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Daily Article Digest - Updated Regularly

This digest contains a wide variety of the freshest source material dealing with current trends, opinion, news, legislative action, investments, marketing, sales, consulting, and legal issues regarding 401k, 403b and other retirement plans. Each listing contains a headline (hyperlinked to the source document), description, source of the item, and the month and year posted to this digest.

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Prudential Settles With FINRA Over Retirement Plan Communications

Prudential Investment Management has entered into a settlement agreement with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority over alleged rule violations concerning retirement plan communications. Without admitting or denying the findings, Prudential agreed to the "Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent," which claims that the firm provided employer sponsors and participants in retirement plans maintained by Prudential's retirement business unit with inaccurate expense ratio and historical performance information for numerous investment options in DC plans offered through group variable annuities.

Source: Napa-net.org, January 2020

Puerto Rico Announces Retirement Plan Limits for 2020

On December 28, 2019, the Puerto Rico Treasury Department issued Circular Letter No. 19-17 notifying the retirement plan limits that will apply to retirement plans qualified under Section 1081.01 of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2011, as amended, for year 2020, including the cost-of-living adjustments published by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in IRS Notice 2019-59 of November 6, 2019.

Source: Mcvpr.com, January 2020

Embrace the SECURE Act's Opportunity to Educate

The SECURE Act is not only the first major retirement legislation signed into law by Congress in the past decade, it is also a powerful opportunity for retirement plan advisers to educate plan sponsors on the annuity provisions of the legislation. RPAs should embrace the extra responsibility of making sure employers are educated about the overall restrictions and benefits of annuities and actively help them evaluate the best one for the company's plan.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), January 2020

Northrup Grumman Agrees to Settle 401k Excessive Fee Suit

The long legal battle began in 2006 with a related lawsuit alleging that the plan was paying excessive administrative fees. That case was settled for $16,750,000 in 2017, but it limited the damages period to May 11, 2009. The participants of the 401k plan alleged that they continued to be charged excessive fees after the damages period in the first lawsuit ended and the current class action was brought in 2016 on similar claims. By August 2019, the only claim that remained in the case asserted that Northrop violated its fiduciary duties by choosing an active-management style for the emerging markets fund instead of a low-cost passive-management style. Northrop switched to a passive management style in 2014.

Source: Californiaworkplacelawblog.com, January 2020

The SECURE Act: Priming the (DC Plan) Canvas

Here are a few key areas of the SECURE Act impacting defined contribution plans and highlights of what you should consider before adopting any individual provisions of the Act. The changes can be grouped into a few categories.

Source: Buck.com, January 2020

A New Year's "To Do" List for 403b Plan Sponsors

There is no shortage of concerns to occupy 403b plan sponsors and administrators. Some of these issues have been with us for some time, and some have been newly introduced by the SECURE Act. This is a short list of some of the more notable items that you might want to be thinking about in the new year if you sponsor or administer a 403b plan.

Source: Boutwellfay.com, January 2020

The SECURE Act in 2020

Several key provisions of the SECURE Act are grabbing most of the headlines. But other provisions also deserve attention and will have a significant impact on retirement planning. This advisory summarizes the Act's most significant changes, most of which became effective on January 1, 2020.

Source: Steptoe.com, January 2020

The SECURE Act Brings Important Changes to Retirement Plans

Now that the SECURE Act has been enacted, plan sponsors should consider how the Act's changes will affect their plans. This article summarizes some of its key provisions and what they mean for retirement plan sponsors and participants.

Source: Poynerspruill.com, January 2020

What Plan Sponsors Should Know About Lifetime Income Solutions

Many participants underestimate how much they should have in retirement and can deplete their resources much sooner than planned. Thus, in the absence of a pension plan, the need for retirement lifetime income solutions is evident. What should plan sponsors know about adopting and implementing lifetime income solutions in their plan?

