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Retirement Plans Newsletter

October 18, 2021

3 New Job Opportunities 3 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Provides Guidance to Multiemployer Plans on Funding Relief Under ARPA

"Highlights of Notice 2021-57: [1] Election of prior year's zone status.... [2] Election to extend funding improvement or rehabilitation period.... [3] Timing and submission of elections.... [4] Special 30-year amortization rule and asset valuation method."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

DOL Proposes ESG Investing Rules for Plan Fiduciaries

"The Proposed Regulations: [1] include language intended to counteract the negative perception of the use of climate change and other ESG factors in investment decisions caused by the 2020 ESG regulations; [2] clarify that a fiduciary's duty of prudence may often require an evaluation of the economic effects of climate change and other ESG factors; and [3] provide examples of how ESG concerns may be material to the fiduciary's risk-return analysis involved in selecting plan investments."  MORE >>

Ballard Spahr LLP

[Guidance Overview]

The DOL Pendulum Swings on ESG, But How Far Remains to Be Seen

"The proposed rule clarifies when and how ESG factors can be taken into account by an ERISA plan fiduciary.... Plan fiduciaries are no longer prohibited from choosing a QDIA that considers ESG factors if the investment alternative best serves the financial interest of the plan.... The proposed rule amends the current regulations regarding proxy voting policies in two noteworthy but generally modest ways."  MORE >>

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Proposes Rule Encouraging ESG and Proxy Voting, Reducing Documentation Requirements

"One change to the regulation likely to be welcomed by practitioners, fiduciaries, and investment analysts is the return to familiar investment concepts using terminology such as 'financial interests' and 'collateral benefits.' The term 'pecuniary' and its definition have been eliminated altogether."  MORE >>

Groom Law Group

[Guidance Overview]

DOL Proposes New ESG and Proxy Voting Regulation

"The (Biden) DOL's proposed regulation liberalizes, considerably, DOL's position on the fiduciary issues presented by retirement plan ESG investments and proxy voting."  MORE >>

October Three Consulting

Plaintiffs Claim Deloitte Breached ERISA Prudence Duties

"The suit alleges the defendants permitted the payment of excessive administrative and recordkeeping fees in the operation of a 401(k) plan and a profit-sharing plan provided to Deloitte employees." [Singh v. Deloitte, LLP, No. 21-8458 (S.D.N.Y. complaint filed Oct. 13, 2021)]  MORE >>


Spike in 401(k) Lawsuits Scrambles Fiduciary Insurance Market

"Companies facing litigation over their employees' 401(k) plan fees are increasingly discovering they'll have to pay $10 million or more in defense costs before their insurer will begin footing the bill.... Until recently, these policies were simple to acquire and inexpensive compared to other business insurance. But the market has changed 'pretty dramatically' in the past two years because of the extraordinary number of lawsuits challenging 401(k) plan fees[.]"  MORE >>

Bloomberg Law

Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon New Retirement Plan Designs: Degrees of Risk Sharing (PDF)

12 pages. "[T]his issue brief offers some thoughts on newer employer-based retirement plan designs that highlight the issue of risk sharing between plan sponsors and participants, as well as novel plan designs that provide lifetime income but where all the risk is borne by plan participants."  MORE >>

American Academy of Actuaries

2022 Increases for Retirement Plans, Social Security

"[T]he maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax will increase in 2022 from $142,800 to $147,000 ... IRS will soon release limits applicable to retirement plans for various purposes in 2022, based on a 5.34% increase in CPI-U between the 3rd quarter of 2020 and the 3rd quarter of 2021.... [The authors] expect increases in most limits applicable to retirement plans in 2022[.]"  MORE >>

October Three Consulting

Deadline Approaches for Termination of SIMPLE IRA Plans for 2022 (PDF)

"SIMPLE [IRA] Plans include all the administrative and fiduciary disadvantages of tax qualified retirement plans with none of the advantages of a self-administered tax qualified retirement plan the employer sponsors and controls. Employees and the investment source must be notified in writing before November 2, 2021 to terminate a SIMPLE Plan for 2022."  MORE >>

