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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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Self-Directed 401k Balances Down 6.3% Year-Over-Year After Volatile Fourth Quarter

Abstract: According to Charles Schwab's SDBA Indicators Report, the market correction that occurred during the fourth quarter of 2018 weighed on participant accounts, as the average SDBA balance fell to $246,153, a decline of 10.6 percent from 3Q 2018 and 6.3 percent year-over-year. According to the Schwab data, mutual funds continued to hold the highest percentage of participant assets at approximately 37 percent, the same as Q4 2017. Allocations to equities remained at 28 percent, and exchange-traded funds (17%), cash (15%), and fixed income (3%) rounded out participants' portfolios.

Source: Schwab.com, March 2019

Is It Ever a Good Idea to Hold Company Stock in a 401k?

Abstract: As automatic and Roth features have grown more popular, another trend is clearly on the wane: company stock on the 401k-plan menu. Whereas nearly half of employers offered company stock in their 401k plans a decade ago, either as part of the plan menu or as part of an employee stock-ownership plan, that figure had dropped to less than 40% as of 2016, according to Callan. Why the demise?

Source: Morningstar.com, March 2019

Complaint Alleges That Fidelity Charged Improper Fees

Abstract: The lawsuit alleges that an "infrastructure fee" that Fidelity charges to mutual funds in exchange for inclusion in Fidelity's stable of investments for retirement plans was not properly disclosed and is prohibited by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

Source: Huschblackwell.com, March 2019

VCP Submissions Must Be Electronic Starting April 1

Abstract: If you send the IRS a Voluntary Compliance Program submission on paper on April 1, it will be returned to you. Beginning April 1, 2019, the IRS will only accept VCP submissions that are made electronically through Pay.gov. It will return VCP submissions made on paper that have a postmark after March 31, 2019.

Source: Asppa-net.org, March 2019

Distributions From DC Plans

Abstract: With an increased focus on retirement income, employers are now turning their attention to how their workers are using their defined contribution plan assets after terminating employment. To help organizations better evaluate the distribution decisions people make when they leave employment, Alight Solutions analyzed the post-termination behavior of more than 2 million DC participants from 2008 - 2017.

Source: Alight.com, March 2019

Brown University Settles ERISA Class Action Suit for $3.5 Million

Abstract: Brown University has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged the school's 403b plans' managers breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA and cost employees millions of dollars in excessive and unreasonable fees.

Source: Ai-cio.com, March 2019

A Cascading Behavioral Roadmap for Fulfilling Fiduciary Duties

Abstract: Fulfilling fiduciary duties is an outcome of successfully integrating processes and methodologies that require different skillsets. All major decisions should be made with only the economic interests of the plan participants in mind. Failure to do so increases the likelihood of a breach of fiduciary duty. Here is a Plan's Sponsor's road-map to successfully fulfill fiduciary duties.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, March 2019

401k Withdrawal Age and Early Withdrawal Rules

Abstract: Once you reach age 59.5, you may withdraw money from your 401k penalty-free. If you tap into it beforehand, you may face a 10% penalty tax on the withdrawal in addition to income tax that you'd owe on any type of withdrawal from a traditional 401k. But in some cases, your plan may allow you to take a penalty-free early withdrawal. This article covers the 401k early withdrawal rules and alternatives to dipping into your retirement savings.

Source: Yahoo.com, March 2019*

ESG Options Scarce in 401k Plans

Abstract: By virtually any measure, the demand for socially conscious investment products has never been greater. Thanks in large part to support from women and young investors, investment strategies that focus on environmental, social and governance issues reached $12 trillion last year. Yet when it comes to the primary way in which younger generations invest, through company-sponsored retirement savings plans, their desire to match their investments and values is falling on deaf ears.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), March 2019

The Average American Can't Save Enough to Retire

Abstract: Average weekly earnings for non-managers are now $779, which is an almost 40-year high. Millions of those now approaching retirement age spent their entire lives earning the equivalent of $40,000 a year, at most. Little surprise they don’t have six-figure retirement savings. The simple fact of the matter is, it takes enormous discipline to save even 6% for your 401k at that income level.

