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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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Ninth Circuit Clarifies "Actual Knowledge" for ERISA's Statute of Limitations

Abstract: In the Ninth Circuit, ERISA's three-year statute of limitations begins when the plaintiff has actual knowledge of the "nature of the alleged breach." Furthermore, the Ninth Circuit rejected a "constructive knowledge" standard, meaning participants are not charged with knowledge of documents they were provided but did not actually read.

Source: Mwe.com, January 2019

IRS Increases User Fees for Certain Requests

Abstract: The IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2019-1, Revenue Procedure 2019-2, Revenue Procedure 2019-3, Revenue Procedure 2019-4, Revenue Procedure 2019-5 and Revenue Procedure 2019-7. These Revenue Procedures became effective January 2, 2019, and update the annual Revenue Procedures, which set forth the procedures for Determination Letter requests and Private Letter Ruling requests. Importantly, these Revenue Procedures increase the user fees for certain requests.

Source: Icemiller.com, January 2019

Developing a High-Performance Retirement Plan Committee

Abstract: A well-organized and effective retirement plan committee is the cornerstone of successful fiduciary decision-making and organizational risk management for plans of any size. However, great committees do not happen by accident, they are the product of a "best practices" approach to design and implementation. Listed here are eight simple steps any company can implement to make its committee more effective.

Source: Greenspringadvisors.com, January 2019

The Definitive 401k Compliance Calendar for 2019

Abstract: When it comes to 401k compliance, you probably already know that there's a lot you need to stay on top of. You probably also don't have time to spend hours researching online or digging through ERISA codes to figure out what you have to do and when you have to do it by. This simple 401k compliance calendar allows you to quickly see the compliance deadlines you should be aware of in 2019.

Source: Forusall.com, January 2019

Recent Market Volatility Has Revealed This About Target-Date Funds

Abstract: The fourth quarter of 2018 brought the markets well beyond correction territory and to the precipice of a bear market. For the first time since the 2008/2009 market crash, we've had the opportunity to glimpse at whether the various "fixes" to target-date funds following that debacle have created a more durable vehicle. While the jury may still be out, we may have stumbled upon one unexpected benefit to target-date funds (and default investments in general).

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, January 2019

IRS Issues New Eligible Rollover Distribution Notices

Abstract: In IRS Notice 2018-74, the Internal Revenue Service has issued new eligible rollover distribution notices. The Notice contains revised safe harbor explanations, which may be used to meet the requirement found in Code section 402(f), that a plan administrator of a qualified retirement plan provide an explanation of the tax rules applying to an eligible rollover distribution made to the recipient.

Source: Erisalawyerblog.com, January 2019

Considerations Before Maxing Out Your 401k

Abstract: You probably already know that contributing to your 401k plan will improve your retirement finances. But shoveling as much money as possible into a 401k account shouldn't always be your top priority. There are some circumstances when it makes sense to pay down debt and build up some savings outside of your 401k before boosting your 401k withholding. Here's what you should think about before increasing your 401k contributions.

Source: Usnews.com, January 2019

To Err Is Human; to Forgive Is Only a Correction Program Away

Abstract: No matter how diligent you are around plan administration, occasional mistakes are nonetheless inevitable. The good news is they can be fixed. Both the IRS and the DOL have established programs to help plan sponsors correct defects, allowing you to maintain the tax-qualified status of your plans or get back on the fiduciary straight and narrow.

Source: Fidelity.com, January 2019

Is the Swan Going to Live?

Abstract: Throughout the past several years, Senator Orrin Hatch has led a charge to make certain modifications to the law relating to qualified retirement plans. He has again introduced a 2018 version of the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) for consideration by Congress. Will this last chance to get this bill passed be the Senator's wonderful swan song? Details of the bill are reviewed.

Source: Ferenczylaw.com, January 2019

2019 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing

Abstract: The 32-page 2019 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing report is based on an annual survey that Alight Solutions administers to employers in an effort to capture the changes they intend to make to their retirement and financial wellbeing plans in the year ahead. The 2019 version is the 15th installment of the report and comes from the responses of nearly 175 organizations that employ 7.6 million workers. The survey was administered in the fall of 2018.

Source: Alight.com, January 2019

2019 ERISA Plan Compliance Calendar

Abstract: This calendar highlights some of the significant regulatory dates for 2019, but it does not identify all compliance obligations or due dates. The calendar assumes that a plan is being administered on a calendar year basis by an employer using a calendar fiscal year. For the most part, the information for pension plans applies to single employer plans.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2019*

Driving Plan Participation Through Education Efforts

Abstract: Sponsors know too well that a lot of planning and consideration goes into the design and maintenance of a retirement plan. But much of that hard work is futile without employee participation. Employees need to understand the benefits of the plan and how to use it in order to recognize its value. A robust employee education program can play a significant role in improving plan participation rates and will reinforce the value of the plan to employees.

