Retirement Plans Newsletter

April 27, 2020

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Newly Posted
Webcasts, Conferences

ERISA Plan Expense Rules: What Expenses Can a Plan Pay?
April 28, 2020 WEBCAST
Groom Law Group

Working Remotely: Telehealth for Your Employee Benefits Governance
April 30, 2020 WEBCAST
Dentons

Managing through the Crisis: The State of QDIAs
May 1, 2020 WEBCAST
Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association [DCIIA]

Impact of the Economic Downturn on Defined Contribution Plans
May 4, 2020 WEBCAST
Wagner Law Group P.C.

CARES Act Changes to Employee Benefits, Paid Leave & Executive Compensation
May 21, 2020 WEBCAST
Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB] - New York Chapter

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Discussions

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View Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Resources

Retirement Plans: Cost-Saving Measures and Increasing Employee Monetary Access During COVID-19

"Potential Cost-Saving Measures: ... Prospective suspension of employer matching contributions ... Reduction of discretionary employer contributions ... Soft freeze of [DB] plan ... Hard freeze of [DB] plan ... Nonqualified deferred compensation plans ... Increasing Employee Access to Retirement Assets: ... Implementing temporary COVID legislation ... Adding or reducing the in-service [DB plan withdrawal] age to 59.5 ... Unforeseeable emergency distributions [from nonqualified deferred compensation plans]."

Akerman

[Sponsored]

Continuously Updated ASC Responses to Your COVID-19 Questions

Sponsored by ASC

How does the CARES Act affect retirement plans? Is the IRS extending 403(b) & DB plan restatement deadlines? ASC answers all of your questions and concerns. View the COVID-19 Plan Document & Administration FAQs Here. Learn more


Editor's Pick COVID-19 Withdrawals: Why Plans Shouldn't Allow Them

"These CARES Act withdrawal provisions were enacted with good intentions. However, taking advantage of them will generally not be in most participants' best interest.... [1] Savings are likely permanently removed ... [2] The impact of withdrawals likely is devastating ... [3] Bankruptcy protections should be considered ... [4] Shares are likely to be sold at a loss ... [5] Enhanced unemployment compensation is available ... [6] This is a temporary situation ... [7] You can always change your mind."

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants

Coronavirus Crisis Cuts Average 401(k) Balance as Pandemic Pummels Retirement Savings

"The average [401(k)] account balance dropped 19% in the first quarter to $91,400 -- down from a record $112,300 at the tail end of 2019. Separately, the average [IRA] balance dropped 14% to $98,900.... [T]he U.S. in March was only at the very beginning of the pandemic's economic crisis, and experts widely predict savings -- and retirement savings accounts -- will plunge as millions of Americans find themselves newly unemployed or subject to a pay cut and in need of financial resources."

U.S. News & World Report

Outline of the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Retirement Plans, Part 1: Defined Contribution Plans, Including 403(b) Plans (PDF)

"The current volatility in the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic has created various issues for retirement plans that need to be addressed in an expedited and efficient manner. The impacts on defined contribution plans, including 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, money purchase plans and 403(b) plans, can be categorized into three broad areas: day-to-day plan operations, plan administration and fiduciary matters. Each of these categories has a range of considerations[.]"

The Wagner Law Group

Big Jump Expected in Pension Funding Obligations

"Funding obligations for U.S. corporate defined benefit plans are likely to increase by more than 98% in 2021 compared with 2020 ... The study said if the original version of the [CARES] Act introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives had been passed, the 703 companies would have saved more than $12 billion in 2021.... The version of the CARES Act signed by President Donald Trump on March 27 included only a contribution holiday for corporations, allowing them to defer their minimum required contributions for 2020 until next year."

Pensions & Investments

Outline of the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Retirement Plans, Part 2: Single Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans (PDF)

"The current volatility in the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic has created various issues for retirement plans that need to be addressed in an expedited and efficient manner. The impacts on single employer defined benefit pension plans can be categorized into three broad areas: day-to-day plan operations, plan administration and fiduciary matters. Each of these categories has a range of considerations[.]"