Source: Forbes.com, March 2019

What to Do With Your 401k When You Retire

Abstract: New retirees need to decide what to do with the money in their company-sponsored 401k plan. You can generally maintain your 401k with your former employer or roll it over into an individual retirement account. IRAs maintain the tax benefits of your 401k plan and give you more investment options, but there are several cases when it makes sense to keep your money in the 401k plan. Here's how to decide whether to move your money from a 401k to an IRA when you retire.

Source: Usnews.com, March 2019

Three Ways People May Save for Retirement in the Future

Abstract: If we can't count on more employers to voluntarily offer retirement benefits or on employees saving on their own, what can we do to help American workers build a financially secure retirement? Recent actions at the state and federal levels point to a system that could cover more people without relying solely on individual employers to sponsor their own retirement plan.

Source: Pewtrusts.org, March 2019

Don't Miss These Retirement Plan Deadlines

Abstract: Given that a variety of qualified retirement deadlines are approaching, this article is intended to alert plan sponsors about applicable major qualified retirement plan deadlines that fall in the first half of 2019. (Note that we have not included a complete list of all deadlines applicable to qualified plans, but instead focused on the more important ones.)

Source: Ogletree.com, March 2019

Summary Plan Descriptions: You Gotta Have Them, So Make the Most of Them

Abstract: HR/benefits professionals are probably well versed in the SPD requirements. For the rest of you, they're briefly summarized here. In addition, this article describes three trending practices that may make it easier to both meet your SPD compliance obligations and further your overall benefits administration and talent management objectives.

Source: Laboremploymentperspectives.com, March 2019

Why Your Plan's IPS Is Probably a Fiduciary Landmine

Abstract: An IPS is a useful tool to help retirement plan fiduciaries demonstrate that a prudent process has been followed when selecting and monitoring plan investments. A well-constructed IPS is considered a best practice and establishes guidelines for selecting and monitoring plan investments while providing a framework for making critical fiduciary decisions. However, many plans that have an IPS are using one that likely creates more risk for their fiduciaries, rather than less risk.

Source: Greenspringadvisors.com, March 2019

Six Steps to Lower 401k Fees

Abstract: 401k plans are expensive. Plan fees, taken as a percentage of the assets, can add up to a huge chunk of change that can take years off of your or your employees' retirements. A two percent fee doesn't sound like daylight robbery, but over 35 years, that little fee can consume up to half of your retirement earnings. All of this is to say that minimizing 401k fees is crucial for retirement success. Of course, easier said than done.

Source: Forusall.com, March 2019

It's All Fun and Games Until a Loan Defaults

Abstract: A common feature many retirement plans have is participant loans. This sounds like a great idea to encourage employees to save for retirement by giving them a way to access their money if they need to. That's the theory, anyway, until something goes wrong.

Source: Ferenczylaw.com, March 2019

Trends in Qualified Plans and Health & Welfare Plans

Abstract: In a presentation at McDermott's Employment and Employee Benefits Forum, Jeffrey Holdvogt discussed qualified plans, including student loan repayment benefits and the rise of DOL/IRS/PBGC plan activity. He also commented on the scrutiny on plan governance and fiduciary process materials. He addressed the legal challenges and mandates, such as state laws protecting against balance billing by out-of-network providers.

Source: Employeebenefitsblog.com, March 2019

Bankruptcy Case Highlights Importance of Promptly Transferring Retirement Assets in Divorce

Abstract: When a couple divorce, it is not uncommon for one partner to have accumulated significantly larger retirement accounts than the other. In such cases the parties generally divide IRA accounts pursuant to Internal Revenue Code 408(d)(6) and/or enter into a qualified domestic relations order to divide a 401k or other qualified retirement plan. The importance of moving promptly to divide and transfer title to retirement accounts in divorce was highlighted in a Bankruptcy Court case from 2018.

