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2019 ACOPA Actuarial Symposium

The ACOPA Actuarial Symposium has been designed for pension actuaries and professionals who are concerned about the impact of recent regulations. The sessions are geared specifically toward issues affecting actuaries in the pension field.



Preliminary as of July 2019

7:30–8:30 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30–8:40 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions

8:40–9:55 a.m.
GS1: Washington Update

Developments in Washington continue to have a significant impact on retirement plans. A number of proposals have been introduced in Congress to enhance savings and increase coverage with the potential for passage during the 116th Congress. The focus will be on current legislative and regulatory initiatives emanating from our nation’s capital that affect defined benefit plans, including proposed changes to cash balance plans. Coverage expansion initiatives will also be reviewed.

  • Understand the latest changes to in retirement law
  • Learn about what is lurking on the legislative horizon with regard to retirement plans
  • Be prepared for forthcoming changes in the regulatory landscape

Will Hansen, Government Affairs Officer, American Retirement Association
Martin L. Pippins, MSPA, Executive Director, ACOPA and Director of Regulatory Practice, American Retirement Association

9:55–10:15 a.m.
Beverage Break

10:15–11:30 a.m.
GS2: IRS Update

An IRS representative will review new regulations and guidance issued by IRS that impact defined benefit plans, and will highlight any areas of concern. Issues seen in recent rulings dealing with changes in funding and asset valuation methods, as well as applicable EPCRS issues, will also be reviewed. Bring any questions you have about IRS-related topics.

Martin L. Pippins, MSPA, Executive Director, ACOPA and Director of Regulatory Practice, American Retirement Association
Carolyn E. Zimmerman, Internal Revenue Service TE/GE Employee Benefit Plans

11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
ACOPA Business Meeting

ACOPA’s President will provide an overview of ACOPA activity over the past year. Further, there will be a transition of leadership to the new President, Officers and Leadership Council members.

11:45 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Ed Burrow’s Humdinger Award

Noon–1 p.m.
Buffet Lunch

1–2:15 p.m.
GS3: PBGC Update

A PBGC representative will provide an overview of recently published PBGC guidance and program operations, plus information and tips about their various programs, including the missing participant program, MyPAA enhancements, and coverage determinations forms and instructions. Bring your questions about PBGC-related topics.

Kristina Archeval, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Lorraine Dorsa, MSPA, Actuary, Aegis Pension Services, Inc.
Andrea Wong, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

2:15-3:30 p.m.
GS4: 436 Tips and Traps

Normally 436 Certifications are fairly straightforward, but it isn't always that simple. We’ll address the less-thought-of issues of 436.

  • Learn from examples and case studies of real life, but not every day, 436 situations
  • Understand how to handle amendments that impact the Funding Target or are required by other Code Sections, such as 401(a)(26), 401(a)(4) or 410(b)
  • Understand how contributions made after the certification of the AFTAP are handled

Lawrence Deutsch, FSPA, President Larry Deutsch Enterprises
James E. Holland, Jr., FSPA, Chief Research Actuary, Cheiron
Carolyn E. Zimmerman, Internal Revenue Service TE/GE Employee Benefit Plans

3:30-3:50 p.m.
Beverage Break

3:50–5:30 p.m.
GS5: A Closer Look at IRC 404 and 430

We’ll take a closer look at code sections 404 and 430, including the interplay between the two. Rev proc 2017-56 will be discussed in detail. A mortality table update will also be provided.

  • Determine which assumptions are the same and which are different for deduction purposes vs. minimum funding purposes
  • Determine which funding method changes can be made without IRS permission
  • Understand mortality table updates

Kevin J. Donovan, FSPA, President, Pinnacle Plan Design, LLC
John R. Markley, FSPA, CPC, ACOPA President, and CEO, Markley Actuarial, A Division of the Retirement Advantage

5:30–6:30 p.m.
Networking Reception

7:30–8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast

8:30–9:20 a.m.
GS6: Ethics

Actuaries may face difficult scenarios that test their professionalism and, at times, their ethics. Drawing on real-life scenarios, this session will focus on ethical dilemmas related to actuarial practice. Together, we will discuss the issues at hand and the best practices for resolution.

  • Apply appropriate business ethics to previous and potential lessons
  • Interact with other professionals to hear additional perspectives on ethical challenges
  • Discuss best practices for demonstrating professionalism, courtesy, and respect

Angela Barclay, MSPA, Enrolled Actuary, Pension Benefits Unlimited, Inc.
John R. Markley, FSPA, CPC, CEO, Markley Actuarial, A Division of The Retirement Advantage

9:20–9:40 a.m.
Beverage Break

9:40–10:55 a.m.
GS7: Terminating a PBGC Covered Plan

Details of the plan termination process will be discussed for PBGC-covered plans. Pitfalls and traps to avoid during the plan termination process will be highlighted. Standard, distress and involuntary terminations will be discussed.