H.C.Foster & Company

Without the Backdoor, Aftertax IRA Contributions Don't Add Up

"[As] the backdoor Roth IRA loophole may be closing soon, higher-income investors are again confronting the possibility that their only IRA option may be to contribute aftertax dollars and let the funds ride into retirement. The question is: Is that even worth doing? ... By investing wisely in a taxable account, investors can obtain a decent level of tax deferral as well as capital gains treatment on their withdrawals, along with some flexibility they wouldn't get with an IRA."  MORE >>

Christine Benz, in Morningstar


Watch Out for Inadequate Disclosure Fees Charged to Your 401(k) Plan at Work

"The [DOL] requires 401(k) plans to disclose the fees they charge. However, fee disclosures can be presented in a way that is not transparent and that include unfamiliar terms, such as asset-based fees. GAO found that 45 percent of participants are not able to use the information given in disclosures to determine the costs of their investment fees."  MORE >>

Pension Rights Center

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

IRS Updates Procedures for FAQs: Improvements to Citations and Historical Versions, and Good-Faith Reliance

"Significant FAQs on newly enacted tax legislation, as well as any later updates or revisions to these FAQs, will now be announced in a news release and posted on in a separate Fact Sheet. These Fact Sheet FAQs will be dated to enable taxpayers to confirm the date on which any changes to the FAQs were made. Additionally, prior versions of Fact Sheet FAQs will be maintained on to ensure that, if a Fact Sheet FAQ is later changed, taxpayers can locate the version they relied on if they later need to do so. In addition to significant FAQs on new legislation, the IRS may apply this updated process in other contexts, such as when FAQs address emerging issues.

"To address concerns about the potential application of penalties to taxpayers who rely on an FAQ, the IRS is today releasing a statement clarifying that if a taxpayer relies on any FAQ (including FAQs released before today) in good faith and that reliance is reasonable, the taxpayer will have a 'reasonable cause' defense against any negligence penalty or other accuracy-related penalty if it turns out the FAQ is not a correct statement of the law as applied to the taxpayer's particular facts."  MORE >>

Internal Revenue Service [IRS]

[Guidance Overview]

Upcoming Deadline icon Are Your Employee Benefits Plans Ready for the New Year, or Is It the Same Auld Lang Syne?

"For retirement plans, hardship distribution amendments are due by December 31, 2021. For welfare plans, flexible spending account (FSA) amendments are due by December 31, 2021, and a number of the provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 need to be implemented by the plan year beginning on or after January 1, 2022. [This article provides] a quick year-end checklist for employee benefit plans."  MORE >>

Ogletree Deakins

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Relationship Manager
for The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm Relationship Manager

The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm

Remote / Pacific WA

View job as Relationship Manager
for The Retirement Plan Company (TRPC)/an ABG firm

View job as 401k & Defined Contribution Plan Consultant
for Planned Retirement Consultant & Administrators, LLC 401k & Defined Contribution Plan Consultant

Planned Retirement Consultant & Administrators, LLC

Remote / Ridgewood NJ

View job as Defined Benefit Plan Consultant
for Planned Retirement Consultants & Administrators, LLC Defined Benefit Plan Consultant

Planned Retirement Consultants & Administrators, LLC

Remote / Ridgewood NJ

Press Releases

ASPPA Honors Craig Hoffman with 2021 Harry T. Eidson Founders Award

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

Martin Rosenberg Academic Achievement Award Recipients Recognized

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

ASPPA Welcomes Natalie Wyatt as 2022 President

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

ASPPA Honors John Griffin with 2021 Educator's Award

ASPPA [American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries]

Webcasts and Conferences
(Retirement Plans / Executive Compensation)

Investigations & Enforcement: Processes, Procedures, Policies & Proper Practices

October 26, 2021 WEBCAST

Groom Law Group

Liability Driven Investment and De-Risking in a Post-Pandemic World

December 8, 2021 WEBCAST

Conference of Consulting Actuaries

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Congressional Research Service [CRS]

PBGC Updates Premium Rates for 2022

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

ERISA Plan Fiduciaries Given DOL Go-Ahead for Much Wider Use of ESG Investments

Sidley Austin LLP

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

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