Source: Eforerisa.wordpress.com, March 2019

BlackRock Board Fights $100M ERISA Mismanagement Suit

Abstract: The BlackRock Retirement Savings Plan board urged a California federal judge Thursday to toss most of a putative class action accusing it of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and costing participants over $100 million, arguing the board operated within the terms of its contracts. Plaintiffs Charles Baird and Lauren Slayton hit BlackRock Inc., its subsidiaries and board members, along with BlackRock's investment consultant Mercer Investment Counseling, with a sprawling, 134-page, 11 count amended complaint in August.

Source: Cohenmilstein.com, March 2019

Frequent 401k Audit Finding Series - Documentation Failures

Abstract: During our 401k audits, we see failures occurring at both the plan level and the participant level. Documentation failures arise when transactions occurring in the plan can't be supported by written direction.

Source: 5500audit.com, March 2019

401k Investor Tax Bill DOA Now, Could Resurface?

Abstract: Democrats' proposed Wall Street Tax Act of 2019 faces long odds with Republicans controlling White House and Senate, but idea could have better chance if Democrats take control after 2020 presidential election.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2019

Seven States With Major 401k Fiduciary Proposals

Abstract: If you need a convenient, "all-in-one-place" overview of what's happening at the state level, Drinker Biddle's got it. The Best Interest Compliance Team at the legal powerhouse put together the following list of bills, proposals, regs and requirements now put forth involving fiduciary and related matters.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2019

Beyond the 4% Rule: How Much Can You Spend in Retirement?

Abstract: You've worked hard to save for retirement, and now you're ready to turn your savings into a paycheck. But how much can you afford to spend? If you spend too much, you risk being left with a shortfall later in retirement. But if you spend too little, you may not enjoy the retirement you envisioned. One frequently used rule of thumb for retirement spending is known as the 4% rule.

Source: Schwab.com, March 2019

Cerulli Finds All Talk, No Action Regarding DC Plan ESG Investment Adoption

Abstract: Cerulli Associates found fee sensitivity and the notion that environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing entails a trade-off in performance are two broadly applicable headwinds to ESG adoption.

Source: Plansponsor.com, March 2019

Building Toward a Better Retirement: Choice Architecture and Plan Participants

Abstract: Overwhelming. That's normally the first response plan participants give as to why they didn't start saving for retirement. HR professionals and retirement consultants have heard it before, "Too many options; too many decisions; I wasn't sure what these words even meant." Effectively helping plan participants prepare for retirement takes designing the message in a different way.

Source: Findley.com, March 2019

No Plan? Big Problem When It Comes to a Successful Retirement

Abstract: According to EBRI's model, 59.4 percent of American households between the ages of 35 and 64 are projected to have sufficient money in retirement so that they won't run short. Meaning their aggregate resources in retirement will cover average retirement expenses as captured in the Consumer Expenditure Survey, as well as medical expenses such as nursing-home and home-health care. That is good news, and future analysis by EBRI will examine the driving forces behind this positive development.

Source: Ebriorg.wordpress.com, March 2019

How Well Do 401k Plan Sponsors Support Participants?

Abstract: Tools like managed accounts and target-date funds continue to gain ground, and more than one-third of companies now offer investment advice to participants, more findings from PSCA's 61st Annual Survey reveal. There are several ways that companies provide investment support to participants through the availability of managed accounts, target-date funds, automatic features/QDIAs, and personalized investment advice from professionals.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2019

Mixed Ruling in Oracle ERISA Suit Strongly Favors Defense

Abstract: Despite a setback for Oracle at the class certification stage, a new ruling out of a federal court in Colorado pushes back strongly against many -- but not all -- of the plaintiffs' claims.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2019

Departing Employees Who Stay in DC Plan for at Least a Year Not Likely to Leave

Abstract: If defined contribution plans encourage departing employees to keep their balances in their plans for at least a year, there's a good chance participants will retain their accounts in the plan. That's the conclusion of a study by Alight Solutions, which tracked participants in plans for which Alight is the recordkeeper from 2008 through 2017 and analyzed participants' behavior after they decide to retire or take another job.