Source: Planpilot.com, January 2020

2019 Broke RIA and IBD Merger and Acquisition Records

While various sectors of the U.S. economy are facing consolidation pressures, the registered investment adviser and independent broker/dealer industries are in the eye of the merger and acquisition storm. Fidelity reports there were 127 registered investment adviser merger or acquisition transactions during all of 2019, which is up 44% over 2018.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2020

No One Rushing to Add Annuity Income Option to DC Plans

The SECURE Act will help make sponsors more attentive to in-plan retirement income options, according to interviews with DC consultants, providers and attorneys. However, sponsors won't rush to offer them partly because the DC industry moves slowly on innovation and partly because many hurdles -- such as cost and complexity -- are beyond the scope of the law.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2020

Millennial Retirement Report: Time Is on Their Side, but the Clock Is Ticking

Millennials' retirement expectations are similar to previous generations: they hope to retire with adequate income that will last. However, this report by the Insured Retirement Institute finds that these expectations are not well aligned with the retirement planning steps millennials have taken thus far.

Source: Myirionline.org, January 2020

Puerto Rico Announces 2020 Limits on Qualified Retirement Plans

On December 28, 2019, the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury issued Internal Revenue Circular Letter No. 19-17 (CL IR 19-17) announcing the applicable limits for Puerto Rico qualified retirement plans for 2020. Here are the applicable 2020 limits for qualified retirement plans in Puerto Rico.

Source: Littler.com, January 2020

New Regulation Best Interest FAQs Address Topics Familiar to DOL Fiduciary Rule Veterans

On January 10, 2020, the staff of the SEC updated its frequently asked questions on Regulation Best Interest. While much of the information within the FAQs is not new and was taken from the SEC's Adopting Release, the FAQs are significant for three reasons.

Source: Groom.com, January 2020

SECURE Act Requires Immediate Action by Plan Service Providers

Many of the provisions in the SECURE Act are effective on January 1, 2020 and will require significant changes to plan administration and recordkeeping. There are also a number of provisions in the Act that could impact retirement plan and product development. This article discusses the ten most pressing implementation issues.

Source: Groom.com, January 2020

What Employers Should Know About the SECURE Act's Lifetime Income Provisions

With the SECURE Act, employers who sponsor defined contribution retirement plans, such as 401k plans, now have: (1) new participant disclosure obligations; (2) the ability to adopt certain portability design features related to lifetime income investment options; and (3) guidelines to encourage inclusion of lifetime income investment options in plan investment line-ups.

Source: Financialservicesemploymentlaw.com, January 2020

Five Critical Elements Every 401k IPS Must Contain to Achieve Its Primary Purpose

A 401k IPS can be as complex or as simple as the plan sponsor desires. It can be five pages or 50 pages. No matter the length or its intricacy, a 401k IPS must contain five critical elements. Each element addresses, supports, and sustains the primary purpose of a 401k IPS: the long-term protection and ultimate success of plan participants.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, January 2020

What Tax Credits are Available for Setting Up a New Retirement Plan?

Thinking of setting up a retirement plan? This article answers two questions: What tax credits are available to us for setting up a new retirement plan for our employees? Are there any special requirements that apply?

Source: Dwc401k.com, January 2020

Details of the SECURE Act: Rules Related to Safe Harbor Plans

Section 103 of the SECURE Act amends the Internal Revenue Code regarding the deadline for an employer to elect safe harbor status and eliminates the requirement for a safe harbor nonelective notice. Under the Act, employers will be given additional flexibility on the timing for electing a safe harbor nonelective contribution.

Source: Consultrms.com, January 2020

Automatic Enrollment Plan Designs

There are still many qualified plans that are not taking advantage of automatic enrollment. While the addition of automatic enrollment provisions to a plan requires attention to notification requirements and tracking both positive and negative deferral elections, the increased plan participation and improved testing results that can be gained by adding this feature should not be overlooked.

