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Retirement Plans Newsletter

May 6, 2021

6 New Job Opportunities


House Committee Unanimously Approves SECURE 2.0

"The bill would increase the required minimum distribution age for retirement plans from 72 to 75 over 10 years. Other provisions would expand auto-enrollment and auto-escalation in company retirement plans; increase tax incentives for small businesses to establish plans; boost catch-up contribution limits for people between the ages of 62 and 64; allow employers to match an employee’s student-loan payment with a contribution to the employee’s retirement plan; and enable greater use of lifetime income products like annuities in retirement plans."  MORE >>

RPA Convergence

District Court Dismisses Investment Option Claim Against KeyCorp But Excessive Fee Claim Survives

"The participants [had alleged] that the plan's fiduciaries allowed 'excessive' record-keeping fees and administrative expenses ... [and] accused KeyCorp of failing to monitor the plan's fiduciaries.... The judge ... [rejected] the plaintiffs' allegations that a stable value fund performed poorly and charged high fees [but] ruled against KeyCorp in the allegation that managed account fees were excessive." [Stark v. KeyCorp, No. 20-1254 (N.D. Ohio May 4, 2021)]  MORE >>

Pensions & Investments

Court Dismisses Claims Against Recordkeeper Who Used Participant Data for Marketing

"While there are now several cases finding that participant data does not constitute a plan asset, the issue is far from settled.... To date, the courts have taken into account the absence of DOL support for treating participant data as a plan asset, so any DOL guidance supporting that characterization, or otherwise recognizing data protection obligations, could change things considerably." [Harmon v. Shell Oil Co., No. 20-021 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2021)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters / EBIA

Designing Your 401(k) Plan for Combined Testing with a Future Cash Balance Plan

"Some [401(k) plans] are initially set up as stand-alone, only to be paired with a cash balance plan down the road. Since most cash balance plans are designed to provide owners with the majority of the benefits, they cannot pass the nondiscrimination tests, so combining the cash balance plan with the 401(k) plan creates a cost-effective method to pass testing."  MORE >>


2021 Investment Company Fact Book (PDF)

337 pages. "[This Fact Book provides] detail on the remarkable range of products our industry has created to help investors save for their goals, on how our industry is evolving ... to meet investors' changing demands, and on the substantial declines in fund fees Main Street investors incur to gain exposure to stocks and bonds through pooled, professionally managed funds.... [It also provides] considerable detail ... about the tens of millions of US households that use funds to save for their goals and how funds support them as they save for retirement and education."  MORE >>

Investment Company Institute [ICI]

TPAing in the Time of COVID, Part 2

"[Challenges to third-party administrators have included:] When is this going to end and when can we see our friends again? ... Cybersecurity ... Sales and marketing ... Looking on the good side."  MORE >>

TriStar Pension Consulting

Pension Monitor, April 2021

"The funded status of the total-return plan rose 0.5%, as an increase in estimated liability valuations was offset by a strong performance in equities. The funded status of the LDI-focused plan was up 1.2%, as positive asset returns from equities and fixed income exceeded liability growth. The plan is 87% hedged, as of April 30."  MORE >>


Pension Indicator, April 2021

"The improvement in funded status over the past 10 months is remarkable. You can certainly find right now investments that are touting 70% returns over the past 12 months because the markets hit bottom at the beginning of those periods.... Now, coupled with the rise in interest rates, it is very possible that plan sponsors are seeing their highest funded status since before The Great Recession. For plans that have been frozen for some time waiting for a better day, that day may finally be here."  MORE >>


More Than Half of Illinois Large Cities Get Failing Grades for Pension Funding

"The analysis [of Illinois' 175 largest cities] was based on ten equally-weighted metrics, ranging from the funded ratio of each local pension system, to the pension debt each household is on the hook for, to the share of city budgets consumed by pension costs.... In addition to the 102 cities that received 'F' grades in 2019, 64 cities got a 'D' grade."  MORE >>


Review of the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division: Fiscal Year 2019 Statistical Trends (PDF)

50 pages. "The number of determinations requests received decreased by 65 percent over FYs 2015 through 2019. ... [T]he primary reason for this drop was a change in the determination letter submission process. ... While Forms 5500 and 5500-EZ filings declined from FY 2015 through FY 2019, Form 5500-SF filings for small employee benefit plans have increased and made up over 60 percent of total filings each year.... Although the number of EP function examination closures decreased from 8,705 closures in FY 2015 to 5,848 in FY 2019 (nearly 33 percent), the no change rate decreased by 17 percent over the same period. This indicates that although the EP function is completing fewer examinations, the cases selected are yielding issues worthy of review." [Employee benefits discussion begins on page 9.]  MORE >>

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration [TIGTA], U.S. Department of the Treasury


SPARK Supports the 'Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021' (PDF)

"The SPARK Institute is especially supportive of the SSRA because it includes many provisions ... to significantly improve the retirement security of American workers. This includes ... the SSRA's expansion of the small business start-up credit, its increase of the required beginning date age to 75, and its additional catch-up contributions for certain older employees."  MORE >>

The SPARK Institute


Why Converting Public Employees to Defined Contribution Retirement Plans Is Wrong for Your State (PDF)

13 pages. "This report seeks to answer the following questions: [1] Has the emergence of defined-contribution plans contributed to the retirement savings crisis in the country? [2] Does converting a defined-benefit pension plan to a defined-contribution plan impact the overall cost to the state? [3] What are the consequences of converting a defined-benefit pension plan to a defined-contribution plan? [4] Does conversion to a defined-contribution plan impact recruitment and retention of public employees?"  MORE >>

National Public Pension Coalition [NPPC]


Bailing Out the Central States Pension Plan: Some Retirees Are More Equal Than Others?

