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[Guidance Overview]

DOL Finalizes Pooled Plan Provider Registration Requirements

"The final rule lays out a two-part registration process ... Providers must also use supplemental filings to report any changes to information in earlier filings and any significant financial and operational events affecting the provider or any of its plans. The rule also requires a final filing after a provider has terminated all of its pooled employer plans and ceased operations as a pooled plan provider." Icon to read more



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[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality iconThe Race to Register: DOL Issues Final Rule on PPP Registration

"The Final Rule creates a new Form PR that PPPs will be required to file at least 30 days before the PPP 'begins operations.' ... [T]he Form PR will be publically available, and requires the disclosure of certain information that is both sensitive and confidential.... [The authors] expect that both the DOL and plaintiffs counsel will use the Form PR database for purposes of targeting enforcement efforts and lawsuits. Moreover, the failure to file the initial Form PR or any supplement could endanger the status of the PPP, and ultimately the PEP." Icon to read more

Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Finalizes ‘Financial Factors’ Regs

"The final rule alleviates some of the more serious concerns raised by the proposal, by eliminating the prospect of a presumption that any ESG-based investments are non-pecuniary in nature and thus require additional justification to be retained by an ERISA plan. Also, the changes provide for greater flexibility in applying the duty of loyalty standard, including as to offering what the notice refers to as 'ESG-themed funds' as available investments (including QDIAs) in participant-directed plans." Icon to read more

Morgan Lewis

[Guidance Overview]

Final ERISA Regs Circle Back to Allow ESG Investing

"Fiduciaries may want to consider whether there are new opportunities to capture improved returns or reduce risk exposures through carefully selected ESG investment approaches. Fiduciaries may also want to consider whether there are ESG investment alternatives that better serve the interests of defined contribution plan members. In addition, it may be appropriate to evaluate whether the plan's service providers have both the needed expertise and contractual duty to provide up-to-date advice on ESG investing." Icon to read more

Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.

Do Defaults Limit Consumer Response to Rainy-Day Funds? Evidence from 401(k) Participants During the COVID-19 Pandemic

"Using a large database of 401(k) plan participants, [the authors] estimate the probability that a worker will contact a recordkeeper about initiating a distribution from their retirement account following passage of the [CARES Act]. Self-directed workers in occupations with high subsequent unemployment were more likely to call about withdrawing funds from their account than workers in delegated investment accounts. Workers defaulted into target-date funds and those who chose to delegate investments through a managed account were both less likely to contact the recordkeeper about making a post-CARES Act distribution." Icon to read more

David Blanchett, Michael S. Finke, and Zhikun Liu, via SSRN

Retirement Innovation and the New Age of Longevity

20 pages. "The innovations of auto-enrollment and auto-escalation, and the growth of target date funds and similar products, has substantially increased the savings rates for many (though by no means all) Americans. But at retirement, the vast majority of savers are dropped into a financial world without guardrails, and with a wide range of complicated choices that few are able to fully appreciate.... There are a number of different ways to create reliable income streams in retirement." Icon to read more

Principal Financial Group

Schwab Self-Directed Brokerage Account Indicators, Q3 2020

"The average account balance for all participants in the Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account® (PCRA) was up by 9.14% to $302,256 from $276,929 a year ago,and up by 5.83% from $285,616 last quarter.... On average, participants held 10.8 positions in their PCRA, very similar to last year and to last quarter. SDBA participants aged 56 and over (part of the Baby Boomer generation) were 35.2% out of all participants, while the Gen X (age 40-55) participants were higher at 43.5% and Millennials (age 28-39) were at 15.4%." Icon to read more

Charles Schwab

OregonSaves Retirement Program Expands to Personal Support Workers

"[T]he OregonSaves retirement program is now available for SEIU-represented Personal Support Workers across the state to join ... Personal Support Workers (PSWs) provide home-based help and services to adults and children experiencing intellectual or developmental disabilities." Icon to read more

Implications of the New Executive Order Prohibiting Transactions in Publicly Traded Securities of Chinese Military Companies

"US individuals and entities, including investment funds, need to distance themselves from any publicly traded securities of 'Communist Chinese military companies,' including derivatives and other securities, and structure their investments in such a way as to exclude any financing, direct or indirect, of those entities' securities." Icon to read more

Morgan Lewis

Estimated Cost of Retiree Pension Risk Transfer as Low as 100.3% in October

"During October, the average estimated cost to transfer retiree pension risk to an insurer increased by 60 basis points, from 102.3% of a plan's total liabilities to 102.9% of those liabilities.... Annuity purchase costs reflecting competition amongst insurers are even lower, at 100.3%, up from 100.2% in September." Icon to read more


New York Creditors' Rights to Assets in Inherited IRAs, and the Proposed Harmonization of Protections for Savings and Retirement Benefits Act

"The article discusses New York protections for a debtor's savings and retirement Benefits and the only Court decisions considering whether a creditor may enforce a claim against the judgment debtor's interest in an inherited IRA.... The article describes a proposed Harmonization of Protections for Savings and Retirement Benefits Act that would increase the coherence, clarity and equity of New York debtor protections for savings and retirement benefits by applying the current widely accepted paradigm that all similar benefits receive similar protections." Icon to read more

Law Offices of Albert Feuer, via SSRN


SPARK Comment Letter to EBSA on Pension Benefit Statements -- Lifetime Income Illustrations (PDF)

12 pages. "[T]he SPARK Institute believes that some plan fiduciaries, administrators, and consultants may be unnecessarily reluctant to offer lifetime income tools and projections that are not designed in accordance with the IFR's assumptions.... [U]nless the Department offers additional support, voluntary lifetime income tools and projections could be viewed as 'too risky' from a fiduciary liability perspective." Icon to read more

The SPARK Institute

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Department of the Treasury 2020-2021 Priority Guidance Plan (PDF)

31 pages; employee benefits items begin on page 11. Icon to read more

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Coordinating Termination of Benefits with Termination of Employment

"[1] Confirm termination dates for various benefits and make sure your systems are in place.... [2] Be sure your employee handbook and benefits plan documents address the end of benefits in the same way.... [3] Understand any job abandonment provisions contained in the employee handbook to properly administer these provisions.... [4] Develop a defined process for employees returning from leaves of absence and timeline for terminating employees who fail to follow or engage in the specified process." Icon to read more

HUB International

Selected Discussions
on the BenefitsLink Message Boards

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457(b) Plan Participant Can Accelerate Remaining Payments in 10-Year Installment Period?

"457(b) non-governmental plan document was drafted to begin distributions upon severance of employment or at age 70-1/2. A participant can choose a lump sum payment or 10-year installments. If a participant is working at 70-1/2 and chooses to take a 10-year installment payout, and then retires 3 years into the payout period, can his remaining payout be accelerated so that he can take the balance?" Icon to read more

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Self-Directed IRA Buys an Impermissible Collectible

"A self-directed IRA has invested in a collectible that does not meet any of the exceptions in Code Section 408(m), and therefore the IRA is treated as having distributed the cost of the collectible to the IRA owner. In addition to the deemed distribution, does the IRA's investment in the collectible constitute a prohibited transaction?" Icon to read more

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Amend Plan to Add Last-Day Employment Condition on Discretionary Match for 2020?

"Plan has discretionary match but no allocation conditions (no last-day employment rule). Plan sponsor now considering making a 2020 discretionary match but wants to amend to add last-day rule. Legal?" Icon to read more

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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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