logo logo

Retirement Plans Newsletter

April 20, 2021

3 Jobs Today


[Guidance Overview]

DOL Issues New Cybersecurity Guidance for Retirement Plans

"Although the ERISA plaintiff's bar has not gained significant ground in the cybersecurity litigation space, ... cyberattacks and data theft considerations are increasingly high stakes issues.... [T]he new DOL guidance creates a substantive roadmap for plan sponsors and service providers that wish to proactively address these matters."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Key Takeaways from the DOL's 'Best Practices' Missing Participant Guidance

"Types of policies that fiduciaries may want to document include: [1] guidance for handling undeliverable/returned mail, email, and uncashed checks; [2] procedures for conducting regular plan census information audits; [3] plans for collecting census information during employee onboarding and exit processes; and [4] guidelines outlining what steps will be taken to take to locate missing participants. "  MORE >>

Mayer Brown

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Publication 4484: Choosing a Retirement Plan (PDF)

13 pages, rev. Apr. 2021. "Plan feature comparison chart ... Including plans for employees of tax-exempt and government entities (schools, hospitals, churches, charities). Highlights of eight types of retirement plansoes."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

Is Your Cybersecurity Policy Up to the Task?

"[B]egin by reviewing internal procedures and technology safeguards for gaps.... [Review] the cybersecurity procedures of your plan's vendors as well. Review who has access to sensitive plan data and how the data is encrypted, stored and transmitted. Determine who handles sensitive data and how they are trained."  MORE >>


Supreme Court Seeks Government Input on Gannett ERISA Suit

"The U.S. Supreme Court ... asked the U.S. Solicitor General's office to comment on a case that seeks to determine how a defined contribution plan's offering of a non-employer's stock as an investment option should be treated by ERISA.... The publicly traded Gannett offers company stock in its 401(k) plan, but it also held stock in its former parent, TEGNA, after Gannett was spun off in June 2015." [Gannett Co. v. Quatrone, No. 19-1212 (4th Cir. Aug. 11, 2020; on appeal to S. Ct. No. 20-609)]  MORE >>

Pensions & Investments

Ninth Circuit Finds Calculation of DB Plan Benefits Is Not a Fiduciary Function Under ERISA

"In litigation [brought by] defined benefit plan participants who were misinformed by their plan's recordkeeper about the amount of benefits they were entitled to in retirement, the Ninth Circuit held ... that a named fiduciary must perform a fiduciary function to breach a fiduciary duty under [ERISA], calculating benefit amounts under a pre-set formula is not a fiduciary function, and a pension benefit estimate requested electronically may constitute a 'written request' under ERISA Section 105(a)." [Bafford v. Northrop Grumman Corp., No. 20-55222 (9th Cir. Apr. 15, 2021)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Suit Against Fiduciaries of Edison International ESOP

"Following the current of its sister circuits, the Ninth Circuit found that the ESOP plan participant failed to allege a breach of fiduciary duty. This decision highlights the difficulty for plaintiffs to meet the duty-of-prudence pleading standard announced in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer[.]" [Wilson v. Craver, No. 18-56139 (9th Cir. Apr. 19, 2021)]  MORE >>

Roberts Disability Law

Own Company Stock in Your 401(k) Account? That Could Mean a Tax Advantage

"You pay ordinary income tax only on the cost basis of the stock; that is, the original amount you invested.... For the remaining [amount] you instead pay long-term capital gains taxes."  MORE >>


DOL Updates Fiduciary Rule Guidelines: What Changed?

"Despite expectations of a major revision, the new guidelines appear to maintain the basic concepts inherent in the original Rule."  MORE >>

Fiduciary News; free registration required

How Deep Is the 401(k) PEP Pool?

"[At] least one quarter of 401(k) plan sponsors are at least somewhat interested in joining a PEP, but more than one-third (36%) of small 401(k) plan sponsors (with less than $5 million in plan assets) expressed 'no opinion' on the topic."  MORE >>

401(k) Specialist

Large 401(k) Plans Seek to Retain Retiree Assets

"Consultants who participated in the survey said approximately three-fourths of 401(K) sponsors prefer to keep participant assets in plan after they enter retirement, up from less than half in 2015. Allowing flexibility in income distribution, adding retirement education/tools and communicating the value of staying in plan, were among the most popular consultant recommendations for plans seeking to hold onto retiree assets."  MORE >>


How Competitive Are Income Annuity Providers Over Time?

