Technical Resources

Technical Resources covers the nuts and bolts of the retirement plan market, focusing on IRS and DOL regulations, ERISA litigation, fiduciary governance and more.

 

 


Technical Resources

Technical Resources

By Craig Hoffman6/13/2014 • 0 Comments

Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 412(d)(2) was originally enacted as part of ERISA over 40 years ago. It provides that certain plan amendments adopted after the close of the plan year may be given retroactive effect. In an informal answer to a question raised in conjunction with the 2011 Enrolled Actuaries Conference, the IRS seemed to contradict the clear meaning of this wording. 
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By John Iekel6/13/2014 • 0 Comments

Funds held in inherited IRAs are not retirement funds and must be included in a bankruptcy estate, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 12. The Court’s 9-0 ruling in Clark v. Rameker, No. 13-299 (U.S. 6/12/14), aff’d 714 F.3d 559 (7th Cir. 2013)) was definitive in drawing a distinction between inherited IRAs and retirement funds, and between inherited IRAs and other funds to which the Bankruptcy Code’s exemptions apply. The Court’s ruling ended years of ping-pong litigation in which successive courts reversed decisions by lower courts.  READ MORE

By Craig Hoffman6/12/2014 • 0 Comments

ASPPA has suggested ways in which the Department of Labor could improve the proposed amendment to the Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosure regulations. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein6/11/2014 • 0 Comments

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) has asked Labor Secretary Tom Perez to look at potential conflicts of interest among pension consultants that recommend their own investments to clients, The Wall Street Journal reports.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/10/2014 • 0 Comments

Many sobering reports have been issued regarding the degree to which U.S. workers are preparing — or not — for retirement. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Personal Savings Initiative (PSI) may not be the first effort that seeks to help turn the tide of poor savings rates, but it has heft and features a far-reaching and ongoing discussion of the problem and ways to address it.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/9/2014 • 0 Comments

Plan sponsors are committed to helping plan participants prepare for their retirement, says a study Brightwork conducted for the Principal Financial Group. The study looked at the responses of 283 plan sponsors, all of whom offer a 401(k), have more than 50 eligible employees and use the services of a paid professional to help them choose and monitor investment and service providers, design plans, conduct enrollment meetings and resolve problems with service providers.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/8/2014 • 0 Comments

The federal government and U.S. workers agree that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a.k.a. Obamacare — will affect the timing of retirements. However, IFAwebnews reports that there’s a wide gap between what the government and many workers expect that effect to be, according to a survey conducted for MoneyRates.com.

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By John Iekel6/3/2014 • 0 Comments

When it comes to having sufficient funds during retirement, expectations are low and fears rife everywhere, according to a recent study. In “The Changing Face of Retirement: The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2014,” the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and Aegon polled 16,000 employees in 15 counties in North and South America, Europe and Asia and found that while a growing number of respondents expect their finances — and their countries’ economies — to improve in the short term, that optimism does not translate to confidence about the more distant future. 
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By John Iekel6/2/2014 • 0 Comments

Employees who are terminated may be gone, but they’re not always forgotten — at least regarding the retirement plan. A growing number of plans allow terminated employees to live on as participants, notes Robert Leahy of Alliance Benefit Group.  READ MORE

By John Iekel6/2/2014 • 0 Comments

Fear of running out of money during retirement is common, but it’s mitigated by interest in saving — the importance of which is not lost on younger employees, according to a new BoA Merrill Lynch report. The Spring 2014 Merrill Edge Report is based on a semi-annual study that looks at the concerns of the “mass affluent” — those with household incomes between $50,000 and $250,000. READ MORE

By Ronald Triche5/28/2014 • 0 Comments

Relying on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in Owens v. Auto Machinists Pension Trust, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Boulds v. Nielsen that the benefits payable from an ERISA-covered defined benefit plan can be divided between domestic partners as “marital property” pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/28/2014 • 0 Comments

The so-called DoL “conflict of interest rule for investment advice” — formerly known as the fiduciary redefinition rule — has been delayed until January 2015. The delay was revealed in a posting of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which notes that a second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will not be issued until January, but it does not state a specific date.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/27/2014 • 0 Comments

More than 90 percent of the plan sponsors that filed their final Form 5500 filings the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) examined in its “Final Return With Assets Project” had at least one error, the IRS reports. Final Forms 5500 are required even if a plan has been exempt from filing a Form 5500-EZ (the annual return of a one-participant retirement plan) in previous years. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/24/2014 • 0 Comments

A May 21 Senate Finance subcommittee hearing that purported to be about strengthening Social Security morphed into a critical discussion of the merits of the defined contribution system and industry.  READ MORE

By Fred Barstein5/22/2014 • 0 Comments

While assets in IRAs are larger than those in DC plans, the vast majority of their growth comes from rollovers, according to research from EBRI. READ MORE

By Andrew Remo5/22/2014 • 0 Comments

The Joint Economic Committee, a bicameral congressional committee charged with studying matters relating to the United States economy, held a hearing May 21 that examined the unique issues that women face in retirement. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), vice-chair of the committee, convened the hearing to follow up on a report the committee issued in April which concluded that due to lower lifetime earnings, women age 65 and older collect $11,000 less in annual median income than men. READ MORE

By John Iekel5/21/2014 • 0 Comments

Exercising the fiduciary duties of prudence and disclosure regarding target date funds (TDFs) can be challenging, and a white paper by Richard Glass of Investment Horizons, Inc. discusses the issues 401(k) fiduciaries face and provides suggestions for addressing them.  READ MORE

By John Iekel5/21/2014 • 0 Comments

A recent study by Financial Engines and Aon Hewitt says that if a plan participant invests all or nearly all of their retirement assets in target date funds (TDFs), it can affect returns. Barrons also weighs in on the issue, quoting Bloomberg’s Ben Steverman.  
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By Fred Barstein5/20/2014 • 0 Comments

With the growth of auto-plan features, plan sponsors are subject to many misconceptions and fears that prevent them from doing the right thing for their employees. Missouri-based Pension Consultants Inc. identifies the seven biggest misconceptions about auto features, and provides solid answers that plan advisors can use with reluctant clients.

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By John Iekel5/19/2014 • 0 Comments

The PBGC wasted no time in responding to a study critical of proposed increases in PBGC premiums. It issued its response on May 14, the same day the Pension Coalition released “Increasing Pension Premiums: The Impact on Jobs and Economic Growth,” reports BenefitsPro. The PBGC agreed that premiums need to be reformed, but also sought to deflect blame for the proposed hikes. READ MORE

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