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Retirement Plans Newsletter

September 12, 2023

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[Official Guidance]

Text of PBGC Interest Rate Assumptions for Valuing Benefits in Single-Employer Plans, Fourth Quarter 2023

"The fourth quarter 2023 interest assumptions will be 5.06 percent for the first 20 years following the valuation date and 4.37 percent thereafter. In comparison with the interest assumptions in effect for the third quarter of 2023, these interest assumptions represent no change in the select period (the period during which the select rate (the initial rate) applies), a decrease of 0.18 percent in the select rate, and a decrease of 0.21 percent in the ultimate rate (the final rate)."  MORE >>

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]


Culpepper RFP: Detailed RFP Evaluations For Plan Sponsors

Culpepper RFP works with plan sponsors and internal and external ERISA counsel for RFP evaluations of service providers of retirement and benefit plans + DOL cyber assessments. Please contact for more information.

Sponsored by Culpepper RFP

Retirement Plans in Mergers and Acquisitions: What Questions Should You Be Asking?

"During a merger or acquisition, careful attention must be paid to the seller’s retirement plan(s) to ensure there are no issues after the transaction. With proper planning, there can be a smooth transition with minimal impact on the employees."  MORE >>


Data Quality Is Biggest Challenge to ESG Investing

"The quality of ESG data remains a major headache for investors as they try to incorporate sustainability issues into their decision-making ... [This poll of] investors, covering asset owners and managers, hedge funds and private equity firms, finds that 71 percent view 'inconsistent and incomplete' data as the biggest barrier to ESG investing. Data issues rank ahead of other challenges, such as greenwashing (cited by 61 percent of respondents) and reconciling ESG investing with fiduciary duties (53 percent)."  MORE >>

Corporate Secretary

Pension Funds Are Investing in Wealth Management Firms

"Hundreds of wealth management firms are sold every year, mostly to other wealth managers. Large ones have occasionally raised capital from, or been acquired by, traditional private equity firms, insurance companies and family offices. A direct investment from a pension fund is rare but now it's happened at least twice this year."  MORE >>

Institutional Investor

How 401(k) Plan Participants Use Loans Over Time: An Analysis of Loan Activity of Consistent 401(k) Plan Participants, 2016-2020 (PDF)

"Overall, 29 percent of 401(k) participants in the sample had an outstanding loan at some point in the five years analyzed, compared with 18 percent at year-end 2016 ... among participants in their 20s at year-end 2016, 7 percent had outstanding loans at year-end 2016. However, when the five years analyzed are considered altogether, 21 percent of participants in their 20s had taken out plan loans.... New loans tended to be modest relative to account balances and decreased over time."  MORE >>

Investment Company Institute [ICI]

Pension Funding Index, September 2023

"The funded status of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit pension plans worsened by $4 billion during August ... Asset losses outweighed liability gains, which dropped the funding surplus to $43 billion. Pension liabilities fell due to an increase in the benchmark corporate bond interest rates used to value those liabilities. As of August 31, the funded ratio declined to 103.3% from 103.6% at the end of July."  MORE >>


World's Top Pension Funds See the Largest Fall in Assets in 20 Years

"By the end of 2022, combined assets of the world's top 300 pension funds had decreased by 12.9% and now total $20.6 trillion compared with $23.6 trillion at the end of 2021.... The latest drop [is] greater than the 12.6% decline in 2008, at the time of the global financial crisis. Until now, the 2008 fall had been the fastest annual decline recorded in the 20 years of the study."  MORE >>

Willis Towers Watson

How a Former Teacher Is Educating the World About 403(b)s

"The [403bwise website] has an abundance of educational posts, a related podcast and, most recently, a growing database of school districts' plans. Each plan gets a grade, and the investment providers in the plan also have traffic-light-style ratings. Of the roughly 13,500 school districts in the U.S., 403bwise has ratings for more than a third, with data covering over half of the country's teachers[.]"  MORE >>

InvestmentNews; subscription may be required

Differences in Use and Perceptions of Retirement Planning Information Sources by Race and Ethnicity: Findings From the Understanding America Study

"[This study uses] data from the Understanding America Study (UAS) to measure how people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds view various retirement planning information sources, in terms of accessibility, understandability, accuracy, and usefulness. Exploring these perceptions may help identify opportunities to disseminate information in a way that reduces disparities in OASI program knowledge."  MORE >>

Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA]

Saving for Retirement Along with Concurrent Financial Goals

"This post explores financial goal-setting including the benefits of having goals, SMART goals, sequential and concurrent goal-setting, the cost of delayed savings for financial goals, and how to save for multiple goals. It also summarizes research about financial decision-making and the value of goals-based financial planning, as well as three 'need to know' facts and six take-away action steps."  MORE >>


PBGC Approves $3.2 Million in SFA for Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 94 Fund