Source: Consultrms.com, January 2020

The SECURE Act Facts: What You Need to Know Now

Significant retirement plan legislation, known as the SECURE Act, was signed into law by President Trump on December 20, 2019. Here are some SECURE Act facts about which retirement plan sponsors and participants should be aware.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, January 2020

Target-Date Funds and Portfolio Choice in 401k Plans

Target-date funds in corporate retirement plans grew from $5B in 2000 to $734B in 2018, partly because federal regulation sanctioned these as default investments in automatic enrollment plans. This paper shows that adopters delegated pension investment decisions to fund managers selected by plan sponsors. Including these funds in retirement saving menus raised equity shares, boosted bond exposures, curtailed cash/company stock holdings, and reduced idiosyncratic risk. The adoption of low-cost target date funds may enhance retirement wealth by as much as 50 percent over a 30-year horizon.

Source: Upenn.edu, January 2020

Supreme Court Vacates Ruling in IBM ERISA Stock-Drop Suit

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to act on an ERISA stock-drop lawsuit, vacating and remanding an appeals court ruling that had represented a rare victory by participants over 401k plan sponsors. The case involves a plan participant's complaint that fiduciaries should have taken corrective action to protect investors who held IBM stock in an IBM 401k plan.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2020

Northrop Grumman Would Pay $12.4 Million as Part of ERISA Settlement

Northrop Grumman Corp., agreed on a tentative settlement of an ERISA complaint against the company's 401k plan by offering to pay $12.4 million, according to a preliminary settlement notice filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. This is the second part of a long-running ERISA suit against Northrop Grumman. Participants in two company retirement plans sued in 2006 and 2007. The cases were consolidated.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2020

Supreme Court Declines to Consider Putnam Fiduciary Breach Case

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a petition by Putnam Investments asking to rule on the contentious issue of whether plaintiffs must prove a loss in an ERISA fiduciary breach lawsuit or whether sponsors must disprove a loss and that the loss was caused by the fiduciary breach. The Supreme Court provided no explanation for its decision.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2020

SECURE Act: Effective Dates of Key Provisions

Changes to current rules applicable to retirement plans made by the SECURE Act are (in most cases) already effective. This article reviews the effective dates of some of the key provisions of SECURE and sponsor issues they present.

Source: Octoberthree.com, January 2020

The Time Is Right for a New American Retirement Plan

Opinion. The 401k system has reached its limit. There has been significant progress, but the problems of the system cannot be fixed incrementally. Morningstar's policy analysts have diligently suggested enhancements that work within the existing structure. Unfortunately, those changes can only accomplish so much. They won't make employer-related retirement plans universal, and they can't prevent leakage. The author suggests a New American Retirement Plan.

Source: Morningstar.com, January 2020

Six Lesser-Known SECURE Act Provisions Impacting 401ks

While the major changes resulting from the SECURE Act have grabbed most of the headlines since the Act became the "law of the land" as of Jan. 1, 2020, there are a number of other 401k-impacting provisions that need to be on the radar of 401k-focused advisors. Here is a look at six relatively "under the radar" provisions that impact 401k plans now and in the coming years.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2020

2020 Outlook for Plan Advisors

No one has a crystal ball, but it's still possible to make well-informed forecasts about the retirement plan market. The articles author asked several leading industry participants to share their thoughts on potential developments that plan consultants should monitor in 2020.

Source: Wealthmanagement.com, January 2020

What Will DC Plans Look Like in 2025?

The authors believe that, by 2025, more employers will adopt some of the characteristics of the most successful pension plans to help put them on a path to create a fully funded retirement income stream for participants. They discuss changes that they hope will soon become mainstream. Their focus is on the benefits of updating investment governance structures, the need to increase savings to better fund these future "liabilities," and the importance of using more efficiently managed portfolios to increase the likelihood that employees will have successful retirement outcomes.