"[T]he bailout is based on investment returns equal to the low end of a plan's discount rate for 2019 or 5.5%. Central States used 3% for 2019, although pension promises were made in prior years using 7.5% and 8% ... [T]he ultimate heist would be for Central States to flip its interest rate back to 8% for purposes of future contributions while collecting from taxpayers at 3% ... For new pension promises due in 30 years, Central States would get $4 from taxpayers for every dollar it charges employers."  MORE >>

Washington Examiner

Benefits in General

Supreme Court Ruling on Social Security Claim Has Implications for ERISA Claims

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month ... that issue exhaustion is not mandatory in Social Security disability benefit claims.... [ERISA] provides for a 'full and fair review' of benefit denials as a precondition to claimants being allowed to litigate disputes over benefits.... Such requirements are comparable to similar requirements mandated under the Social Security Act[.]" [Carr v. Saul, No. 19-1442 (S. Ct. Apr. 22, 2021)]  MORE >>

DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds P.C.

Blanket Release Might Not Protect Against All ERISA Claims

"Because the employer did not deny the life insurance coverage until after the release was executed, the court held the employee's ERISA claim was not within the scope of the release and denied the employer's motion to dismiss." [Anastos v. IKEA Property, Inc., No. 19-3702 (N.D. Ga. Mar. 17, 2021)]  MORE >>

Haynes and Boone, LLP, via Lexology; free registration required

How Employee Benefits Can Become an Employer's Burden

"Employers should develop and implement the most compliant and risk adverse benefits plans, but the plaintiff's bar will still search for loopholes. Investment fees and loss, COBRA litigation and healthcare claims are only a few of the issues facing employers in 2021." [Video]  MORE >>

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Sr. Actuarial Analyst
for Newport Sr. Actuarial Analyst


Chicago IL

View job as Employee Benefits Associate
for Thompson Hine Employee Benefits Associate

Thompson Hine

Atlanta GA / Chicago IL / Cincinnati OH / Cleveland OH / Columbus OH / New York NY / Washington DC / Dayton OH

View job as 3(16) Services Team Leader
for Compass 360, LLC 3(16) Services Team Leader

Compass 360, LLC

Stratham NH

View job as Retirement Plan Specialist
for SS&C Technologies Retirement Plan Specialist

SS&C Technologies

Rockland ME / Quincy MA / Dublin OH / Kansas City MO / DC / KS

View job as Installation Coordinator
for Ascensus Installation Coordinator



View job as Account Manager
for MAP Retirement Account Manager

MAP Retirement

Telecommute / Appleton WI

Selected New Discussions

RMD Treatment Applies to Portion of In-Service Distribution?

"Participant (non-owner) over RMD age, on workers comp so not formally terminated, and requests eligible in-service distribution. With no distributable event, would part of this distribution be treated as an RMD at time of distribution?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Where to Mail a Missing Participant's Form 1099-R?

"When someone is missing at the time of a plan termination and the money is auto-rolled to an IRA, where should the plan send the Form 1099-R?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

How to Apply the One-To-One Correction Method to Former Employees?

"We have a failed 2015 ADP test that was not corrected timely. We're now correcting under ECPRS using the one-to-one correction method. Our intention is to allocate the QNEC to employees who were NHCEs in the year of the failure and are also NHCEs in year of the correction. If allocated this way, three NHCEs would receive a QNEC allocation of greater than 5%, while three would not receive a QNEC at all (they are no longer employed). Is this allocation permissible using the one-to-one correction?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Lockton Fortifies Its New England Presence with the Addition of Patrick J. Haraden


FuturePlan by Ascensus Appoints Mark Wiggins as Divisional Vice President for the Southeast and Southwest Regions


J.P. Morgan and Nationwide Launch First Professionally Managed Annuity

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Global Atlantic Appoints Edward Root to Oversee Pension Risk Transfer Business, Continues to Grow Reinsurance Strategy

Global Atlantic Financial Group

OneDigital Acquires Clearview Advisory

OneDigital Health and Benefits

Webcasts and Conferences
(Retirement Plans or Exec Comp)

SECURE 2.0: An Overview and Prospects for Retirement Legislation in 2021

May 11, 2021 WEBCAST

Groom Law Group

A Review of Our Annual Retirement Plan Fee Benchmarking

May 20, 2021 WEBCAST

Multnomah Group

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

DOL Announces Intent to Withdraw Independent Contractor Rule

U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Reps. Neal and Brady Reintroduce Bipartisan 'Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021'

Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

ERISA Fidelity Bond Failure: So What?

Retirement Learning Center, LLC

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

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