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Retirement Plans Newsletter

January 25, 2022

5 New Job Opportunities 5 New Job Opportunities


Supreme Court Reaffirms Duties of Retirement Plan Sponsors to Monitor and Update Investment Options

"The most important part of the opinion probably will be its rejection of the 7th Circuit's 'exclusive focus on investor choice,' which reflects a decisive holding that it is not enough to insulate sponsors from liability to identify well-designed options that employees could have chosen. Rather, sponsors have an ongoing duty to protect employees from making poor investment choices by monitoring and removing those choices from the menu of the plan." [Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., No. 19-1401 (S. Ct. Jan. 24, 2022)]  MORE >>


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Supreme Court Holds That Investor Choice Does Not Categorically Preclude ERISA Claims for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

"Citing Tibble, the Court stated that the mere availability of adequate investment options does not categorically prevent ERISA plaintiffs from stating a plausible claim for breach of the duty of prudence ... In evaluating whether the plan participants' allegations were sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss, the Court applied well-settled pleading rules and did not adopt an ERISA-specific standard." [Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., No. 19-1401 (S. Ct. Jan. 24, 2022)]  MORE >>

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

After the SCOTUS Northwestern Ruling, Are TDFs a Ticking Time Bomb of Fiduciary Liability?

"When assessing the potential for fiduciary liability, one can divide the risks into two categories: conflicts-of-interest and failure of process. In neither case is poor performance itself seen as a stand-alone risk, but it often precipitates an action in one of these two categories." [Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., No. 19-1401 (S. Ct. Jan. 24, 2022)]  MORE >>

Fiduciary News; free registration required

Financial Wellness Is No Longer Just a Buzzword

"Among the financial challenges of the pandemic and the ongoing fight for talent in today's market, employees are demanding more support from employers than ever before. Almost 80% said it was important that their employer offers financial wellness benefits, and over 70% say these benefits are even now more critical than pre-pandemic.... 68% would prioritize having better financial wellness benefits above an extra week of vacation."  MORE >>

Enterprise Iron

How to Promote Long-Term Savings in an Era of Meme Stocks

"While it's fascinating to watch, the inherent volatility of meme stocks flies in the face of the savings strategies promoted by most plan sponsors. However, the trend may provide an unexpected benefit by giving plan sponsors a chance to educate employees (especially younger ones) about saving and investing in general. Capitalize on the curiosity, and you may transform one-time meme stock pickers into long-term savers."  MORE >>


Trends and Tips to Boost Your 401(k) Advisory Practice in 2022

"There will be a continued emphasis on financial wellness in 2022 ... Student loan debt ... represents a barrier to financial wellness and retirement savings.... [M]anaged accounts, which when incorporated into a retirement plan design, can provide a more tailored approach for investors, particularly as they enter the later stages of their careers.... In an industry challenged by fee pressure, it may make sense to consider adding collective investment trusts to your arsenal of offerings."  MORE >>

Fiduciary Benchmarks

PBGC Approves Special Financial Assistance Application of Insolvent Multiemployer Plan

"[PBGC] has approved the application submitted to the Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program by the Local 408 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America Pension Plan.... The Local 408 Plan became insolvent in September 2021.... PBGC's approval of the SFA application enables the plan to restore all benefit reductions caused by the plan's insolvency and to make payments to retirees to cover prior benefit reductions.... The plan will receive $100.5 million in SFA[.]"  MORE >>

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Local 707 Retirees in New York on Road to Getting Benefits Restored Due to Butch Lewis Act and PBGC

"The plan should receive its SFA lump sum payment by March 20 ... Retirees who had their benefits cut should begin getting repaid as early as three months after the PBGC makes the SFA payment to the plan. Over 90 percent of the plan's retirees have been receiving reduced benefits since the plan became insolvent. Forty-four percent of the Local 707 retirees saw their benefits reduced by more than 50 percent."  MORE >>

Pension Rights Center

Policy Proposals Could Help Tackle Retirement Savings Shortfalls

"[F]or households that are projected to have a retirement deficit, combining two proposals -- the [Automatic Contribution Plan/Arrangement (ACPA)] provisions and enhanced Saver's Credit -- would reduce retirement savings shortfalls by 17% to 26%, depending on race."  MORE >>


Sagging Stocks Aren't the Only Threat to Public Employee Pension Plan Funding

"Even if stock market returns end up being disappointing this year, however, pension plans potentially have one other thing going for them. States, and to a lesser extent localities, are flush right now, thanks to billions in aid from Washington and strong revenue collections. Many are choosing to use some of their extra cash to pay down longstanding pension debt."  MORE >>