Source: Russellinvestments.com, January 2020

DC Plans Moving to Become Decumulation Vehicles

More plan sponsors have a policy for retaining the assets of terminated and retired participants and more are offering decumulation strategies. Employees who keep their assets in their DC plans after terminating or retiring from employment benefit from lower fees and having balances available for retirement income. According to the Callan survey, many of the plans seeking to retain assets offer an institutional structure that is more cost effective than what is available in the retail market. For plan sponsors, if they retain terminated and retired participant assets, the size of the plan is higher and, thus, they have more bargaining power with respect to service providers' fees.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2020

Retirement Industry Looks for Encore to SECURE Act

Even with the passage of the first retirement security package in more than a decade shortly before the holiday recess, there is more retirement-related legislation that could get a look in 2020. In the House, Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has indicated that work on retirement security bills does not end with the SECURE Act.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2020

Cerulli: Providers Can Either 'Get Big or Get Smart'

Amid ever-increasing fee pressure and evolving expectations from plan sponsors, a new report warns that retirement plan providers must be prepared to consider economies of scale and to prioritize technology initiatives in order to maintain profitability.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2020

Implications for 401k Plans in the SECURE Act

As part of the 2020 appropriations act, Congress passed the SECURE Act, which was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2019. The SECURE Act has a number of implications for 401k plans which are summarized here.

Source: Jdsupra.com, January 2020

The Small Business Retirement Plan Journey: Challenges

Although it is getting easier for small businesses to participate in Multiple Employer Plans, the Plan Sponsor's odyssey for designing and maintaining a retirement plan is an arduous one. Clearly, a small business owner cannot leverage scale, generally in the form of assets under management, with regards to investments and recordkeeping costs. Consider the possible interdependent variables that a Plan Sponsor/Investment Committee must equalize to manage a retirement plan for their employees.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, January 2020

The Biggest Downside to America's Sweeping New Retirement Law

In the past, if you received an IRA or a 401k as a beneficiary, you could take it out over your life expectancy. What that means is you're taking small pieces out over your life, also getting the tax deferral. So, your money is being able to grow tax deferred within that plan, and then ultimately, you're setting yourself up for a nice little retirement plan in the future. Under the SECURE Act, beneficiaries have to take that out within 10 years.

Source: Yahoo.com, January 2020

Chemical Distributor Faces Excessive Fee Suit Against 401k Plan

An ERISA lawsuit has been filed against chemical distributor Brenntag North America Inc. alleging the company and other fiduciaries of the Brenntag USA Profit Sharing Plan failed to take measures to ensure reasonable investment and recordkeeping fees. The plaintiffs say defendants failed to utilize the lowest cost share class for many of the mutual funds within the plan, and failed to consider collective trusts, commingled accounts, or separate accounts as alternatives to the mutual funds in the plan, despite their lower fees.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2020

An Overview of Employee Benefit Provisions in the Newly Enacted SECURE Act

The SECURE Act contains many provisions that apply to employer-sponsored retirement plans in 2020. Although plan amendments do not have to be made for a few years, plan administration (including notification to employees and participants and revised election forms) will need to change much sooner. This article provides a summary of the major provisions affecting employee benefits.

Source: Hklaw.com, January 2020

Optimal Default Retirement Saving Policies: Theory and Evidence From OregonSaves

This paper provides an analysis of state-sponsored auto-enrollment plans, and specifically, the plan's default contribution rate. It develops a tractable framework to derive the optimal default contribution rate considering workers' decisions on adhering to the default contribution rate. It suggests the optimal default contribution rate to be 8%.

Source: Upenn.edu, January 2020

SECURE Act Generates Changes and Opportunities for Retirement Plans

The SECURE Act makes numerous changes (including a variety of enhancements) affecting qualified retirement plans, 403b and 457b plans, individual retirement accounts, and other employee benefits. Employers should understand these changes to prepare themselves for the resulting effect on retirement plan administration and financial planning. This article provides an overview of the most relevant provisions and their effective dates.

