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Retirement Plans Newsletter

July 13, 2021

7 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon PBGC Issues Much Anticipated Interim Final Rule on Special Financial Assistance Under American Rescue Plan Act

"The Interim Final Rule ... provides guidance to plan sponsors on the [special financial assistance (SFA)] application process, including what plans need to file to demonstrate eligibility for relief; calculating the amount of SFA; assumption requirements; the PBGC's review of SFA applications; and other restrictions and conditions. The Interim Final Rule also sets forth the order of priority in which applications will be reviewed and provides much anticipated clarification on the calculation of withdrawal liability and the assumptions to be used for SFA."  MORE >>

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[Sponsor] -- Qualified Plan eSource: Major Update

Ilene H. Ferenczy, JD has completely re-written the 401(k) chapter in the Qualified Plan eSource. 260+ pages of new material, 220 examples supplemented by 400 Q&As from our Ask the Author service. Contact us at: or 612-605-2266

Sponsored by Burrmont Compliance Labs LLC

[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Issues Interim Final Rule on Multiemployer Pension Bailout

"Employers who contribute to [multiemployer pension plans] receiving [special financial assistance (SFA)] can expect no contribution rate relief. While the mandated use of lower interest rates to calculate withdrawal liability would increase the amount of liabilities and therefore the amount of withdrawal liability, the inclusion of SFA as a [plan] asset would tend to reduce employer withdrawal liability."  MORE >>

Jackson Lewis P.C.

[Guidance Overview]

Pension Reform Forces Employers to Consider Their Future Participation in Multiemployer Plans

"One predominant issue that the ARPA and the IFR do not address ... is what will happen to eligible plans after 2051 ... PBGC's guidance makes clear that the [special financial assistance (SFA)] only provides assistance in the amount necessary to ensure that eligible [multiemployer plans] are able to pay benefits through 2051 ... [S]takeholders will need to consider the future viability of [plans] that receive SFA and the likelihood of a post-2051 insolvency."  MORE >>

Akin Gump

[Guidance Overview]

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors, Part 58

"In the past, some financial institutions had taken the position that there could not be a 'mutual understanding' if their agreements with retirement investors disclaimed fiduciary status, or parts of the 5-part test. The DOL has effectively said that approach won't work and the totality of the circumstances will be considered in determining fiduciary status. Obviously, this position will make it more difficult for financial institutions to avoid fiduciary status."  MORE >>

What the Supreme Court's Decision in a 401(k) Fee Case Could Mean for ESOPs

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile the Supreme Court's analysis in the two 'stock drop' cases with the analysis conducted by courts in ESOP cases.... The Supreme Court's analysis, including how it interprets ERISA provisions, what consideration it gives to ERISA's legislative history and what consideration it gives to the context of the fiduciaries' decision, may provide further support for dismissal arguments in ESOP cases."  MORE >>

Faegre Drinker

Supreme Court Will Hear Northwestern University 403(b) Plan Excessive Fee Case

"According to the Solicitor General, the inclusion of more than 100 retail class mutual funds in the plan is sufficient to support a viable claim of breach of fiduciary duty. Though conceding that cost is not the only appropriate consideration in selecting funds, the Solicitor General argued that where cost is the only difference between funds, it is imprudent to select the higher cost alternative." [Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., No. 18-2569 (7th Cir. Mar. 25, 2020; cert. pet. granted No. 19-1401, Jul. 2, 2020)]  MORE >>

Verrill Dana LLP

SEC Announces $97 Million Settlement with TIAA Subsidiary Over Retirement Rollover Recommendations

"The [SEC] today announced that TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services LLC (TC Services), a subsidiary of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), will pay $97 million to settle charges of inaccurate and misleading statements and a failure to adequately disclose conflicts of interest to thousands of participants in TIAA record-kept employer-sponsored retirement plans. The $97 million will be distributed to investors affected by the misconduct and settles both the SEC's case and a parallel action announced today by the Office of the New York Attorney General (NYAG)."  MORE >>

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]

Summertime Blues for Your 401(k) Plan, Part 1: Mismatching Definitions of Compensation

"Disconnects between payroll procedures, and the way that your 401(k) plan defines 'compensation' for purposes of salary deferrals and employer contributions, generate a significant number of plan operational failures ... These errors can be corrected fairly simply but the corrections can be expensive and/or time consuming if the errors cover multiple years."  MORE >>

E is for ERISA

Plan Sponsors Are Failing to Take Full Advantage of These Tactics for 401(k) Plans

"Taking full advantage of the Prudent Investor Act ... Taking full advantage of benchmarking tools ... Taking full advantage of DOL's new cybersecurity guidance ... Taking full advantage of Roth-ification ... Taking full advantage of motivated employees."  MORE >>