Source: Pionline.com, March 2019

MIT 401k Plan Participants Not Entitled to Jury Trial of ERISA Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims

Abstract: The District of Massachusetts court struck the plaintiffs' jury-trial demand in their ERISA complaint for damages and equitable relief against 401k plan fiduciaries. The court followed the "great weight of authority" in ruling that there is no right to trial by jury in ERISA actions for breach of fiduciary duty.

Source: Mwe.com, March 2019

How QDIAs Have Changed the Fiduciary Role of 401k Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Target-date funds are the fastest growing segment on the 401k investment menu. In the more than ten years since they've become a QDIO staple in 401k plans, target-date funds have certainly changed the retirement prospects for employees. How have these investment vehicles changed the roles, responsibilities, and even the fiduciary liability of the plan sponsor?

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, March 2019

The Definition of Compensation: When Operation Does Not Match the Plan

Abstract: Frequently the wrong definition of compensation is used when determining contributions. This can happen because the payroll system was set up, or has evolved, without reference to the terms of the plan. It is important to understand why the failure occurred for purposes of ensuring it does not happen in the future, and correction for the failure to follow the terms of the plan must be made to ensure the continued qualification of the plan.

Source: Boutwellfay.com, March 2019

Appeals Court Rejects Disney 401k Participants' Fiduciary Breach Complaint

Abstract: A federal appeals court unanimously rejected a complaint by participants in a Walt Disney Co. 401k plan that fiduciaries violated their duties by offering the Sequoia Fund, a mutual fund that several years ago plummeted in net asset value.

Source: Pionline.com, March 2019

Advice to Plan Sponsors About 401k Plan Options

Abstract: Life is full of choices and sometimes, there are just way too many choices. That's a problem for 401k plan sponsors when setting up their plan. There are so many plan provisions to consider and so many choices for each provision. This article is sifting through many of the important optional provisions with ideas on what might be the right fit for you.

Source: Jdsupra.com, March 2019

The Shockingly Low Amount Most Americans Are Saving for Retirement

Abstract: Retirement is an expensive endeavor. After all, you're going to have to support yourself for decades without a paycheck. Unfortunately, Americans are falling far short in accomplishing this goal. Research from the Stanford Center on Longevity shows how much we're saving at every age group, and it turns out it's not nearly enough.

Source: Fool.com, March 2019

It's Testing Season

Abstract: Qualified plans must perform annual testing to be sure that the plan doesn't unfairly discriminate in favor of "highly compensated employees" or exceed the contribution limits set forth by the IRS. Depending on your plan provisions, it isn't just one calculation, but a series of tests that show that your plan is not discriminatory. Since most retirement plans operate on a calendar year basis, testing season is now. Here are some definitions to get you through the basics of compliance testing.

Source: Pensysinc.com, March 2019

EBRI Projects Decrease in America's Retirement Deficit

Abstract: A new study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) projects that the retirement deficit for U.S. households with heads ages 35-64 decreased 13.7 percent from $4.44 trillion (in current dollars) in 2014 to $3.83 trillion in 2019. The largest improvement was experienced by younger workers, with those ages 35-39 projected to have a 22 percent decrease in their average deficits.

Source: Ebri.org, March 2019

Twenty-four Different Designations for 401k Advisors - How to Choose

Abstract: Interested in earning a professional designation or certification to help you become a more competent 401k advisor? Help comes in the form of a newly updated guide to retirement plan professional designations and certifications, which shows the average annual cost to maintain one is $330

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2019

Cybersecurity Breach and Plan Advisor Help

Abstract: Cybersecurity breaches are on the rise, and the stakes are high. No one or no organization can ever be fully insulated from a cybersecurity attack. Even Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has fallen victim to a cybersecurity breach. A cybersecurity breach can be costly, unsettling and time-consuming to correct. It goes is now common knowledge that a well-executed cybersecurity breach or attack can be devastating.