Source: Spencerfane.com, January 2020

Tapping Into the Seven Trillion Dollar US Defined Contribution Market

For non-US fund managers wishing to tap into the US retirement marketplace, setting up a Collective Investment Trust could be an attractive proposition, given the growth of defined contribution assets. Thanks to their ease of set-up, speed to market, and share class flexibility, CITs are enjoying a renaissance.

Source: Privateequitywire.co.uk, January 2020

Lawsuit Against Trade Association's 401k Plan Moves Forward

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is facing a lawsuit regarding excessive fees and prohibited transactions. U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has found that a lawsuit alleging prohibited transactions against fiduciaries of a trade association's 401k plan "contains sufficient well-pleaded facts to survive a motion to dismiss."

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2020

2020 ERISA Plan Compliance Calendar

Being a retirement plan sponsor involves juggling many tasks including making sure your plan complies with all pertinent federal and local regulations. This compliance calendar will help you keeps track of your company's required filings, their due dates, and related details so you can avoid incurring any fines or other penalties for late filings or missing information.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2020

Why You Should Hire a 3(38) Fiduciary

For many plan sponsors, designating an ERISA 3(38) investment manager to manage, select, and monitor the retirement plan's investments can be beneficial. It allows the plan sponsor to have more time and attention to focus on other aspects of the organization along with managing tasks that are otherwise difficult to outsource. There are many benefits if you decide to hire a 3(38) fiduciary, but it's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of their role and the questions you should ask when vetting an investment advisor/manager to take on the role for your retirement plan.

Source: Planpilot.com, January 2020

Made to Stick: The Drivers of Default Investment Acceptance in DC Plans

Past research suggests participant demographics can have a significant impact on the acceptance and continued usage of default investments in defined contribution plans, but little is known about the effect of fund attributes. This paper explores how key characteristics of a plan's default target-date fund may impact a participant's decisions to accept and remain in a default investment. Free registration required to download.

Source: Morningstar.com, January 2020

SECURE Act Targets Minimum Distribution Rules

Most of the new law's provisions dealing with retirement plans aim to increase retirement plan contributions and to facilitate drawing retirement income from such plans. But from the individual's planning perspective, the major impact of SECURE is its changes to the minimum distribution rules.

Source: Morningstar.com, January 2020

SECURE Act Provides Sweeping and Immediate Changes to Retirement Plans

The SECURE Act includes almost 30 provisions aimed at increasing coverage of American workers in employer-sponsored plans, modifying distribution rules, easing administrative requirements for safe harbor 401k plans, and more. Most notably, many of the new law's provisions became effective on January 1, 2020. This is a summary of the SECURE Act's key provisions.

Source: Littler.com, January 2020

Required Amendments List for Individually Designed Retirement Plans

On December 4, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service published IRS Notice 2019-64, which details the 2019 Required Amendments List for qualified retirement plans. This year's Required Amendment List covers the new hardship withdrawal rules and a new regulation impacting certain cash balance pension plans.

Source: Icemiller.com, January 2020

SECURE Act and Guaranteed Income

Fred Reish believes that there are two parts of the SECURE Act that will have the greatest impact on plan sponsors and service providers. The first part includes the provisions on retirement income. This article discusses the fiduciary safe harbor for selecting the provider for a guaranteed retirement income product.

Source: Fredreish.com, January 2020

Details of the SECURE Act: Provisions Related to Attainment of Age 70 1/2

Prior to the SECURE Act, Internal Revenue Code Section 219(d)(1) prohibited individuals who attained age 70 1/2 by the end of the taxable year from contributing to a traditional tax-deductible IRA. However, the SECURE Act repeals this provision of the Code, allowing individuals who are 70 1/2 or older to contribute to a traditional IRA. This change now makes traditional IRAs accessible to older individuals, the same as Roth IRAs and 401ks, which do not have an age limit on contributions.

