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Retirement Plans Newsletter

January 26, 2022

9 New Job Opportunities 9 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

Life Expectancy Table Revised, Resulting in Lower Required Minimum Distributions

"As of January 1, 2022, the updated Uniform Life Table for calculating a required minimum distribution (RMD) has now taken effect. To account for the overall increase in current life expectancy, RMD factors have increased, resulting in lower required distributions from tax-deferred accounts in 2022 relative to last year."  MORE >>

Schneider Downs

[Guidance Overview]

IRS Updates Determination and Opinion Letter Procedures

"[1] IRS is transitioning this year to mandatory electronic submission of Form 5300 ... [2] No determination letters for PEPs yet.... [3] Adopters of preapproved plans ... must use Form 5307 ... (and not Form 5300) to request a determination on plan amendments intended to satisfy Internal Revenue Code Sections 415 and 416 because the employer maintains multiple plans.... [4] Copies of trust documents no longer required.... [5] Sponsors of plans that are dual-qualified under the US and Puerto Rico tax codes must submit a restated plan document showing compliance with the IRC and applicable Required Amendments List or Cumulative List.... [6] Starting July 1, 2022, [certain] user fees will increase."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Modifies Permitted Interest Rate for Determination of Substantially Equal Periodic Payments

"The use of the 5% interest rate is a substantial change from the previous rules and will greatly increase the amount that can be paid under the fixed amortization and fixed annuitization methods."  MORE >>


[Guidance Overview]

Best Interest Standard of Care for Advisors, Part 78: Mitigation of Incentive Effects of Payout Grids

"The DOL's position is simple ... keep the bands in the grid narrow and the increases in compensation modest for reaching a new band. The thinking is that narrower bands with more moderate increases will be less likely to incent an investment professional to make a recommendation (e.g., a rollover recommendation) that moves the professional into the higher band. That is consistent with the SEC's approach."  MORE >>

District Court Rejects Demand for Jury Trial in 401(k) Investment Litigation

"Plaintiffs were participants in Centerra's 401(k) plan who alleged that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the monitoring of various investment options that had excessive fees and underperformed.... While plaintiffs sought compensatory damages, a traditionally legal remedy, for their fiduciary-breach claims under ERISA Section 502(a)(2), the court reasoned that monetary relief is considered equitable when sought from ERISA fiduciaries." [Williams et al. v. Centerra Grp., LLC, No. 20-4220 (D.S.C. Jan. 7, 2022)]  MORE >>


Alert (High Risk Issue) icon Settlement Holds ERISA Lessons for Private Company Directors (PDF)

"Current board members should not have been negotiating with or influenced by the chairman in a situation where they may have reasonably feared their jobs were at stake.... Even absent the court's ruling on indemnification, any claims by the settling parties to be indemnified by Kurt could be problematic in the case of a 100% ESOP-owned company."  MORE >>

Cohen & Buckmann PC

Justices Make Short Work of Northwestern University's Fiduciary Defense

"The Court reasoned that the allegations in the Northwestern case are similar to that in Tibble as the participants allege that by continuing to include imprudent investments with excessive fees, they have failed to monitor and remove imprudent investments." [Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., No. 19-1401 (S. Ct. Jan. 24, 2022)]  MORE >>

Murphy Austin

What the Supreme Court's Northwestern Ruling Means in Practice

"ERISA attorneys say the new opinion ... while important, is far from earth-shattering when it comes to its likely impact on the pace or character of retirement plan fee litigation." [Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., No. 19-1401 (S. Ct. Jan. 24, 2022)]  MORE >>


The Supreme Court's Northwestern Decision: A Win for Plaintiffs But a Possible Turn in the Tide?

"[T]here is positive language for plan sponsors and fiduciaries in the unanimous decision that recognizes that fiduciary conduct must be judge in a context specific fashion at the time the challenged conduct occurred and with recognition of what are often competing considerations faced by fiduciaries." [Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., No. 19-1401 (S. Ct. Jan. 24, 2022)]  MORE >>

Groom Law Group

Supreme Court Revives ERISA Suit and Highlights the Necessity to Monitor Plan Investment Options: Action Steps for Plan Fiduciaries

"Going forward, plan fiduciaries should ... [1] Ensure plans include a reasonable number of diversified investment options; [2] Regularly, and carefully, monitor each investment alternative for return and costs; [3] Regularly, and carefully, monitor where the plan stands against peer plans of like sizes in terms of cost to participants; [4] Consider retaining independent experts to assist with, or take on, fiduciary duties relating to investments; and, of course, [5] Keep detailed, written, and contemporaneous records of committee meetings." [Hughes v. Northwestern Univ., No. 19-1401 (S. Ct. Jan. 24, 2022)]  MORE >>

Fisher Phillips

Help Your Plan Participants Weather Stock Market Volatility

"Help them stay calm.... Support them as they ride out the uncertainty storm.... Teach them to play dead.... Remind them that their portfolio is diversified.... Review your investment lineup."  MORE >>


