Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

By Fred Barstein4/24/2014 • 0 Comments

Qualified retirement plans offer employees significant tax savings and have become a mainstay of most group benefits. But to maintain their qualified status, they must comply with a set of comprehensive rules and regulations. Failure to comply can result in the immediate taxation of all participants and the loss of the business expense for company contributions, as well as personal and legal repercussions for fiduciaries. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/14/2014 • 0 Comments

Responding to the lack of access to work-site retirement plans, Illinois became the latest state to propose a mandatory retirement plan for private-sector employers. The “Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program” would be a portable IRA-like plan mandatory for all companies with 25 or more employees that have been in existence for at least two years.

READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/13/2014 • 0 Comments

The DoL’s expanded fiduciary definition rule could reduce retirement savings by 20 to 40 percent, according to a study commissioned by Davis & Harman LLP on behalf of a coalition of financial services organizations, including banks, insurance companies, brokerage firms and mutual funds that service the retirement industry.  READ MORE

By Fred Barstein4/13/2014 • 0 Comments

While some mid-market and small record keepers have been heralding the equitable allocation of revenue sharing, very few if any micro market providers offer it. But since June 2013, as a new white paper by Fred Reish tells us, Paychex has offered the service to the smallest of plans.  READ MORE

Craig Hoffman

Craig Hoffman

Craig Hoffman

By Craig Hoffman4/11/2014 • 0 Comments

The Department of Labor released its long-promised proposal to require that a guide or summary accompany a covered service provider’s 408(b)2) disclosures on March 11. The final 408(b)(2) regulations, which became effective July 1, 2012, left this question open, with the DOL promising to revisit the issue in the future. Release of the March 11 proposed rule makes good on that promise. READ MORE

John Iekel

John Iekel

John Iekel

By John Iekel4/30/2014 • 0 Comments

The Moving Ahead for the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) pension-funding stabilization provisions, which have been in effect for two years, are most likely to be applied to the determination of funding requirements of larger plans, those with lower funding ratios and plans with a higher number of inactive participants, a new Society of Actuaries (SOA) study shows. The SOA based its research on the data that defined benefit plans reported on their 2012 Form 5500 filings, the most recent the federal government has made publicly available. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/29/2014 • 0 Comments

Target date funds play an increasingly important role in retirement plans, and monitoring a plan’s TDF options is fast becoming one of the most important fiduciary obligations plan sponsors face in managing their retirement plan investment lineup. According to a white paper by Cammack Retirement Group, TDFs hold more than half a trillion dollars, including DC plan assets, and there’s no end in sight. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/27/2014 • 0 Comments

More and more employers are making Roth accounts available within their DC plans — and more employees are taking them up on the offer, according to a new white paper from Aon Hewitt. The number of employers that offer Roths within their DC plans more than quadrupled over the last six years, hitting 50 percent by last year. 
READ MORE

By John Iekel4/25/2014 • 0 Comments

Defined contribution plans that were rewritten between May 1, 2008 and April 30, 2010 and that the IRS pre-approved need to be restated with the IRS. The six-year restatement period begins May 1, 2014 and ends April 30, 2016. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/25/2014 • 0 Comments

In two recent pronouncements, the IRS issued plan document guidance for pre-approved defined contribution plans being restated for the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (Announcement 2014-16), as well as 403(b) arrangements (Revenue Procedure 2014-28). According to the latest ASPPA asap, written by Richard A. Hochman, the guidance is a mixed bag. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/24/2014 • 0 Comments

A recent GAO report found that while 81,000 new employer-sponsored retirement plans were formed during the 3-year period between 2009 and 2011, the overall trend was negative due to plan terminations — even with increased tax incentives. In addition, new plan formation during that period was below 2003-2007 levels. But the news was not all bad: The number of participants grew. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/23/2014 • 0 Comments

Just under half of employers in a study by the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute say that the Affordable Care Act has affected the way they run their retirement plans and how much they spend on them. Fifty-five percent of the surveyed employers that have made changes because of the ACA said they are spending less on their plans and shifting costs to their employees.
READ MORE

By John Iekel4/22/2014 • 0 Comments

The IRS can do more to identify improper deductions for contributions the self-employed make to their simplified employee pension plan retirement accounts. And it could bring in $71 million over five years if it does, says the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in a recently released report. 