Source: Consultrms.com, January 2020

Details of the SECURE Act: Covering Long-Term Part-Time Workers

Under prior law, an employee who never worked 1,000 hours or more in a 12-month eligibility computation period could be excluded from an employer sponsored 401k plan for all purposes. Under the new SECURE Act requirement, an employee must be allowed to make elective contributions to the 401k portion of a plan after he meets the EARLIER of (a) the plan's normal eligibility requirements OR (b) the close of the first period of 3 consecutive 12-month periods during each of which the employee has completed at least 500 hours of service.

Source: Consultrms.com, January 2020

Highlights of Some of the Top New SECURE Act Provisions Affecting 401k Plans -- Part One

Passed by Congress and signed into law at the midnight hour as part of the 2019 comprehensive budget appropriation package, the SECURE Act is now the law of the land. This article, which is part one of a series of two, zeros in on a few of the main SECURE Act 401k plan provisions and provide some detail.

Source: Compliancedashboard.net, January 2020

Retirement Plan Terms to Avoid

Common retirement plan terms used by many advisors and plan sponsors score terribly when deployed in participant communications. They are just "mumbo-jumbo" to most plan participants. Here are some of the worst fairing terms in regard to participant engagement.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, January 2020

DC Trends Survey Highlights Plans' Focus for 2020

Defined contribution plan sponsors continue to make fees a main priority, according to Callan's 2020 Defined Contribution Trends Survey, but they are also focused on communicating with participants and plan to highlight the topic of financial wellness in 2020.

Source: Callan.com, January 2020

A Basic Comparison Glossary for MEPS and MEP Types After the SECURE Act

"Aggregating" plans has now taken center stage with the passage of the SECURE Act. We now often find ourselves a bit muddled by the new array of terms with which we now need to deal. Keep this as a handy glossary to guide when you find yourself caught in the middle of a conversation about Multiple Employer Plans and need to quickly summarize the different MEP types.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, January 2020

IRS Rev. Proc. 2020-4 Updates the Determination Letter Program

The Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Procedure 2020-4 (Rev. Proc. 2020-4), which makes several changes to the determination letter program and Voluntary Correction Program fees.

Source: Westlaw.com, January 2020

Target-Date Funds: Blend Is the Trend

Over a third of defined contribution plan sponsors offer both active and passive funds on their core menus, representing 52% of total DC core menu assets. Yet, target-date funds that blend the two have historically garnered limited attention, not due to lack of interest, but because of limited product offerings. However, that is changing.

Source: Pimco.com, January 2020

Year-End Tax Act Ushers in Retirement Plan Changes and More

The SECURE Act implements a number of mandatory and optional changes for employer-sponsored benefit plans. Many of these changes become effective currently or in the next year, and some even have a retroactive effect that would require retirement plan sponsors' immediate attention. This article provides details on what employers and plan sponsors need to know.

Source: Nixonpeabody.com, January 2020

A Short Guide to the SECURE Act for Retirement Plan Sponsors and Administrators

The SECURE Act, included as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, was signed into law on December 20, 2019. This new law contains many significant changes that may impact employer-sponsored benefit plans. Here is a chronological guide to the key retirement plan issues raised by the new law.

Source: Natlawreview.com, January 2020

Six Key Industry Trends to Watch

The Plan Sponsor Council of America recently released its 62nd Annual Survey of Profit-Sharing and 401k Plans, documenting a record high rate of savings, alongside an uptick in Roth contributions and other trends. However, sometimes the things that do not change can be just as telling. Here are six.

Source: Napa-net.org, January 2020

Scoring the SECURE Act: A Disappointing Effort

The author writes, "Many parties will be affected by the SECURE Act, and many entities will profit. However, you may be surprised to learn that the average American's ability to retire sooner, with more security or even at all, is not materially improved by the Act."

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, January 2020

SECURE Act's Impact on Large Employer Retirement Plans

The SECURE Act, signed into law on Dec. 20, 2019, contains various provisions that may impact large employer-sponsored retirement plans. In effect, the act will usher in the need for plan sponsors to reevaluate plan features, and some of the act's provisions will require plan sponsors to amend their plans and administrative processes. This article summarizes the changes that could apply to large employer-sponsored 401k and other retirement plans.