Source: 401ktv.com, March 2019

The 10 Biggest Threats For Retirement Plan Advisers

Abstract: The entire defined-contribution industry is in flux as retirement planning becomes more important. Plan sponsors are paying more attention to their DC plans, putting pressure on advisers to deliver real value while demanding lower costs. Here are the 10 biggest threats facing retirement plan advisers over the next three years.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), March 2019

Conducting an Operational Compliance Review

Abstract: Prudent plan sponsors are proactive, have up-to-date procedures and guidelines, and periodically conduct an operational compliance review, or self-audit. Use these eight questions to help you pinpoint areas that may need to be addressed in your review.

Source: Findley.com, March 2019

State Fiduciary and Best Interest Developments

Abstract: A number of states are seeking to impose fiduciary or best interest requirements on broker-dealers, investment advisers, financial planners and/or insurance brokers and producers in their dealings with customers. While the rules vary from state to state, they are in addition to -- and sometimes inconsistent with -- federal requirements being considered by the SEC or by the Department of Labor for retirement investment advice. This chart summarizes the activities in each state.

Source: Brokerdealerlawblog.com, March 2019

Respondeat Superior in the ERISA Context

Abstract: Respondeat superior is a doctrine that a party is responsible for (has vicarious liability for) acts of their agents. Respondeat superior claims in the ERISA context may be made in one of two ways. While there is no circuit split on this issue, there is a split of authority as to the manner in which these claims should be addressed. This article considers these rulings.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, March 2019

Fiduciaries Get Final Win in Lawsuit Over Disney 401k Investment in Sequoia Fund

Abstract: In their second amended complaint, the plaintiffs argued that the Sequoia Fund purported to be a value fund, but increased investments in Valeant Pharmaceuticals created a "clear indicia of a growth stock," and did not meet the Sequoia Fund's purported investing criteria of seeking out value stocks.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2019

Four Reasons 401k Advisers Should Partner With a Benefits Broker

Abstract: The employee benefits marketplace continues to evolve, with medical and retirement products continuing to merge. This trend is fantastic for the end consumer. But what is the best way for retirement plan advisers to partner with a benefits broker to serve a mutual client?

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), March 2019

Lessons for Advisers From 401k Lawsuits

Abstract: Perhaps nothing causes as much anxiety for retirement plan advisers as the potential for a client to be hauled into court to face accusations of fiduciary breaches. Even in the best-case scenario where the plan successfully defends itself, dealing with litigation is a disruption and drain on resources that otherwise could be spent on helping participants achieve their investing goals. A survey of recent 401k litigation reveals two truths.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), March 2019

Vanguard's Share of Target-Date Fund Market Becoming "Obscene"

Abstract: Vanguard Group extended its dominance over the target-date fund market last year as the flow of retirement assets into index funds continued unabated, with employers seeking to reduce the cost of their 401k plans. With $649 billion held in its target-date mutual funds and collective investment trust funds, the index fund behemoth now controls nearly 37% of the roughly $1.8 trillion market.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), March 2019

Ten Ways Behavioral Finance Can Boost Retirement Security

Abstract: The insights of behavioral finance have the potential to help employers, plan sponsors and plan administrators make changes that can yield a substantial difference in the actions of employees and plan participants. This 2-page paper provides ten tips based on the principles of behavioral finance for helping workers achieve a secure retirement.

Source: Ifebp.org, March 2019

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Employee Benefit Plans

Abstract: Employee benefit plans typically gather, use, and maintain confidential data about plan participants. Employers, plan sponsors, and fiduciaries must use cybersecurity best practices to protect this information. This article exploreS some cybersecurity techniques applicable to employee benefit plans.