READ MORE

By John Iekel4/21/2014 • 0 Comments

Pension funding status slipped in March and liabilities grew, says a report by consulting and actuarial firm Milliman, Inc. Milliman reports that for 100 of the largest U.S. DB plans, pension liabilities grew to the tune of a collective $5 billion. Milliman blamed a drop in the monthly discount rate to 4.30 percent, down 0.08 from February’s 4.32 percent.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/16/2014 • 0 Comments

In an exclusive interview with Christopher Carosa of FiduciaryNews, ASPPA Executive Director/CEO Brian Graff reaffirms his strong support, and that of ASPPA and its sister organizations, for real and tangible action to ensure a secure retirement for working Americans. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/14/2014 • 0 Comments

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has proposed allowing an employee to roll over funds from a DC plan into a DB plan.The proposal, which the PBGC issued on April 1 and was published in the Federal Register on April 2, is intended to increase returns by making rollovers easier and removing limits that could inhibit retirement saving.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/14/2014 • 0 Comments

A majority of small businesses said in a recent study that the fee disclosure statements they receive from plan providers and vendors are more understandable than those they received in 2012.

READ MORE

By John Iekel4/14/2014 • 0 Comments

New guidance from the IRS may make the plan-to-plan rollover process a little smoother. Revenue Ruling 2014-9, issued on April 3, is intended to make it easier for plan participants to consolidate their retirement savings accounts by making it easier for them to move assets from one employer plan to another.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/13/2014 • 0 Comments

The funding ratio of DB benefit plans sponsored by employers in the S&P 1500 offer fell slightly in March. Mercer found that the funding ratios of those companies’ DB plans slipped to 85 percent; it had been 87 percent in February.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/11/2014 • 0 Comments

“I’m a fiduciary? What does that mean?” Strange as it may seem, there are plenty of plan sponsors who ask that question — more than half of them, in fact, according to Unified Trust Company CEO Dr. Gregory W. Kasten. In an ASPPA webcast, “Breaking Down the Many Fiduciary Roles, Obligations and Service Models,” he offered information to dispel the fog regarding what a fiduciary does and can do.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/10/2014 • 0 Comments

Plan advisors are well aware that one of their clients’ newest — not to mention most publicized and even controversial — demands is fee disclosure. To meet that demand, some advisors are going a step further. Investment News reports that some advisors are providing fee policy statements in addition to the required information. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/10/2014 • 0 Comments

Many employers match a certain percentage of what their employees defer into their 401(k)s. In the wake of the recent debacle at AOL, Investment News looked at the advantages and disadvantages of providing the match on an annual basis. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Some rays of sun appear to be dispelling the gloom that has long engulfed employees’ confidence in their ability to fund a comfortable retirement. The Employee Benefit Research Institute in its 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) reports that more than half of employees are at least somewhat confident of that. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Your clients offer 401(k) plans, and all have 401(k) plan committees. Those committees have fiduciary responsibility, and it’s in your clients’ interest to make sure they are fulfilling their duties. They can do that through meetings of those committees and quarterly reviews, our friends at the 401khelpcenter remind us, and offer some tips on those functions. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/8/2014 • 0 Comments

Advisors can still play an important role in helping plan sponsors and participants manage an employee’s funds even after retirement, a new study by Vanguard suggests. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/8/2014 • 0 Comments

Offering participants too many options can discourage enrollment. But what’s the “sweet spot” in terms of the optimal number of enrollment options? A test by Fidelity found that 78 percent of participants preferred a three-part enrollment option — and that those who chose that option contributed more.