Source: Planpilot.com, January 2019

Another University Wins 403b Suit

Abstract: While there have been roughly two dozen of these 403b university lawsuits filed since 2016, Georgetown is now the fifth university to prevail at trial. The bottom line seems to be that the defendants willing and able to go to trial stand a pretty good chance of success.However, that bar is not so low as to permit an easy summary judgment dismissal of the claims made.

Source: Napa-net.org, January 2019

Research Finds 4 in 10 Small Businesses Currently Offer Retirement Benefits

Abstract: Research shows Americans' top financial concern is affording a comfortable retirement and access to a workplace savings plan is the most effective way to get people to start to save for retirement. However, when it comes to small businesses (2-99 employees) only 42 percent offer retirement benefits. The good news is that the research finds 40 percent of small business employers feel retirement benefits are more important now than three years ago.

Source: Limra.com, January 2019

When a 401k Plan Sponsor May Have to Fire Their Advisor

Abstract: One big part of when things aren't going so well is when the financial advisor isn't doing their job competently and doing a disservice to the plan sponsor. This article is about situations where the plan sponsor may have to fire their financial advisor.

Source: Jdsupra.com, January 2019

Have 403b Lawsuits Hit a Wall? Fifth University Wins Dismissal

Abstract: Losses continue to mount for university employees suing their schools over allegedly excessive retirement-plan fees. Georgetown University became the fifth defendant to successfully beat back such claims in court. Roughly two dozen lawsuits against universities for imprudent management of their 403b plans, which are defined-contribution plans for nonprofits, have been filed since August 2016.

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

Hub-Sheridan Road Latest Deal to Heat up M&A Among 401k Advice Firms

Abstract: Acquisitions of financial advisory firms focused on the retirement-plan market appear to be gaining momentum. A handful of recent deals involving large 401k-focused firms and a more varied group of buyers have led some experts to believe that the previously subdued acquisition market is turning a corner. The latest development is Hub International's acquisition of Sheridan Road Financial, a $14 billion firm headquartered in Chicago.

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

New Year's Resolution: Prepare Yourself for an IRS or DOL Plan Audit

Abstract: This article addresses what questions you should be asking when attempting to potentially minimize monetary sanctions, serious consequences to your employees, and personal liability for company officials who are ERISA-plan fiduciaries responsible for the investment of plan assets and plan administration that can stem from an IRS or DOL Plan audit.

Source: Gtlaw.com, January 2019

ERISA Litigation Defendants Take Note: Burden of Proof Is Becoming More Weighty

Abstract: Many parties to ERISA litigation and arbitration pay lip service to the burden of proof, put on their respective cases and leave it to the trier of fact to decide which side deserves the victory. Burdens of proof have become increasingly important, however, as procedural and substantive issues become more complex, and judges often have less time to deal with the subtleties in ERISA litigation. Burdens of proof thus demand more attention.

Source: Erisa-employeebenefitslitigationblog.com, January 2019

Boosting the Effectiveness of Retirement Plan Communications

Abstract: Words have the potential to inform, encourage and empower. But the wrong words can be powerful in negative ways, leaving people uncomfortable, overwhelmed or confused. Using the right words is especially critical in financial matters. Cutting back on jargon and delivering communications where participants want them can help put employees on the right track.

Source: Empower-retirement.com, January 2019

The Do's and Don'ts of Your 401k Fund Lineup

Abstract: This short article shares a number of do's and don'ts when it comes to your 401k plan fund menu.

Source: Conradsiegel.com, January 2019

Agreement on ERISA Auditing Standard Reached, but Delayed

Abstract: AICPA's Auditing Standards Board has agreed on changes to auditing standards to respond to DOL's 2015 review of plan audits, but will likely delay the implementation of the changes until periods ending on or after December 15, 2020. The proposal was aimed at improving audit quality in response to DOL's 2015 review of audits in which deficiencies were found in a significant number of cases.

Source: Buck.com, January 2019

403b Plan Sponsors Continue to Improve Investment Oversight

Abstract: Even among 403b plans not governed by ERISA, PLANSPONSOR DC Survey results show that in 2016, 54.3% of plan sponsors reported they have an investment committee for their plans; this jumped to 67.3% in 2017 and 67% in 2018.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2019

Georgetown University 403b Plan Defeats ERISA Challenge

Abstract: In a colorfully worded opinion, the district court judge chides plaintiffs for failing to acknowledge basic facts about the way annuities work and their well-established role in 403b plans.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2019

Are Cybercriminals Targeting Your 401k?

Abstract: To a cybercriminal, the 401k industry looks like a big candy store with over $5 trillion in liquid assets and largely automated systems. Armed with your name, social security number, date of birth, address and any personal information available on social media, your 401k account is vulnerable. Not surprisingly, since these large-scale data breaches have occurred, industry insiders report a sharp increase in the number of attempts to steal 401k assets. Here are some steps you should take now to protect your 401k assets.