"While the payout rankings of annuity companies (e.g., best to worst) are fairly sticky over the short-term, over the full period of the analysis the correlation declines effectively to zero (versus the initial rankings). This suggests individuals or institutions who choose an annuity provider based on income payout need to revisit the decision regularly because the best company today is unlikely to be the best in the future."  MORE >>

David Blanchett, Michael S. Finke and Branislav Nikolic, via SSRN


Here's What's Wrong with Raising RMD Age to 75

"Most Americans need the money to live on and are already withdrawing at least the minimum, CPA Jeffrey Levine says. One upside to RMDs is that they're 'accidentally a very efficient way to withdraw money from your IRAs,' Professor Michael Finke says. A better option would be to eliminate RMDs for those with only $50,000-$100,000 in their retirement plans, Levine argues."  MORE >>


Benefits in General

Emerging Case Law Supports Forum-Selection Clauses in ERISA Plans

"A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit upholds the enforceability of forum-selection clauses in ERISA plans.... The Ninth Circuit joins the Sixth and Seventh Circuits in this regard, and district courts in other circuits such as the Third and Fourth Circuits have also followed suit, although their respective circuit courts have yet to decide the issue." [Becker v. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland, No. 20-72805 (9th Cir. Apr. 1, 2021)]  MORE >>

Groom Law Group

Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

Estimated Taxes and Stock Comp: Special Issues in 2021

"When the IRS extended the tax return deadline to May 17, it kept the usual April 15 due date for the first quarterly estimated tax payment of 2021.... If you need to pay 2021 estimated taxes and are waiting to finish your 2020 tax return before you make your April payment, this [article] explains the issues involved, including insights from tax pros on this unusual situation."  MORE >>

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Project Manager Benefits Communication
for BeneCom Associates Project Manager Benefits Communication

BeneCom Associates

Telecommute / Acton MA

View job as Retirement Recordkeeping Operations Manager
for The Trust Company of Tennessee Retirement Recordkeeping Operations Manager

The Trust Company of Tennessee

Telecommute / Knoxville TN

View job as Auditor (Pathways Recent Graduate)
for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] Auditor (Pathways Recent Graduate)

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Telecommute / Washington DC

Selected New Discussions

Avoiding the Plan Audit Requirement During a Short Plan Year

"401(k) plan with over 100 participants was audited by a CPA firm for the 12-month plan year ending on 3/31/2020. Plan sponsor then changed the year end to September, creating a short plan year that began 4/1/2020 and ended 9/30/2020. Can that short year's audit be put delayed, per 29 CFR 2520.104-50, and be included with the audit for the 12-month plan year beginning on 10/1/2020 that ends on 9/30/2021? I think so. Agree?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Terminated Money Purchase Plan Still Holds Funds for Missing Married Participants

"Money Purchase Plan terminated 3 years ago. Only accounts left are for lost participants and each has over $5,000. Recordkeeper will not cash the accounts out and move to an IRA because of the spousal consent issue. What can the sponsor do to get this plan closed up?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

CalPERS Takes Legal Action to Recover Stolen Dormant Retiree Assets

CalPERS [California Public Employees' Retirement System]

TRA Completes Acquisition of Rosenfeld/Tortu Retirement Planning Co., Inc.

The Retirement Advantage [TRA]

Webcasts and Conferences
(Retirement Plans or Exec Comp)

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

May 5, 2021 WEBCAST

Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

What to Expect from a Retirement Plan Investigation

May 13, 2021 WEBCAST

Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

DOL Issues Cybersecurity Guidance for Plan Sponsors, Plan Fiduciaries, Recordkeepers, and Plan Participants

Groom Law Group

DOL Releases FAQs on PTE 2020-02, Foreshadows Future Activity on Investment Advice

Groom Law Group

DOL Releases Cybersecurity Guidance for Plan Fiduciaries


Unsubscribe  |   Change Email Address

Search Past Issues   |   Privacy Policy

Submit an Article   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise Here

Copyright 2021, 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.

BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587.

Links to web sites other than and are offered as a service to our readers. We are not involved in their production and are not responsible for their content.