Retirement Plans Newsletter

April 21, 2020

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View Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources

[Guidance Overview]

CARES Act: What Plan Sponsors Should Know (PDF)

14 pages. Topics: [1] What CARES did to help participants ... [2] Practical considerations for participants ... [3] What CARES did to help plan sponsors ... [4] Recommended plan sponsor considerations ... [5] Other coronavirus-related issues.

Ilene Ferenczy, for CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions

[Guidance Overview]

Revisiting Retirement Plan Designs After the Global Pandemic

"Financial stressors will remain with all of us for some time ... [D]iscussions will also renew regarding ways to protect retirement assets against volatility in order to better secure the prospect of a secure retirement with predictable lifetime income.... With the SECURE Act, employers who sponsor defined contribution retirement plans ... now have: [1] new participant disclosure obligations; [2] the ability to adopt certain portability design features related to lifetime income investment options; and [3] guidelines to encourage inclusion of lifetime income investment options in plan investment line-ups."

Westminster Consulting

[Guidance Overview]

The CARES Act: Waiver of Required Minimum Distributions

"Even though the CARES Act provides a waiver of the requirement to make RMDs, it goes on to say that, if a plan makes a distribution that would otherwise have been an RMD, the plan is not obligated to comply with the notice, participant instructions and withholding requirements that apply to non-RMD distributions. However, a participant is able to roll over the distribution so long as he does so within the time period provided for in the Code (normally within 60 days of receipt). The effect of these rules is that the distribution is not treated as an eligible rollover distribution at the plan level, but it is eligible for rollover at the participant level."

FredReish.com

Survey Highlights Recordkeeper and Plan Sponsor Issues in Light of Pandemic

"Over 80% of the record keepers surveyed have already updated their systems and procedures to accommodate the CARES Act.... The volume of distribution requests and questions is up significantly.... 98% of the industry is now working from home. This is up from 20% in January.... [O]ver half of plan sponsors are considering reducing or eliminating employer contributions until the crisis is over. More than 50% of plan sponsors previously considering an RFP process have decided to put that process on hold."

The SPARK Institute

Should We Include Government-Mandated Coronavirus PTO When Calculating Company Contributions?

"One of the most common definitions of plan compensation is gross compensation. Barring any specific exclusions written into the plan document, the paid time off your employees receive via the FFCRA is eligible plan compensation. Similar to other types of PTO, this means participants can defer and receive employer contributions on these dollars."

DWC

Roth In-Plan Conversion: You Should Consider This Feature

"Converting pre-tax 401k balances into after-tax Roth 401k balances results in taxation of the previously untaxed 401k balances. Converting when the account value is lower may result in substantial tax savings.... [N]early 70% of all companies permit Roth 401k contributions, but less than 20% of employees actually contribute to them. More employee education around the benefits of using Roth 401k accounts is needed."

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Retirement Income Adequacy

"The combined impact of all intermediate assumptions (including the investment losses already experienced in the first quarter of 2020) certainly appears to be manageable: The $3.68 trillion aggregate deficit for all U.S. households ages 35-64 as of January 1, 2020, only increased 4.5 percent or $166.21 billion. Even the combination of pessimistic assumptions in this analysis only increased the aggregate retirement deficits by 11.2 percent or $412.77 billion."

Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI]

Retirement Investing Through a Pandemic

"While using some of your current more conservative investments to buy more aggressive investment options may seem like a good idea, timing the market is extremely difficult.... Rather than taking a speculative approach, instead consider reassessing your risk tolerance periodically to determine if your account is allocated appropriately based on your age and the level of risk you are comfortable taking."

Conrad Siegel Actuaries

Here's How a 401(k) Fiduciary Can Dispel the 'This Is Retirement?' Conoravirus Quarantine Fear

"As much as self-quarantine has open the eyes of some as to the possibility of retirement ... it has scared just as many into thinking retirement might not be all it's made out to be ... If you're a fiduciary tasked with the responsibility of shepherding people towards a comfortable retirement, how do you dissuade them of this notion that they're practicing retirement right now? In what ways is the coronavirus quarantine different than retirement?"

Fiduciary News

District Court Grants Summary Judgment for Defendants in Fund Underperformance Case

"The case -- in which plaintiffs challenged the prudence of the selection of a fund in the CenturyLink 401(k) plan's fund menu -- is particularly interesting for the court's (favorable) evaluation of the process the defendant fiduciaries used to select the fund and fund managers targeted by plaintiffs." [Birse v. CenturyLink, Inc., No. 17-2872 (D. Colo. Mar. 5, 2020)]

October Three Consulting

Putnam Settles Self-Dealing ERISA Challenge

"Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Putnam will pay a gross settlement of $12.5 million into a common fund for the benefit of [the] settlement class, which numbers at approximately 6,000."

PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Estranged Couples to Fight Over Virus-Stung Retirement Funds

"QDROs that have stalled anywhere along the way in recent weeks offer no protection ... against the balance-shrinking might of tumultuous stock prices and the $100,000 in emergency withdrawals authorized by the recent stimulus bill."

Bloomberg Law

What Do You Mean by 'Financial Wellness'? (PDF)

"Choosing the right solution or the right combination of solutions is a daunting task.... [This paper seeks] seek to support decision making with respect to: [1] The scope of services to request, and [2] How services are delivered."

Retirement Advisor Council

[Opinion]

Here Come the U.S. Pension Bailouts?

"Using the crisis to ask for a pension bailout is quite disturbing ... It's bad enough private equity funds which Illinois's state and city pensions invest in are asking and getting a bailout ... this request by State Senator Don Harmon takes it to another level. Illinois has mismanaged its public pensions for years and it's beyond outrageous ... that they are using this pandemic as a justification to bail these pensions out."

Pension Pulse

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

Evaluating Performance Goals and Incentive Compensation in Light of COVID-19

"Companies that have not yet established performance goals for their 2020 equity and bonus awards should carefully consider market conditions and shareholder perception before establishing goals, focusing on motivating their executives with pay for performance that aligns with shareholders' interests, while giving the company flexibility to navigate through uncharted territory.... Companies that have already established goals for their 2020 awards ... should proceed with caution before adjusting outstanding awards[.]"

Haynes and Boone, LLP

Press Releases

Leadership Sets the Course for Improving Workplace Well-Being
Health Enhancement Research Organization [HERO]

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Discovery in De Novo Matters: It Is Real and Here to Stay (PDF)
Wilson Elser, via ABA Employee Benefits Law

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Winter Park, Florida 32789
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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

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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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