NFL Players Pension Red Zone: $7 Billion

"It is Super Bowl time which, for some of us, means that the new 5500 for the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan is out and we get a better idea of how much Joe Burrow really has in common with a Cleveland Iron Worker."  MORE >>


Executive Compensation and Nonqualified Plans

SEC's Ears Remain Perked Up for an Abundance of Executive Perks

"On the heels of an active FY 2020, the SEC continued to closely scrutinize and, when it deemed appropriate, take action against issuers for allegedly deficient perks-related disclosures. Here's a boiled-down look back at three significant cases from the last year."  MORE >>

Holland & Knight

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Conversions Specialist
for BlueStar Retirement Services, Inc. Conversions Specialist

BlueStar Retirement Services, Inc.


View job as Conversions Specialist
for BlueStar Retirement Services, Inc.

View job as Senior Actuarial Analyst
for USI Insurance Services Senior Actuarial Analyst

USI Insurance Services

Glastonbury CT / Louisville KY / Minneapolis MN / Uniondale NY / New York NY / Pittsburgh PA / Brentwood TN / Cleveland OH

View job as Retirement Planning Specialist
for Capital Planning Advisors Retirement Planning Specialist

Capital Planning Advisors

Roseville CA

View job as Senior Backend Software Engineer
for Guideline, Inc. Senior Backend Software Engineer

Guideline, Inc.

Remote / CA / CO / FL / GA / MA / ME / MI / NC / NY / OH / PA / SC / TX / WA

View job as Customer Success Business Analyst
for Guideline, Inc. Customer Success Business Analyst

Guideline, Inc.

Remote / CA / CO / FL / GA / MA / ME / MI / NC / OH / OR / PA / SC / TX / WA

Selected New Discussions

Can Use Form 5500-EZ If Non-Owner Employees Never Eligible (Fewer Than 1,000 Hours)?

"For a business to be eligible to file a Form 5500-EZ, can the business have employees when none of them is eligible due to the eligibility requirement? Case in point, summer camp where counselors all work less than 1,000 hours. Only the owners (husband and wife) work 1,000+ so only husband and wife are participants."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Compensation Definition in 401(k) Plan: Moving from W-2 Wages to 'Guaranteed Payments'

"Small 401k plan (about 6 participants) uses Form W-2 wages for plan compensation. The owner wants to switch from paying 2 wages to providing 'guaranteed payments' to all employees. He says they can withhold 401k contributions before making the guaranteed payments. Can these wages still be used for 401k plan purposes?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Catch-Up Contributions: Interplay of 402(g) and 415

"I would very much appreciate your feedback to confirm my understanding of the interplay between the 402(g) and 415 limit with respect to catch-up contributions. I have a catch-up eligible participant who deferred $24,960 for 2021. Of this amount, $5,460 is considered a 402(g) catch-up. I believe I'm allowed to re-characterize the remaining $1,040 as a 415 catch-up correct?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

SPARK and DCIIA Team Up to Address Needs of Retirement Plan Advisors

SPARK Institute

BenefitBump Added to Vitality Gateway Flex Health and Wellness Marketplace


WTW Celebrates New Name and NASDAQ Ticker Symbol with Market Opening Ceremony


aequum Reveals 2022 Outlook for Employer Sponsored Health Plans: Strategies and Cost-Containment Opportunities to Minimize Risk and Optimize Value

aequum LLC

Webcasts and Conferences
(Retirement Plans / Executive Compensation)

Insurance Company Responsibilities and Practices Under PTE 84-24 and PTE 2020-02

February 22, 2022 WEBCAST

Faegre Drinker

2022 CCA Enrolled Actuaries Conference

March 2, 2022 WEBCAST

Conference of Consulting Actuaries

EmployerLINC2022: Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Seminar

April 6, 2022 WEBCAST

McAfee & Taft

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Supreme Court Opinion: Seventh Circuit Erred in Relying on Participants' Ultimate Choice Over Their Investments to Excuse Allegedly Imprudent Decisions by Plan Fiduciaries (PDF)

Supreme Court of the United States

Top Employee Benefit Trends for 2022 (PDF)


DOL Updates Form 5500 for PEPs and MEPs; No Decision Yet on Group of Plan Issues

Morgan Lewis

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

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