READ MORE

By John Iekel4/7/2014 • 0 Comments

IRS guidance and a pointed reminder from an industry group illustrate the increased frequency and importance of rollovers, not to mention that they are piquing the interest of federal regulators and interest groups.   READ MORE

By John Iekel4/7/2014 • 0 Comments

More than 50 million employees in the United States participate in a 401(k) plan, and recent research shows strong employee interest in contributing part of one’s salary to achieve a comfortable retirement. Employers have a variety of features they can incorporate in the plans they offer, and they can use them to increase not only assets, but employee participation and involvement too.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/7/2014 • 0 Comments

Sometimes rules are made to be broken — even when they are long-standing and seem rock-solid. The 4 percent rule is one, and “Breaking the 4 Percent Rule,” a recent paper by J.P. Morgan makes the case for that. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/6/2014 • 0 Comments

Municipal bankruptcies like Detroit’s bring into sharp relief the effect such financial strains can have on pensions, as well as the effect of what local and state governments do. But there is good news — most states have taken steps to protect public-sector pensions.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/6/2014 • 0 Comments

Target date funds reflect that flexibility and engagement have become firmly entrenched aspects of retirement plan management for both participants and plan sponsors. In a NAPA webinar, “Target Date Trends and Evaluation,” T. Rowe Price’s Jerome A. Clark discussed how TDFs reflect greater discretion over how funds are managed. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/6/2014 • 0 Comments

Is your pension plan fully funded? The answer is relevant to more than individual participants’ accounts, as Bob Collie posits in the Fiduciary Matters Blog. A plan’s funding level also affects how a plan’s assets are allocated and invested, as well as pension de-risking.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/6/2014 • 0 Comments

Saying that she is troubled by 401(k) providers that are circumventing the 408(b)(2) fee disclosure rule’s demands, EBSA’s Phyllis Borzi warned providers March 11 that they need to do a better job at following the rule’s requirements to provide information that is easy to understand. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/5/2014 • 0 Comments

Research released by EBRI March 18 shows that a sizable portion of the population has saved very little. That’s sobering by itself, but a closer look reveals more regarding what that means for retirement plan participants and sponsors. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/5/2014 • 0 Comments

What do DB benefit plans, DC plans and 403(b) annuity arrangements have in common? Yes, there’s the obvious. But also, they all are retirement plans that must file the dreaded and onerous Form 5500. And for most of them, the clock has begun to tick on filing the form that reports on 2013. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/4/2014 • 0 Comments

In remarks at a recent conference on income inequality, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the incoming Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, may have tipped his hand on how he will treat employer-provided retirement plans, advocating the simplification and consolidation of “the array” of current retirement savings accounts. Wyden also said he would like to move toward a system of automatic savings for workers. READ MORE

By John Iekel4/4/2014 • 0 Comments

On the Department of Labor’s radar screen: requiring DC plan administrators to adjust the benefit statements they distribute to provide lifetime income illustrations based on current and projected account balances. So a recent study by the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute is particularly well-timed. The study shows that not all information is equal — or even useful. LIMRA found that while most employees find retirement income projections helpful, others found it wanting.  READ MORE

By John Iekel4/3/2014 • 0 Comments

The words have barely faded from the teleprompter, but retirement experts have wasted no time in expressing caution regarding the “myRA” retirement accounts President Obama unveiled in his State of the Union Address. Chris Carosa of Fiduciary News provides a comprehensive list of 10 reasons to be cautious about myRAs. READ MORE

Adam Pozek

Adam Pozek

Adam Pozek

By Adam Pozek4/29/2014 • 0 Comments

With another testing season in the rear view and PPA restatements looming on the horizon, there are sure to be plenty of questions on everyone’s mind, and ASPPA’s IRS Q&A subcommittee wants to hear them! We are currently gathering questions to go on the list that will be submitted to our friends at the IRS and discussed at the Question & Answer general session at this October’s Annual Conference.  READ MORE

Ronald Triche

Ronald Triche

Ronald Triche

By Ronald Triche4/12/2014 • 0 Comments

The IRS, in Notice 2014-19 and related FAQs, says that retirement plans have to recognize same-gender spouses and spells out how. The notice and FAQs, which the IRS issued April 4, are a follow-up on Revenue Ruling (Rev. Rul.) 2013-17, which provided general guidance on the tax implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. V. Windsor (the DOMA case). Notice 2014-19 and the FAQs specifically focus on retirement plans.  READ MORE