Source: Hallbenefitslaw.com, March 2019

Lost Participants: It Is Sponsors' Duty to Locate Their Terminated "Missing Persons"

Abstract: A challenge that all plan fiduciaries and their advisers face is how to deal with "lost" participants. When investigating a plan, the DOL will focus on how the plan addresses that. Indeed, the DOL recently challenged practices thought by plan fiduciaries and their advisers to be appropriate under ERISA. Given this scrutiny, plan sponsors and their advisers should examine how their plans and service providers resolve the issues involved. This article provides further details about these challenges and offers some ideas on how to address the issues.

Source: Groom.com, March 2019

The Fiduciary Parent -- The Ultimate Plan Sponsor Shouldn't Overlook this Familiar Tool

Abstract: When it comes to the definitive fiduciary, no one can play that role better than the parent. Parents are in a real position to become "plan sponsors" for their children's retirement plans. When you think about it, in acting as a fiduciary in this way for their children, they become the ultimate plan sponsor. There's a tool right at their fingertips they might be overlooking.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, March 2019

Safe Harbor or Traditional 401k Plan -- How to Decide

Abstract: If you're a business owner, you want to know when a safe harbor or traditional 401k plan is best for your company. To make an informed decision, you need to know two things: 1) if your plan will fail ADP/ACP or top heavy tests and 2) if safe harbor status will compromise your ability to meet plan priorities.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, March 2019

Wong vs. Fidelity -- A Sign of the Times

Abstract: A class action complaint1 was filed by Andre Wong, et al, representing the T-Mobile USA, Inc. 401k Retirement Plan against Fidelity Management & Research and a number of its affiliates for self-dealing and a breach of fiduciary responsibility. This could produce unintended consequences of limiting investment choices to participants in the future.

Source: Chaoco.com, March 2019

Are Your Participant Education Programs Failing?

Abstract: Many 401k plan sponsors seek to reduce their potential fiduciary liability by electing to be a Section 404(c) plan. One of the requirements in the DOL regulation is that the fiduciary provide the participant with sufficient information to make an informed investment decision. While it is important to make sure that participants get sufficient information, it may be more critical to make sure that they are able to understand, and act based on that information. This column takes a closer look at the plan sponsor’s mission of providing understandable plan and investment information.

Source: Blr.com, March 2019

Unlocking Participant Behavior a Key to Retirement Security

Abstract: There are many pieces to the puzzle that is retirement security. And one of them, suggests a benefits institute, is the behavior of plan participants. Working with, and influencing, that can help put pieces in place. In a paper recent paper, the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans argues that behavioral finance shows "that retirement plan design and communication are too often based on assumptions about people that are wrong." The paper offers 10 suggestions for ways to use behavioral finance to help employees and participants in preparing financially for retirement.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2019

Senate Tax Extenders Bill Has Disaster Provisions Impacting Retirement Plans

Abstract: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has introduced the Tax Extender and Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (S. 617). The primary aim of the legislation is to extend a number of expired or expiring tax provisions, but it is also being used to provide tax-related relief provisions specific to retirement savings arrangements apply to distributions taken from IRAs and tax-qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Source: Ascensus.com, March 2019

Americans Cite Healthcare Expenses as No. 1 Barrier to Early Retirement

Abstract: When asked to name barriers to financial independence and early retirement, Americans are less concerned about uncertain market conditions (37 percent) or inflation (35 percent), than they are about healthcare costs (57 percent), according to a new survey conducted for TD Ameritrade, of 1,500 Americans aged 45 and older with $250,000 or more in investable assets.

Source: Amtd.com, March 2019

Is Your 401k the Best it Can Be?

Abstract: How would you rank your 401(k) plan in being the best it can be to meet your organization's and your employees' needs? Do you know where to start? This article reviews three critical areas you should look at.

