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Retirement Plans Newsletter

May 12, 2021

2 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

At Last, DOL Issues Cybersecurity Guidance

"The DOL's three pieces of guidance only scratch the surface in providing helpful guidance to plan sponsors, fiduciaries, and service providers, but they should nevertheless be considered in implementing cybersecurity strategies in the administration of benefit plans.... [F]ailing to adequately respond to this guidance could increase the potential liability of plan sponsors or fiduciaries in connection with plan data or other cybersecurity breaches."  MORE >>

Frost Brown Todd LLC

[Guidance Overview]

CAA Includes Provisions for Partial Plan Terminations

"The new relief is based on 80% of the 'active participants.' However, the plan's eligibility requirements will be important in this case, as new hires may not be eligible for the plan to be considered active participants by March 31, 2021."  MORE >>


Don't Look Now, But Is That a New SECURE Act on the Horizon?

"For newly established plans, there will be requirements that did not exist before.... Here are some of the more significant changes that the bill as currently drafted would bring to the retirement landscape[.]"  MORE >>


SECURE 2.0 Reported Out of House Ways and Means Committee with Unanimous Bipartisan Support

"A proposal to expand the Saver's Credit was dropped because of concerns about the cost (to revenues).... Chairman (of Ways and Means) Neal's automatic retirement plan proposal, which would (with some very limited exceptions) require every US employer to maintain an 'automatic contribution' retirement plan.... [presumably] was left out to secure bipartisan support."  MORE >>

October Three Consulting

FBI Asking Questions After Pennsylvania Teachers' Pension Fund Aimed High and Fell Short

"The search for high returns takes many pension funds far and wide, but the Pennsylvania teachers' fund went farther than most.... Now the F.B.I. is on the case, investigating investment practices at the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System, and new questions are emerging about how the fund's staff and consultants calculated returns."  MORE >>

The New York Times; subscription may be required

Ninth Circuit Reaffirms Exacting Pleading Standard for Duty-of-Prudence Claims Against ESOP Fiduciaries

"The decision provides important protection to ESOP fiduciaries by reaffirming the rigorous pleading standard in ESOP duty-of-prudence cases, in which plaintiffs must plead 'context-specific' allegations describing an alternative action 'so clearly beneficial' that a prudent fiduciary 'could not conclude that it would be more likely to harm the fund than to help it.' " [Wilson v. Craver, No. 18-56139 (9th Cir. Apr. 19, 2021)]   MORE >>

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Ninth Circuit: CalSavers Program Is Not Preempted by ERISA

"The central issue addressed by the Ninth Circuit is whether a program like CalSavers can be considered 'established or maintained by an employer.' The Ninth Circuit held that the State of California, not private employers, established and maintain CalSavers[.]" [Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n v. California Secure Choice Ret. Savings Program, No. 20-15591 (9th Cir. May 6, 2021)]  MORE >>

Thomson Reuters Practical Law

Rising Interest Rates Spur 9% Annuity Sales Growth in Q1

"In the first quarter 2021, total annuity sales were $60.9 billion, a 9% increase from first quarter 2020 ... Total variable annuity (VA) sales were $29.9 billion in the first quarter, up 15% from prior year. This represents the highest quarterly VA sales recorded since fourth quarter 2015."  MORE >>

Modern Wealth Survey 2021 (PDF)

21 presentation slides. "A majority of Americans feel optimistic about the U.S. economy and the stock market.... Half are looking to get back to living and spending the same way as before COVID-19, and almost a quarter are eager to make up for lost time.... Most Americans were savers in 2020 and even more plan on being bigger savers rather than spenders in 2021.... Americans with a written financial plan maintain healthier money habits when it comes to saving and investing."  MORE >>

Charles Schwab


Which Public Pension Funds Have the Highest Holdings of Alternative Assets? 2021 Edition

"[If] your pension fund makes the pages of the New York Times, it's not because things are going well.... Who are watching the public pension funds? Boards of trustees, who are often political appointees or there via their elected office.... But when it comes to some of these alternative investments, there is very little transparency to people outside the investment management… and one can't really trust that the board of directors is sufficient to keep an eye on these things."  MORE >>


Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of EBSA Request for Nominations to ERISA Advisory Council; Insurance Representative Vacancy

"This notice seeks nominations for an individual to fill a vacancy on the [Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans] representing the field of insurance. This vacancy is due to the resignation of a member ... [T]he individual selected to fill the vacancy will begin serving upon appointment and will serve until December 31, 2022, in accordance with ERISA section 512(a)(4)."  MORE >>

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

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Weighs In on Cybersecurity for ERISA Plans

"[In] key places, the guidance refers more generally to 'ERISA-covered plans,' and as a result -- even if unintended -- it can be broadly read to apply to not only retirement plans but also health and welfare plans.... Plan service providers and fiduciaries for health and welfare plans will need to consider reconciling the tips in the below guidance with other security guidance that already applies to such plans -- for example, HIPAA's privacy and security standards and various data security breach laws."  MORE >>

Mayer Brown

The Littler Annual Employer Survey 2021 (PDF)

23 pages. "Employers planning for a transition to a post-pandemic workplace are faced with a host of novel issues – and addressing a disconnect with employees about what the future of work and the return to physical workspaces looks like is at the top of the list."  MORE >>


Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Cerberus Retirement, Inc. Retirement Plan Administrator

Cerberus Retirement, Inc.

Telecommute / AZ

View job as DC / DB Plan Administrator
for NPPG DC / DB Plan Administrator


Telecommute / Shrewsbury NJ

Selected New Discussions

Terminated Plan's Assets Rolled into New Plan Under Same Controlled Group -- Related or Unrelated for Top Heavy Testing?

"Two employers (A and B) in the same controlled group have separate plans (Plan A and Plan B). Plan A terminates because employer A shuts down and many participants start working for employer B. Most participants roll assets from terminated Plan A into Plan B. Plan B has predecessor language for eligibility and vesting for participants from Plan A. They were given opportunity to take their balance or rollover to IRA or another qualified plan. Are the rollovers from Plan A into Plan B considered 'related' rollovers for top-heavy testing?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

EPIC Adds Sam Wagener as Principal


Industry Leading Benefits Expert Joins Lockton, Further Strengthening Firm’s Growing Seattle Office


Aon and Willis Towers Watson (WTW) Take Important Step Toward the Close of Proposed Combination with Agreement to Sell Set of WTW Assets to Gallagher

Aon Corporation

Surety Bond Authority, Inc. Adds ERISA Bond to its Products Read more at:

Surety Bond Authority, Inc.

Webcasts and Conferences
(Retirement Plans or Exec Comp)

Securing a Reliable Income in Retirement: An Examination of the Benefits and Challenges of Pooled Funding and Risk-Sharing in Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) Plans

May 13, 2021 WEBCAST

Georgetown Center for Retirement Initiatives [CRI]

Abandoned Plan and Voluntary Fiduciary Compliance Program Workshops

May 18, 2021 WEBCAST

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

Beneficiary Options for Retirement Accounts: A Discussion about the SECURE Act Changes and IRS Explanations in Publication 590-B

May 20, 2021 WEBCAST


Ask the Experts: Effectively Managing Your Pension Participant Pool

June 8, 2021 WEBCAST

PBI Research Services

RMDs are Back in 2021

July 14, 2021 WEBCAST

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Recovering Retirement Plan Overpayments: Process Is Key

Dickinson Wright

The DOL's Cybersecurity Guidance for Retirement Plan Sponsors, Service Providers and Participants

Ropes & Gray LLP

401(a)(17) Failure? Saved by the EPCRS!

Ferenczy Benefits Law Center

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

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