The Wagner Law Group

ERISA Settlements: The Non-Monetary Concessions Continue to Mount

"In recent months ERISA class action settlements were announced involving MIT and Duke University... [who] agreed to pay $18.1 million and $10.65 million, respectively, to settle those cases.... But that's just the tip of the iceberg. As with Johns Hopkins and others, MIT and Duke also agreed to 'substantial non-monetary terms,' which the parties claimed materially added to the total value of their settlements."

Thompson Hine, via Lexology; free registration required

Editor's Pick Auto-Feature Implementation Continues to Rise as Plans Recognize the Advantages (PDF)

"Auto enrollment saw growth in adoption, to 69% in 2019, up from 60% in 2016.... 69% of plans offer auto escalation, up from 50% from our prior survey.... More than eight in ten plan sponsors have set a default deferral rate increase of 1%.... [P]eriodic sweeps are only used by about 20% of plan sponsors, indicating it is viewed as a tactical remedy rather than as a strategic tool."

Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association [DCIIA]

House Bill Would Triple Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2020

"Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has introduced the Securing Additional Value for Every Retirement Saver (SAVERS) Act [HR 6562] ... [which] would raise [certain] annual contribution limitations to 300 percent of previously-announced limits for 2020 (not to exceed applicable compensation)."

Ascensus

Benefits in General

Sixth Circuit Offers Fresh Look at ERISA Exhaustion of Remedies Requirement

"A [recent] concurring opinion ... by U.S. Circuit Judge Amul Thapar of the Sixth Circuit raises provocative questions about the administrative exhaustion doctrine in ERISA cases and suggests that other aspects of ERISA litigation are also ripe for reexamination.... [N]either ERISA Section 503 ... [nor] any other statutory provision in ERISA mandates administrative exhaustion. Nonetheless such a requirement has been created and uniformly enforced by all federal courts." [Wallace v. Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., No. 18-2316 (6th Cir. Mar. 31, 2020)]

DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C.

Executive Compensation
and Nonqualified Plans

A Potential Alternative to Repricing Underwater Stock Options?

"[E]arlier this month the SEC essentially gave fast-track approval of the New York Stock Exchange's request to provide temporary waivers of the shareholder approval requirements applicable to certain kinds of equity issuances under the NYSE's Listed Company Manual. Although focused on capital raising, this waiver could provide an alternative to option repricing for officers and directors at some companies."

Winston & Strawn LLP

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

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ADP Test Fails When Top Paid Group Election Is Skipped

"A plan passed ADP testing in the past because it used the 'Top Paid Group' election. The plan's new TPA omitted the 'Top Paid Group' election in the plan document starting in 2018 and elected to use prior testing year's results. Under EPCRS (Rev. Proc. 2019-19), Section 6.02, is it possible to change the method that was used to correct the testing for 2019?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Effect of Dual Eligibility on Testing Requirements?

"My client is setting up a safe harbor 401(k) plan with a SH matching contribution and wants to implement dual eligibility, that is, allow participants to defer immediately into the plan but require one year of service in order to receive the match? Is there any concern in having dual eligibility? How would you test these dual eligibility groups each year? What complications would you see in implementing a plan like this?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

SHNE Plus Profit Sharing -- Must the Profit Sharing Part Be 100% Vested for Use with General Test?

"401(k) plan has SHNE plus profit sharing. General test. 1 year eligibility. New entrant leaves after 3 months of participation. Profit sharing is 0% vested under 6-year vesting schedule. Must the profit sharing piece be vested in order to be counted in the general test?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Using the Form 5500 Special Extension Box?

"Are people using the special extension box now for this COVID 19 extension on a 6/30/19 plan year-end (for example)? And are you just typing in COVID-19 or Coronavirus or what? Have they told us what to write?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Description of the Tax Provisions of the CARES Act
Joint Committee on Taxation [JCT], U.S. Congress

Another Year-End Tax Act Brings Changes for Plan Sponsors (and Their Service Providers) (PDF)
Elizabeth Thomas Dold and Ilene H. Ferenczy, via Journal of Pension Benefits

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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

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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