Source: Jdsupra.com, January 2020

Failing to File Form 5500 Just Became More Costly

Form 5500 is the information return that must be filed by most employee benefit plans subject to ERISA (unless an exception applies), and failure to file this annual return for a plan can result in an assessment of penalties by both the IRS and DOL. Recently, the SECURE Act has given the IRS more teeth by increasing the maximum permitted penalties tenfold, but it still remains the case that the DOL penalties are more severe.

Source: Graydon.law, January 2020

Here's Why Americans Are Contributing More to Their 401k Plans

401k savers are stockpiling an average of 12.9% of their salaries annually. Retirement experts typically recommend a total savings rate of between 10% and 15%. The interesting thing is employers -- not the workers -- appear to be the primary cause for the overall savings increase.

Source: Cnbc.com, January 2020

The Retirement Savings Blind Spot You Don't Realize You Have

When you want to retire, and when you actually will retire, could be two very different ages. Many individuals quit working earlier than they expect, either because of job loss or illness. You probably aren't factoring an unexpectedly early retirement into your savings strategy, but you should.

Source: Cnbc.com, January 2020

President Trump Signs SECURE Act Into Law

The SECURE Act is probably the most significant single piece of employer retirement plan legislation since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. As a result, it is important for plan sponsors to be aware of the different provisions of the SECURE Act, some of which became effective on January 1, 2020. This article addresses the SECURE Act provisions that are participant-facing, and then the provisions which affect plan administration, but do not necessarily impact participants directly.

Source: Seyfarth.com, January 2020*

ERISA 403b Litigation Informs Plan Governance Practices

In the past three years, 403b plan sponsors have been subjected to the same ERISA fiduciary breach lawsuits that 401k plans have been fighting. 403b plan sponsors need help understanding their fiduciary duties, reviewing plan investment lineups and benchmarking fees.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2020

Revenue Sharing, Recordkeeping Fees at Issue in Trader Joe's Lawsuit

The Trader Joe's Company has been named as the defendant in a new ERISA lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Employees of the grocery chain accuse their employer of acting imprudently in the selection of retirement plan investment options and of failing to monitor the services and fees paid.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2020

Investment Education Is All About a Process

There have been so many misconceptions that plan sponsors and advisors have had concerning ERISA 404(c) plans. They have this belief that if they just give a mutual fund lineup and some Morningstar profiles to plan participants that they are exempt from liability. ERISA 404(c) protection is about following a process and Morningstar profiles are just not enough education to give to plan participants. You have to provide enough information for participants to make informed investment decisions.

Source: Jdsupra.com, January 2020

The Danger of Focusing on Retirement Plan Participant Outcomes

The author writes, "The accepted wisdom among the retirement plan adviser intelligentsia is that Triple F advisers, those focused on fees, funds and fiduciary, are passe at best and dangerous at worst. Some elite plan advisers self-righteously proclaim that we must shift the focus to improving participant outcomes."

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), January 2020

2020, a Time to Focus on SECURE Act Incentives

Two best plan design practices for 401k plans to increase retirement savings are automatic enrollment and automatic escalation. While larger plans frequently include these features, the SECURE Act incentivizes smaller employers to implement automatic enrollment (with smaller employers defined as those with 100 or fewer employees receiving compensation of $5,000 or more). Importantly, the Act permits all employers to increase escalation limits.

Source: Alliant401k.com, January 2020

Small Business and Retirement Savings: The Push for Multiple Employer Plans

The 5-page article discusses how federal regulators and lawmakers have been moving toward making plans more attractive for small business by expanding the "multiple employer plan."