Source: Alliant401k.com, March 2019

Fidelity Facing 401k Fee Fire on Multiple Fronts

Abstract: Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin sent a letter to Boston-based Fidelity Investments on Feb. 27 requesting information about its 401k access fees. The Department of Labor is also investigating these fees, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Fidelity stated that its traditional business model is "broken" and characterized the infrastructure fee as a solution to that problem.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2019

Unintended Consequences of Stretching the 401k Match

Abstract: When DC plan sponsors stretch the match, they apply an existing dollar match to a higher contribution rate. For example, instead of matching 100% on the first 4% of pay, they match 50% on the first 8% of pay. The idea is that the higher match threshold will encourage participants to contribute more to the plan. A recent research paper from Vanguard says the match stretch is a "strategy proposed to increase plan contributions in plans not opting for automatic enrollment."

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2019

TDF Adoption in 2018

Abstract: In 2018, 59% of Vanguard participants in defined contribution plans were invested in a professionally managed account option, including 52% who were invested in a single target-date fund. Use of TDFs in DC plans continued to grow. At year-end 2018, 9 in 10 plans offered a TDF, three-quarters of all participants had a position in the funds, and the funds accounted for 35% of plans' assets and more than half of total plan contributions. This is an 8-page report.

Source: Vanguard.com, March 2019

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Create ERISA Annuity Safe Harbor

Abstract: Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, have introduced H.R. 1439, known as the Increasing Access to a Secure Retirement Act.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2019

Intel Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Rule on ERISA Breach Case

Abstract: Intel's investment policy committee asked the court to review litigation involving a participant in two Intel defined contribution plans. The participant alleged that plan managers violated their ERISA obligations by offering too many alternative investments in the plans' lineups and that the plans' disclosures of investment information were inadequate. The investment policy committee has argued that the participant missed the three-year deadline for filing ERISA claims.

Source: Pionline.com, March 2019

Time to Review 403b Plans for Compliance With IRS Requirements

Abstract: Given the increased scrutiny that the IRS is giving to 403b plans and an upcoming deadline for adopting a "safe harbor plan," now is a good time for sponsors of 403b plans to ensure that their plan documentation meets current IRS requirements.

Source: Millercanfield.com, March 2019

Treasury Issues Proposed Hardship Withdrawal Regulations

Abstract: Since several provisions of the Budget Act were slated to be effective as early as January 1, 2019, it is important to understand the content of the proposed hardship regulations now in order to be poised to take advantage of them once they are finalized. This article discusses the content and impact of the proposed hardship regulations.

Source: Legacyrsllc.com, March 2019

Guide to Retirement 2019 Edition

Abstract: "Retirement" is different now than for previous generations, and many topics and issues are interconnected. Each section of this thorough and wide-ranging 52-page analysis discusses common misconceptions and retirement challenges and provide the tools to address them.

Source: Jpmorgan.com, March 2019

Fidelity's Mutual Fund Shelf-Space Payments Targeted by Plaintiffs

Abstract: A February 21st complaint filed in Massachusetts federal court alleges that Fidelity required mutual funds to make "secret" payments to it in order to obtain access to Fidelity's defined contribution plan clients through its "super market" of mutual fund investment options. The lawsuit serves as a reminder of the risks and potential pitfalls associated with shelf-space and other types of "mutual fund support" payment programs under ERISA.

Source: Groom.com, March 2019

Reduce the Risk of Fiduciary Errors

Abstract: Running and maintaining a plan can be complicated and fiduciary rules are part of the reason. A recent blog entry offers some suggestions regarding how to reduce the risk of making fiduciary errors in operating a plan. "Operational errors can arouse the same severe consequences as an investment program that's infested with excessive investment-related fees," warns the Roland Criss law firm adding for good measure that the Department of Labor "consistently reminds the HR community that violations of an ERISA plan's operational rules can expose enterprise leaders to personal economic damages." To reduce the risk of running afoul of such errors, Roland Criss suggests a number of actions.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2019

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