their chance for a comfortable retirement."

Fiduciary News

Is Your Restaurant Required to Participate in the Illinois SECURE Choice Savings Program?

"Employers are required to participate in the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program if their business: [1] Has at least 25 employees; [2] Has been operating in Illinois for two years or more; and [3] Does not offer a qualified retirement plan ...The number of employees is not based on payroll. Thus, if an employer reported fewer than 25 employees in at least one quarter in the previous calendar year, the business is exempt from the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program."


How the New SECURE Rule Eliminating the Age Restriction on Traditional IRAs Works

"IRA owners who reached age 70-1/2 in 2019 cannot take advantage of the new ruling delaying RMDs until age 72.... However, ... they can still take advantage of the new rule eliminating the age restriction for traditional IRAs. This will create a situation similar to what has always been the case for SEP and SIMPLE IRAs. Contributions may be coming in for those who are eligible as RMDs are being paid out."

Slott Report

What is the Cost of Real Dollar Lifetime Retirement Income?

"[T]he cost of providing lifetime real dollar retirement income provides a good low-risk benchmark for valuing lifetime spending liabilities for the purpose of developing an annual spending budget. Instead of being able to access that cost directly in the commercial insurance markets, we and others will need to estimate that cost through fixed life annuity pricing, pricing of Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPs) and other sources.... [It] is not critical to the budget setting process that the cost and assumptions be 100% accurate."

Ken Steiner, FSA Retired


Aon Buys Willis Towers Watson: Another Waypoint in the Demise of Employer Pensions

"[T]he reporting on this merger doesn't even mention these firms' actuarial practices as a relevant part of their businesses, nor does the company's presentation on the merger mention the relevance of its actuarial practice except as a part of general expertise in retirement.... [It's] just another sign of the times: employer-sponsored pensions are so much on the decline that they're virtually irrelevant, as far as the business of actuarial valuations is concerned."

Elizabeth Bauer, in Forbes

Benefits in General

COVID-19 and its Implications for Pension and OPEB Accounting

"If rates do not rebound before the end of the fiscal year, the rate decrease could increase governments' OPEB liabilities substantially when they prepare their June 30, 2020 financial statements. The increase could be by as much as 30% or more for less mature governments who provide Medicare supplemental benefits. The increases will be smaller for fixed dollar benefit plans or for plans with no benefit after Medicare eligibility."


Employee Benefit Plan-Related Tips for Employers in a Time of Coronavirus

"[This 10-point list of] representative benefit plan topics can serve as a quick reminder to employer plan sponsors that ensuring uninterrupted benefit plan operation and coverage should remain a priority ... [1] Consistency of coronavirus policies with existing benefit plan terms ... [2] Design decisions and advance participant messaging ... [3] Operational continuity ... [4] Contract term review and advance communications ... [and more]."


Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

What Is Data That's 'Testing Quality'?

"Am I making this up is this a technical term? I though if you were IBM with 10,000 people, if you excluded 2 people out of your test you were still OK because there was a recognition that you were never going to have perfect data, and essentially 'close enough' was OK. I don't think I made the term up. Anyone have a definition?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

ERISA Bond Required If Only Participants Are the Owner and His Mom?

"We have a client with two plans -- DB and 401(k). Only two participants -- the owner and his mother. The client has asked if he must have a bond. Because technically it's an ERISA plan, a bond seems to be required, and yet's this plan covers only the owner and his mother."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Distributions Required after Plan Sponsor Is Sold in an Asset Sale?

"Dental Practice is sold (asset sale). All employees stay at their positions. New owners take over the plan to keep the status quo. Hence the employees can continue to defer and receive the SH match. The new owners have adopted a new plan, which is a mirror of the existing plan. They want to merge the old plan with the new plan. Are we required to give the participants the option to take a distribution?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Upcoming Events About Retirement Plans or Executive Compensation

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
Mar. 15
Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference
University Conference Services
Mar. 16
IRA Seminar
Mar. 16
ERISA Plan Investments in the Financial Markets 2020: The Fundamentals
Practising Law Institute
Mar. 17
Impact of the SECURE Act on Retirement Income Adequacy
EBRI [Employee Benefit Research Institute]
Mar. 17
Getting It Right - Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities: Retirement and Health Plan Sponsors - Day 3
Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor
Mar. 17
ERISA Litigation Recent Hot Issues
Western Pension & Benefits Council

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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