Fiduciary News; free registration required

Pension Funding Index July 2021

"Between October 2020 and May 2021, funded status improved by around $250 billion. June's decline gave back 12% of that gain.... Pension liabilities rose due to a decrease in the benchmark corporate bond interest rates used to value those liabilities. As of June 30, the funded ratio dropped to 97.2%, down from 98.8% at the end of May."  MORE >>



Testimony to the ERISA Advisory Council: Understanding Brokerage Windows in Self-Directed Retirement Plans (PDF)

"[P]lan sponsors who include a brokerage window as an investment option consider it an important part of the investment line up and make concerted efforts to ensure that participants who invest in the brokerage window are aware of the risks.... [P]articipants in large retirement plans that include brokerage windows in addition to designated investment alternatives are already protected under statutory and regulatory guidance."  MORE >>

Aliya Robinson, The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]


Testimony to the ERISA Advisory Council: Gaps in Retirement Savings Based on Race, Ethnicity and Gender (PDF)

"While we may accept that benefits are unequal, in a well-functioning retirement system we would not expect that even participating in a plan would depend so much on income. Yet households in the top income quintile are eight times as likely as those in the bottom quintile to have any savings at all in a retirement account."  MORE >>

Monique Morrissey, Ph.D., Economic Policy Institute

Benefits in General

Implementing the 3-2-1 Backup Rule for Your Plan

"While [multifactor authentication] is an offensive tactic that safeguards data from hackers with more complex security measures, an efficient backup plan is your first line of defense should they gain access to your data.... The rules of the 3-2-1 backup strategy are straightforward: Consistently maintain 'three' or more distinctive copies of all system data. Retain 'two' copies of your backup data on different devices and separate storage media. Store 'one' backup copy offsite."  MORE >>

Euclid Specialty Managers

1 in 3 Employees Has Picked Up Bad Cybersecurity Habits Since Working Remotely

"[Y]ounger employees are most likely to admit they cut cybersecurity corners, with over half (51%) of 16-24 year olds and almost half (46%) of 25-34 year olds reporting they've used security workarounds.... Over one quarter of employees admit they made cybersecurity mistakes -- some of which compromised company security -- while working from home that they say no one will ever know about."  MORE >>


Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Plan Administrator
for Aimpoint Pension Plan Administrator

Aimpoint Pension

Telecommute / Pompano Beach FL

View job as Plan Administrator
for Aimpoint Pension

View job as Customer Experience Specialist
for Aimpoint Pension Customer Experience Specialist

Aimpoint Pension

Telecommute / Pompano Beach FL

View job as Customer Experience Specialist
for Aimpoint Pension

View job as Retirement Plan Administration Consultant
for TSC Retirement Plan Administration Consultant


Minneapolis MN

View job as Retirement Plan Administration Consultant
for TSC

View job as Retirement Plan Sales Consultant
for Edberg Perry Retirement Plan Sales Consultant

Edberg Perry

Phoenix AZ

View job as Relationship Manager
for WWA Integrated Wealth Strategy Group Relationship Manager

WWA Integrated Wealth Strategy Group

Dallas TX

View job as Sr Recordkeeping Specialist
for BlueStar Retirement Services, Inc Sr Recordkeeping Specialist

BlueStar Retirement Services, Inc


View job as DC Plan Administrator
for Retirement, LLC DC Plan Administrator

Retirement, LLC

Telecommute / Oklahoma City OK

Selected New Discussions

401(a)(4) Testing Using Attained Age or Age Nearest?

"We've always used age nearest for 401(a)(4) testing. Any comments or thoughts on using either attained age or age nearest in 401(a)(4) testing? And for DB/DC combo testing, does different definitions of 'age' matter (for example, DB is age nearest month, DC is age nearest or attained age)? (Testing usually is not a plan document provision.)"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Eligibility & Probationary Period

"A client that hires employees on a 3-month probationary period. Under the document, an employee becomes eligible on the 1/1 or 7/1 entry date after 1 Year of Service (1,000 hours). The employer wants to have that 1 year start after the probationary period. Is that allowed?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Lockton Adds Industry-Leading Talent in Philadelphia


The Society of Actuaries Announces ASA Curriculum Changes, Micro-Credentials and Affiliate Membership

Society of Actuaries

Benefit Plans Administrative Services Expands in Midwest


ICMA-RC is now MissionSquare Retirement

MissionSquare Retirement

OneDigital Acquires First Choice Benefits, Inc.


Webcasts and Conferences
(Retirement Plans or Exec Comp)

Multiemployer Pensions: The Special Financial Assistance Rules

July 14, 2021 WEBCAST

Groom Law Group

The Retirement Income Ecosystem: A 360 Degree View

July 21, 2021 WEBCAST

Pensions & Investments

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

The Boomer Wealth Boom

Steven Malanga, in City Journal

Supreme Court Set to Tackle Pleading Standard in Northwestern Retirement Plan Lawsuit

Groom Law Group

PBGC Issues Interim Final Rule on the American Rescue Plan Act's Special Financial Assistance Program


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

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