Picking the Wrong Date on Your Target Date Fund Could Cost You a Lot of Money at Retirement

"Instead of investing in the target-date fund that you think best matches your anticipated year of retirement, consider investing instead in the one five years after your anticipated year of retirement."  MORE >>


Exceptional Usefulness and Quality icon Addressing and Avoiding Severe Fiscal Stress in Public Pension Plans

"This report provides actionable recommendations to help policymakers address pension funding issues and avoid worst-case scenarios. [The authors] provide a simple rating system to help stakeholders better understand the financial risks their plans face, discuss the policy options and mechanisms available to governments whose plans face a solvency crisis, and outline policy options that can help prevent plans from falling into a crisis."  MORE >>

Urban Institute

Selecting a Personalized Retirement Income Strategy

"The objective of this paper is to develop a richer, more comprehensive process for measuring individual preferences that is better suited to the complexities of retirement income planning. The alternative [the authors] define ... is based on six factors that identify distinct retiree preferences: probability-based versus safety-first, optionality versus commitment, time-based versus perpetuity income floors, accumulation versus distribution, front-loading versus back-loading retirement income, and true versus technical liquidity."  MORE >>

Alejandro Murguia and Wade D. Pfau, via SSRN


Analysis of Public Comments on DOL Proposed Regs for ESG and Proxy Voting in ERISA-Governed Retirement Plans (PDF)

"97% of commenters supported the DOL reversing the 2020 rules and clarifying that the use of ESG criteria in investment selection and proxy voting is consistent with fiduciary obligations under ERISA.... Eighty-three percent of institutional letters were supportive of the proposed rule, with some of these recommending modifications ... Individuals submitted over 22,000 comments, an unusually high level of participation ... Of these, 97.4% were in support of the proposed rule, with just 2.6% in opposition."  MORE >>

US SIF Foundation

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Senior Business Procedures Consultant
for MetLife Senior Business Procedures Consultant


Remote / New York NY

View job as Relationship Manager, Retirement Plan Services
for Avantax Planning Partners Relationship Manager, Retirement Plan Services

Avantax Planning Partners

Dubuque IA / Coppell TX

View job as Enrollment Specialist, Retirement Plan Services
for Avantax Planning Partners Enrollment Specialist, Retirement Plan Services

Avantax Planning Partners

Dubuque IA / Coppell TX

View job as Defined Contribution (DC) Plan Administrator
for CMC Interactive, LLC Defined Contribution (DC) Plan Administrator

CMC Interactive, LLC

Remote / New York NY

View job as Sales Support Specialist
for Alerus Sales Support Specialist



View job as Customer Operations L&D Manager - Retirement Services 401(k)
for Guideline, Inc. Customer Operations L&D Manager - Retirement Services 401(k)

Guideline, Inc.

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

View job as Pension Actuarial Analyst
for RAE Consulting Pension Actuarial Analyst

RAE Consulting

Horsham PA

View job as Director of Communications, Outreach & Legislative Affairs
for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] Director of Communications, Outreach & Legislative Affairs

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Remote / Washington DC

View job as Analyst, Retirement Compliance
for TriNet Analyst, Retirement Compliance



Selected New Discussions

Catch Up Contributions Allowed to Exceed 100% of Comp?

"Any chance we can get some definitive answers on the topic of whether catch up contributions are allowed to exceeds 100% of comp? The argument relates to Code section 414(v)(3)(A)(i) not actually specifying a requirement for 100% of comp for catch ups."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

11(g) Amendment to Provide Benefit for HCE Who Worked Under 1,000 Hours?

"CB/DC (401k + SH + PS) combo. Both plans require 1,000 hours for accruals/allocations. PS has last day requirement as well. One owner/HCE got very sick and only worked 100 hours but was still employed on the last day. Can an 11(g) amendment be made just for this HCE and have him accrue benefits for 2021?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Can Amend Already-Filed Tax Return (on Extension) to Make and Show an Employer Contribution?

"An employer filed his September 30, 2021 1120S tax return a few weeks ago. This return did not include any employer contributions. Subsequent to filing the return, which was on extension until June 15, 2022, he has decided he would like to fund an employer contribution. Is there some rule that indicates that once you file the return it's case closed, or is it permissible to amend under the circumstances?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Definiti Strengthens Presence in Great Lakes Region with Two Acquisitions

Definiti LLC

National Professional Planning Group (NPPG) Announces Launch of New Pooled Employer Plan


Webcasts and Conferences
(Retirement Plans / Executive Compensation)

Simplifying the QDRO Process Through Common-Sense Disclosure Rights for Former Spouses

February 17, 2022 WEBCAST

American Bar Association Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB]

IRA University

February 23, 2022 WEBCAST


Last Issue's Most Popular Items

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


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

Fiduciary News; free registration required

NFL Players Pension Red Zone: $7 Billion


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

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