"[PBGC] has approved the application submitted to the Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program by the Plasterers and Cement Masons Local No. 94 Pension Fund. The plan, based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, covers 108 participants in the construction industry. On May 1, 2019, the [Plan] implemented a benefit suspension under [MPRA] and was partitioned into two plans.... PBGC's approval ... rescinds the partition and enables the plan to restore all benefits suspended under the terms of MPRA[.]"  MORE >>

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]


Amicus Brief to Tenth Circuit Supporting AT&T Appeal Effort in Recordkeeping Claims Case (PDF)

37 pages. "The panel's decision renders standard and ubiquitous contracts in American retirement plans presumptively unlawful.... The panel's decision will open the floodgates to speculative recordkeeping claims.... Allowing claims that all re-negotiations of service provider agreements are prohibited transactions unless proven otherwise will have far-reaching negative consequences for plan sponsors, fiduciaries, and participants.... The panel's interpretation of ERISA's text did not consider the entirety of Section 406." [Bugielski v. AT&T Servs., Inc., No. 21-56196 (9th Cir. Aug. 4, 2023; pet. for rehearing filed Sep. 1, 2023)]  MORE >>

The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC], American Benefits Council, Society of Professional Asset Managers and Recordkeepers [SPARK] and Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets Inc. [CIEBA]

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Sales Consultant
            for Great Lakes Pension Associates, Inc.

Sales Consultant

Great Lakes Pension Associates, Inc.

Remote / MI

View job as Sales Consultant for Great Lakes Pension Associates, Inc.

Selected New Discussions

Safe Harbor Plan with Different Eligibility for Deferrals and Safe Harbor

"We have a plan with immediate eligibility for elective deferrals and delayed eligibility for the safe harbor match (I believe the standard 12-month with entry date). I know the ADP test is required for the <1 year group and the exclusion rule can be used, so the ADP test is not an issue. Someone in this group mentioned in the past though that top-heavy could be an issue. So when only safe harbor match is funded, no profit sharing, this plan is not deemed to meet top heavy rules because of the differing eligibility? And not only that, all participants would be eligible for the top heavy contribution if the plan were top heavy. Fortunately it is not but climbing and getting into the danger zone -- approaching 50%. We always applied top heavy 3% to plans with different eligibility when profit sharing was funded. 90% of our plans are top heavy and have same eligibility for all sources. But this plan with only delayed safe harbor is a unique plan for us."

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Funding a Terminated DB After Benefits Paid Out?

"DB Plan for a small law firm with 5 participants. Non-PBGC. Plan terminated 9/15/2022 and all benefits were paid by 10/15/2022. There remains about $5,000 which they will use to pay our fees for the termination and administration. The 100% shareholder took a $70,000 haircut to his benefits when distributions were paid. The 100% shareholder now wants to fund $65,000 from the company for 2022 only to himself in the terminated defined benefit plan and then take a distribution of the $65,000. This to make up for the haircut he took. Does anyone think there would be a problem with this?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

New Report Shows Employers Making Progress on Workplace Mental Health; However, Women, People of Color, Working Parents, and Remote Workers Say Support and Culture Are Lacking

LifeSpeak Inc.

The Standard Engages with NFP to Launch Pooled Employer Plan Solution

The Standard

Inaugural ‘State of Weight Care’ Report Reveals Employers are Grappling with How to Navigate Obesity Coverage


Aflac Is the First Insurance Carrier Approved to Provide Voluntary Paid Family Leave Insurance in Virginia


New Report From PeopleKeep Highlights Employers' Robust Use of ICHRAs to Cover Higher-Tier Health Insurance Plans


MedCity News and Quantum Health Launch New Healthcare Benefit Consultant Sentiment Index: Predicts Point Solution Consolidation and Employer Need for Integration

MedCity News

National Association of Plan Advisors to Launch New Research, Data Arm

National Association of Plan Advisors [NAPA]

Webcasts and Conferences
(Retirement Plans / Executive Compensation)

Megatrends Impacting the Future of Retirement Plans

September 13, 2023 WEBINAR

Society of Actuaries

Updates in Employee Benefits

September 20, 2023 WEBINAR

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

Leveraging DC Plan Design: Evolving to Improve Participant Outcomes

September 27, 2023 WEBINAR

Pensions & Investments

The Best of the Worst EPCRS 2023 [Repeat]

October 19, 2023 WEBINAR


IRA Withholding Rules - And Getting them Right

October 24, 2023 WEBINAR


Last Issue's Most Popular Items

2023 Q&As: PBGC Meeting with ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (PDF)

Joint Committee on Employee Benefits [JCEB], American Bar Association

IRS Issues 2023 RMD Relief Following SECURE 2.0 Act Changes (PDF)

Groom Law Group

DOL Sends New Fiduciary Rule to OMB

Groom Law Group

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

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