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July 7, 2020 logo logo
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[Official Guidance]

Text of Treasury Department Notice of Comment Period Reopening for American Federation of Musicians & Employers Pension Fund Application to Reduce Benefits

"On January 17, 2020, the Department of the Treasury published a notice of availability and request for comments regarding an application to Treasury to reduce benefits under the American Federation of Musicians & Employers Pension Fund, in accordance with [MPRA]. The purpose of this notice is to reopen the comment period for the Fund's application and provide more time for interested parties to provide comments."

U.S. Department of the Treasury

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[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Guidance to Safe Harbor Plans for Mid-Year Contribution Reductions

"[Notice 2020-52] states that ... contributions made to a plan on behalf of HCEs are not considered safe harbor contributions and as a result a mid-year change by a plan sponsor that reduces or suspends contributions made on behalf of HCEs is not a reduction or suspension of safe harbor contributions that would require a plan amendment ... IRS has clarified that such a change requires that the affected HCEs receive an updated safe harbor notice and an opportunity to change their salary deferral elections[.]"


[Guidance Overview]

Reducing or Suspending 401(k) Safe Harbor Contributions Mid-Year

"Sponsors who reduce or suspend 401(k) safe harbor nonelective contributions will satisfy the 30-day supplemental notice requirement, provided the sponsor [1] Gives the notice to employees no later than August 31, 2020, and [2] Adopts the required plan amendment no later than the effective date of the reduction or suspension of safe harbor nonelective contributions. There is no relief on the timing of the supplemental notice under Notice 2020-52 for sponsors who reduce or suspend safe harbor matching contributions."

Retirement Learning Center, LLC

[Guidance Overview]

Relief for Safe Harbor Plans Reducing or Suspending Contributions in 2020

"Although [Notice 2020-52] gives welcome relief to safe harbor plan sponsors, there continue to be strict deadlines regarding plan amendments (which not only change the contribution formula, but also incorporate annual nondiscrimination testing provisions) and distribution of updated notices. Once safe harbor status is lost, ADP and ACP Tests must be passed for the full 2020 plan year, as applicable."


Use of Relatively New CITs Challenged in Second Lawsuit

"According to the complaint, instead of acting in the exclusive best interest of participants, Aon Hewitt, now known as Aon Investments USA, acted in its own interest by causing the plan to invest in Aon’s proprietary collective investment trusts (CITs) for Aon’s benefit. The [plan sponsor that appointed Aon Hewitt as an investment manager is] also accused of failing to use the plan’s bargaining power to negotiate reasonable fees for investment management services." [Miller v. Astellas US LLC, No. 20-3882 (N.D. Ill. complaint filed Jul. 1, 2020)]

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The Growing Importance of ESG Due Diligence Post-COVID-19 (PDF)

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Prepared by Paul Hastings LLP for TRACE

Editor's Pick A New Framework for Consideration of Private Equity in Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)

"In this article, [the authors] first explain the general ERISA fiduciary principles attendant to the selection of DC plan investment options. [They] then identify the source of interest in private equity investments as well as the litigation challenges that have prevented wide adoption within DC plans. Finally, [they] describe the guidance [Information Letter 2020-06-03] provides, including the considerations the DOL identified as important in analyzing whether to incorporate a private equity allocation within a diversified investment option."

Groom Law Group

The Investment Advisor's Retirement Plan 'Dream Team'

"[T]he most successful retirement plan outcomes are most likely to be achieved through partnership with an all-star 'dream team' ... Partnering with a DCIO ... enables you to leverage universes of investments and fund managers you might not otherwise have access to.... Wholesaler partnerships ... can provide access to high-quality, thoughtfully engineered products.... Working with a good third party administrator (TPA) ensures that you can remain in the loop on ever-changing retirement plan rules and regulations ... Strong TPA and recordkeeper partners can tap their existing network to funnel business your way."

Fiduciary Benchmarks

Pension Plan's Assumed Investment Return Should be Determined by Asset Allocation, Not Other Way Around (PDF)

"The expected investment return for a pension plan's assets is used as the discount rate for public and multiemployer pension plan valuations ... This assumption often has a greater impact on the pension liability than any other assumption ... However, the investment return assumption is sometimes used as a return target for determining the plan's asset allocation. This issue brief discusses why the investment return assumption should be determined based on the asset allocation, not the other way around."

American Academy of Actuaries

Proposed Multiemployer Composite Plans: Background and Analysis

22 pages. "Composite plans are the third element of a 2013 proposal by representatives of an organization of multiemployer pension and health plans to reform multiemployer DB pension plans.... For employers, composite plans would offer several advantages over DB plans ... The composite plan proposal contains a procedure to address situations in which plan assets fall below a specified percentage of plan liabilities, such as could occur if there were investment losses. This realignment program includes proposed, though not mandatory, contribution increases and mandatory benefit reductions.' [R44722, updated Jul. 7, 2020]

Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Computing Deductions in a DB Plan Sponsored by a Sole Proprietor

"For a sole proprietor who sponsors a defined benefit plan, how does one determine how much of the contribution gets deducted on Schedule C for the employees and how much gets deducted on Form 1040 for the sole proprietor?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Proposed Eligibility Provision: Immediate Entry Upon Attaining 1000 Hours

"Checking whether the following eligibility condition could be used in a plan. The employer wants to keep part-timers out of the plan, meaning people who will work less than 1000 hours. But the employer also wants to bring full-timers into the plan after they meet 1000 hours, either immediately or on the first of the the month following the month in which they attain 1000 hours. While our prototype does not have this specific eligibility condition as an option, it does have an 'other' eligibility option, so we could 'fill in the blank.' Would it fly?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

403(b) Sponsor Missed the June 30 Deadline, Wants Options

"Just got the first panic call from someone who ignored the June 30 deadline. So, anyone have any clue as to whether the IRS will provide a reduced VCP filing fee for a nonamender if they submit within, say, the next year or whatever, similar to what the IRS did for PPA nonamenders?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

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Press Releases

Most Popular Items in the Previous Issue

Fidelity Settles Fiduciary Breach Suit for $28.5 Million
American Retirement Association [ARA], Inc.
1298 Minnesota Avenue, Suite H
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 644-4146

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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