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Retirement Plans Newsletter

October 10, 2023

5 New Job Opportunities 5 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

DOL Greenlights Citi's Program for Diverse Managers in 'Groundbreaking' Opinion

"Citi has announced plans for a voluntary program that's part of its larger Action for Racial Equity initiative ... Under the Diverse Asset Manager Program, Citi commits to pay all or part of the fees of diverse asset managers for the ERISA plans it sponsors.... [Advisory Opinion 2023-01A] applies to Citi's ERISA-covered plans, which include defined benefit and defined contributions plans."  MORE >>

Pensions & Investments

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Suit Over Arbitration Clauses in ERISA Plans

Issue: Whether a participant in an ERISA plan who asserts statutory claims under that statute can be compelled, pursuant to a binding arbitration provision, to submit his claims to individual arbitration. [Harrison v. Envision Mgmt. Holding, Inc. Bd. of Directors, No. 22-1098 (10th Cir. Feb. 9, 2023; Argent Trust Co. v. Harrison, No. 23-30, cert. denied Oct. 4, 2023)]   MORE >>


Prudent Process Is Key to Plan's Victory in Excessive Fees Suit

"[P]lan participants alleged that the 401(k) plan's fiduciary committee failed to select low cost investment alternatives for the plan's lineup, and to monitor the plan's recordkeeping expenses, both of which led the plan to pay excessive fees ... In finding against the plaintiffs, the court ... pointed to consistent and reasonable actions that the committee took throughout the class period to manage plan fees." [Nunez v. B. Braun Medical Inc., No. 20-4195 (E.D. Penn. Aug. 18, 2023)]  MORE >>

Shipman & Goodwin LLP

GE to Pay Record-Setting $61 Million to Resolve 401(k) Proprietary Funds ERISA Lawsuit

"Plaintiffs allege the GE Funds were managed by GEAM, GE's wholly owned investment management company, and were the only actively managed options available to Plan participants. The GE Funds, allegedly, substantially underperformed other comparable funds during the Class Period." [Haskins v. General Electric, No. 17-12123 (D. Mass. proposed settlement agreement filed Oct. 6, 2023)]  MORE >>

401(k) Specialist

Complaints Allege Improper Use of 401(k) Plan Forfeitures

"In two recent lawsuits, plan fiduciaries have been accused of violating ERISA by using plan forfeitures to offset future employer contributions, as well as to pay administrative expenses. The use of forfeitures ... to offset employer contributions is a longstanding practice explicitly permitted under Treasury regulations and consistent with guidance from the [DOL][.]" [Dimou v. Thermo Fisher Scientific, No. 23-1732 (S.D. Calif. complaint filed Sep. 19, 2023); Rodriguez v. Intuit, Inc., No. 23-5053 (N.D. Calif. complaint filed Oct. 2, 2023)]  MORE >>

PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Recordkeeper Benchmarking: It's About More Than Fees

"[T]here are four complementary reasons to benchmark [recordkeeping] services: [1] To do the best possible for an organization's employees; [2] Because recordkeepers have innovated and responded to participants' demands to a degree that more is now available for less; [3] To comply with the DOL's 408(b)(2) regulation's requirements that fees be reasonable; and [4] Because the courts expect that it occur regularly (perhaps as frequently as every three years)."  MORE >>

Qualified Plan Advisors [QPA]

U.S. Pension Briefing, September 2023

"September saw a remarkable surge in pension discount rates, reaching levels unseen in over a decade. Global equities and fixed income both posted negative returns. Pension plans, on the whole, maintained or slightly improved their funded status, as asset declines were slightly less than liability decreases."  MORE >>



ERIC Asks SEC to Withdraw Proposed Rule on Financial Technologies (PDF)

"Despite its supposed focus on artificial intelligence and predictive data analytics, the actual proposal is sweeping.... [B]asic tools currently in widespread use would be subject to new review and documentation rules, such as basic retirement readiness applications, phone applications, and chatbots.... [T]he proposed regulation's economic analysis does not specifically account for the potential costs for retirement savers or employers, which could be substantial. Nor does the economic analysis quantify either the need for this regulation or the potential benefits for retirement savers."  MORE >>

The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC]


Aspire: A Non-Advisor 403(b) Option

"403(b) plan participants have access to their own financial supermarket.... Aspire Financial Services ... provides access to more than 10,000 mutual funds from over 500 fund families ... Many 403(b) participants do not know that Aspire exists because it does not employ salespeople to pitch its products in faculty lunchrooms. This post explores various aspects of Aspire as a 403(b) plan investment provider including its use as a 'back door' to low-expense investments ... It also summarizes a comparison of 403(b) plan expenses and performance as well as three 'need to know' facts and six take-away action steps."  MORE >>


Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
            for Pension Inc.

Retirement Plan Administrator

Pension Inc.

Green Bay WI / Hybrid

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator for Pension Inc.

View job as DC Retirement Plan Consultant
            for EGPS

DC Retirement Plan Consultant



View job as DC Retirement Plan Consultant for EGPS

View job as DB Retirement Plan Consultant
            for EGPS

DB Retirement Plan Consultant


Remote / Franklin Square NY

View job as DB Retirement Plan Consultant for EGPS

View job as 3(16) Distribution Coordinator
            for ERISA Services, Inc.

3(16) Distribution Coordinator

ERISA Services, Inc.


View job as 3(16) Distribution Coordinator for ERISA Services, Inc.

View job as Retirement Plan Data Analyst - Seasonal
            for ERISA Services, Inc.

Retirement Plan Data Analyst - Seasonal

ERISA Services, Inc.


View job as Retirement Plan Data Analyst - Seasonal for ERISA Services, Inc.

Selected New Discussions

5500 Count: Terminated Participants with Zero Beginning Balance

"I have a plan that was audit level in 2021. They are current at 101 participants. Two participants terminated in 2021 has a zero balance on 1/1/2022, but received lost earnings within the year. Datair is counting them in the 2022 beginning participant count. Since they didn't have a beginning balance, should they considered a participant for the Form 5500 count?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Retroactive Plan Termination

"We have a defined benefit plan that is seriously underfunded, with a required contribution needed for 2022. Benefit accruals have since been, prospectively, frozen with appropriate advance notices. (This was actually done several years ago.) I also note that the plan is NOT covered by PBGC. One thing that the Client is being advised to do is to have the Plan be deemed terminated retroactively. For example, amend the plan NOW to say the plan was deemed terminated as of 12/31/2021. Is this allowed?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

Retirement Advisor Council Launches FinLitFuture$

Retirement Advisor Council

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

Retirement Plan Sponsors Have Few 2023 Year-End Amendments


DOL Advisory Opinion Outlines Approach for Citi's Diverse Plan Investment Manager Hiring Program

Groom Law Group

Texas Federal Court Approves DOL's ESG Rule

October Three Consulting

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

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