  • List termination procedures for PBGC-covered plans
  • Assemble required filings and participant communication packages
  • Identify potential issues of the termination process and provide solutions to the client

Lorraine Dorsa, MSPA, Actuary, Aegis Pension Services, Inc.
Mary Ann Rocco, MSPA, Owner, Mary Ann Rocco, Consulting Actuary

10:55 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.
Lunch Presentation on Ethics and Professionalism

Lauren Bloom is the former general counsel at the American Academy of Actuaries, and an attorney who speaks, writes and consults on business ethics and responsible litigation risk management. She will discuss the need for ongoing vigilance in maintaining high professional standards of practice for actuaries in their client relationships and how the Code of Professional Conduct impacts actuaries in everyday practice.

  • Better understand when ethical issues can arise in unexpected circumstances
  • Learn about resources on ethics and professionalism
  • Learn how attention to professionalism and ethics can reduce their litigation risk
  • Be prepared for changes in actuarial standards of practice

Lauren Bloom, General Counsel & Director of Professionalism, Elegant Solutions Consulting, LLC

11:45 a.m.–12:50 p.m.
Buffet Lunch

12:50–2:05 p.m.
GS8: IRC 415 Limitations — Refresher and Update

Review calculations under IRC Section 415. Topics may include limitations on lump sums, optional forms, annuity starting dates below age 62 and after age 65, multiple annuity starting dates, the impact of the interest crediting rates, and factors to convert the account into an annuity in a cash balance plan at the 415 limits. Attendees will learn benefit and distribution issues under IRC Section 415 limitations.

Richard A. Block, FSPA, Actuary, Block Consulting Actuaries, Inc.
Lawrence Deutsch, FSPA, President, Larry Deutsch Enterprises

2:05–2:20 p.m.
Beverage Break

2:20–3:35 p.m.
GS9: Hidden Traps in Plan Designs — Floor Offset and Variable Annuity Plans

Review floor offset and variable annuity plans. Presenters will share the latest developments and the pros and cons of these plan designs, as well as potential problems. Attendees will learn basics of these plan designs, as well as potential issues with them.

James E. Holland, Jr., FSPA, Chief Research Actuary, Cheiron
Kelsey H. Mayo, Partner, Poyner Spruill LLP

3:35–3:45 p.m.

3:45–5 p.m.
GS10: Ask the Experts

Here’s your chance to get answers to your technical and outstanding questions from a panel of pension plan experts. Come prepared with your questions you have encountered in your practice.

  • Relate with peers on technical issues and examine outstanding questions about pension plans
  • Collaborate with experts to receive feedback on pension plans

Lawrence Deutsch, FSPA, President, Larry Deutsch Enterprises
James E. Holland, Jr., FSPA, Chief Research Actuary, Cheiron
Kelsey H. Mayo, Partner, Poyner Spruill LLP

5 p.m.


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Registration Information

(Ends 7/12/19)
(After 8/2/19)
Member $790 $890 $990
Non-Member $940 $1,040 $1,140


Continuing Education

ACOPA Members

The ACOPA Actuarial Symposium offers 16 hours of CE credit, including up to 2 hours of Ethics CE.

Accountants (NASBA)

Approved for 16 CE (including 8.0 Specialized Knowledge and 8.0 Taxes)

Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents (ERPA Credit)

The conference is designed to provide up to 14 ERPA credits and 2 ERPA Ethics credits. The final approval as to the number of ERPA credits rests solely with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

IMCA Credit

Self-reporting available

To request additional state insurance or legal CE provided at this event, please complete the request form by June 28, 2019. Please check the website periodically for updates. We will post approved credit and credit applied for as it is available.


General Information

Conference Location

Doubletree by Hilton Chicago — Magnificent Mile
300 East Ohio Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Room Rate: $205/night double or single
Reservation Cut-Off Date: July 19, 2019


You will receive an email confirmation of your registration from ACOPA. If you have not received a confirmation within 10 business days after registering, please contact Customer Care at

Cancellation Refund Policy

All registration cancellations and refund requests must be made in writing by August 2, 2019. A refund of the conference fee, minus a $100 processing fee, will be given for cancellations received by that date. No refunds will be granted for requests received after August 2, 2019. Submit all requests to Please note that refunds will not be given for no-shows.

Substitution Policy

Substitution of registrations is permitted prior to the conference and onsite. Only one substitution is permitted per original registrant. The individual submitting the substitution request is responsible for updating any contact information.


2019 ACOPA Actuarial Symposium Committee

ACOPA President

John R. Markley, FSPA, CPC, Markley Actuarial, A Division of the Retirement Advantage

ACOPA President-Elect

Lauren Okum, MSPA, Actuary, Premier Actuarial Solutions

ACOPA Executive Director

Martin L. Pippins, MSPA, Executive Director, ACOPA & Director of Regulatory Policy, American Retirement Association

Committee Chair

Raymond D. Berry, MSPA, ASA, EA, MAAA, Grant Thornton LLP

Conference Committee

Kevin J. Donovan, FSPA, President, Pinnacle Plan Design, LLC
Nolan S. Frank, MSPA, President and Chief Actuary, Tepfer Consulting Group, Ltd.


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Registration and General Questions