Source: Steptoe.com, January 2020

Encouraging Millennials to Participate in Retirement Plans

Despite its size, this generation is often overlooked by plan sponsors due to their focus on the needs of those participants nearing retirement. Without retirement plans tailored to meet their own barriers, millennial workers struggle to save adequately for retirement. While an obvious roadblock may be lingering student debt, millennial would-be savers face several additional unique obstacles. This multifaceted struggle presents plan sponsors with both a challenge and an opportunity. To attract and retain the largest age group of U.S. workers, employers need to consider the unique needs of this generation in a retirement plan context.

Source: Planpilot.com, January 2020

M&T Bank 401k Lawsuit Settlement Agreement Includes Review of Investments

Defendants in a lawsuit alleging self-dealing by fiduciaries of the M&T Bank 401k plan have reached a settlement agreement. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, M&T Bank or its insurers will pay a gross settlement amount of $20,850,000 into a common fund for the benefit of class members. The settlement also includes a number of non-monetary terms.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2020

Retirement Plan Participants Sue Ardent Health Services

Ardent Health Services is the target of a new ERISA lawsuit. The proposed class action complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee and names as defendants Ardent Health Services, the company's board of directors and more than 30 individual fiduciary defendants both named and unnamed.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2020

Sweeping Changes to Retirement Plan Rules Passed Under the SECURE Act -- Provisions Requiring Immediate Attention

The SECURE Act makes broad and sweeping changes to the retirement plan landscape and contains numerous new requirements and new optional planning and design opportunities. This 3-page alert focuses on certain changes in the new law that are required to be operationally implemented by employers who sponsor and maintain qualified retirement plans and 403b plans either immediately or shortly after the passage of the SECURE Act.

Source: Pbwt.com, January 2020

403b Document Updates on 2020 Horizon

A new year has dawned, bringing into sharper relief that deadlines relevant to 403b documents are coming closer. March 31, 2020 is the deadline for 403b plans to update their plan documents for all current law.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2020

401k Participants Demonstrate Commitment to Retirement Saving

Recordkeeping data for the first half of 2019 shows that Americans were quite content saving in their 401k plans and taking advantage of the long-running bull market. According to the Investment Company Institute, only 1.3% of DC plan participants stopped contributing to their plans in the first half of 2019. This appears to be the lowest mark going back 10 years, when, for example, the data shows that 4.6% stopped contributing during the first half of 2009.

Source: Napa-net.org, January 2020

How Did the Average 401k Fare in 2019?

A year ago, the average 401k balance went into 2019 with a bit of a hangover. As for 2019, in a year that the S&P 500 rose more than 28%, and the Dow gained 22%, the average 401k balance -- buttressed not only by the markets, but by contributions -- ended the year 44.9% higher for those workers aged 25-34 with less than 4 years of tenure, while workers with more than 20 years of tenure, aged 55-64, registered a 24.6% increase.

Source: Napa-net.org, January 2020

Important 401k Plan Sponsors Concerns for 2020

Every year in the retirement plan business brings its challenges and its concerns. As a 401k plan sponsor, you need to understand what some of the concerns are because you're a plan fiduciary. If you're prepared, it will make your job easier. So, this article is all about what you should be expecting for 2020.

Source: Jdsupra.com, January 2020

Summary of the SECURE Act

The Act will affect employers, other plan sponsors, and plan service providers. Some of the provisions have a January 1, 2020 effective date. This is a 2-page summary of the major items in the Act that effect retirement plans.

Source: Cowdenassociates.com, January 2020

Why Retiring at 65 Could Become a Thing of the Past

Raising the retirement age is an emotional issue. A majority of workers say that they plan to stop working after age 65 or never retire. While 65 is still the age most workers around the world say they plan to quit, that default age is creeping up. Countries such as the U.S., the Netherlands, France, and Spain are all moving towards another age: 67.

Source: Cnbc.com, January 2020

Legislation Includes the SECURE Act, Which Changes Retirement Plan Requirements

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed appropriations legislation that included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. This 4-page outline reviews the new legislation and highlights of the more relevant items for plan sponsors.

Source: Axiaadvisory.com, January 2020

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