Source: Francisinvco.com, January 2019

Five Tips for 401k Administration in 2019

Abstract: I think you'll agree that 401k administration can be tedious and complex. And it's easy to mess up. And every time you make a mistake, even if it's just a tiny one, it can add a lot of frustration and hassle during your year-end compliance work. This article walks you through five 401k administration tips used by top companies to save time and keep their 401ks compliant, without wanting to pull their hair out.

Source: Forusall.com, January 2019

Will 401k Plan Sponsors Fall for These Over-Hyped Topics?

Abstract: You've probably read dozens of stories on these topics. Or maybe just the headlines. Either way, you've seen these words and phrases ad nauseum over the past year or so. In fact, they've been repeated so often, it's easy to understand how they may now be treated as solid axioms rather than merely loose conjecture. Yet, it's well within the purview of one's fiduciary duty to ask if there's steak beneath that sizzle. Here are five over-hyped topics that represent prime candidates to deliver less than expected.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, January 2019

401k Contribution Deadlines -- You Don't Want to Miss Them

Abstract: This is a summary of the deposit deadlines applicable to all 401k plan contributions, including how to correct late contributions. If you're a 401k fiduciary, you can use this information to understand your plan's contribution deadlines and what you need to do in case you miss one.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, January 2019

Selecting and Monitoring Target-Date Funds

Abstract: Besides the differences in glide path determination, TDFs will vary in their investment strategies and fees. There are no guidelines or requirements as to how TDFs must structure their investments or glide paths. Plan fiduciaries need to establish a prudent process for selecting and monitoring a TDF. This article reviews a few things to consider.

Source: Consultrms.com, January 2019

DC Plan Participants Voice Their Interest in Responsible Investing

Abstract: Defined contribution plan participants voice their interest in aligning their retirement investments with their ethics. But the US Department of Labor has apparently put up some roadblocks that cause DC plan sponsors to hesitate.

Source: Alliancebernstein.com, January 2019

Retirement Savings: Priorities, Strategies, and Barriers

Abstract: Building ample retirement savings might be giving way to more immediate financial demands for many moderate-income working adults in their 40s and 50s, causing planning for the long-term to slip down the list of priorities.

Source: Aarp.org, January 2019

401k Conundrum - Is a Roth or Traditional Best for Millennials?

Abstract: Millennials who are just entering the workforce might be in a low tax bracket now and a high tax bracket later on in their careers. That means in retirement they stand to benefit more from contributing to a Roth 401k or Roth IRA than a traditional 401k or IRA. By contrast, those who might be in high tax bracket now and a low tax bracket in retirement stand to benefit more from contributing to a traditional 401k.

Source: Thestreet.com, January 2019

Required Minimum Distribution Rules: Everything You Need to Know

Abstract: The consequences of failing to take your RMDs are quite severe, so it's important to know not only whether the RMD rules apply to you but also how much money you have to withdraw from your retirement accounts in order to satisfy the requirements.

Source: Fool.com, January 2019

Changes in Technology, Regulation and Accessibility Drive Rise in Use of Collective Investment Trusts

Abstract: CITs are tax-exempt, pooled investment vehicles sponsored and maintained by a bank or trust company. Typically, available only to qualified retirement plans, CITs combine assets from eligible investors into a single investment portfolio with a specific investment strategy. By pooling assets, sponsors of CITs may take advantage of economies of scale to offer lower overall expenses. The sponsoring trustee provides an additional level of risk management, and today's CITs offer more innovative investment opportunities than in the past.

Source: Seekingalpha.com, January 2019

Puerto Rico Announces 2019 Limits on Qualified Retirement Plans

Abstract: The Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury issued Internal Revenue Informative Bulletin No. 18-24 (IB 18-24) announcing the 2019 applicable limits for Puerto Rico qualified retirement plans.

Source: Littler.com, January 2019

IRS Releases Determination Letter Guidance in RP 2019-04

Abstract: The IRS has released its annual guidance including Revenue Procedure 2019-4 providing guidance on obtaining a determination letter.

Source: Irs.gov, January 2019

Market Downturn Could Accelerate 401k Recordkeeper Consolidation

Abstract: Plan advisers would be wise to watch the 401k recordkeeper market closely as it enters its next phase of consolidation, which may begin soon. As plan advisers look to cut back on the number of their provider partners, picking on the wrong side of recordkeeper consolidation will be painful and costly. And a market downturn could accelerate the transactions.

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

DOL Rule to Expand MEPs: A Positive Step, but Broader Savings Options Needed

Abstract: The Department of Labor is considering new rules to facilitate retirement saving in workplace retirement accounts for sole proprietors and the owners and workers of small businesses. While these rules are a small step in the right direction, Congress must simplify saving for retirement and other needs for all Americans. Congress and the Administration should work together to simplify saving for all Americans. Universal Savings Accounts should be first on their agenda.

Source: Heritage.org, January 2019

New Class Action Lawsuit Examines How a Common Definition of Compensation Was Applied

Abstract: A recent class action lawsuit emphasizes the importance of clarity in plan language, particularly the definition of compensation, a frequent source of errors. As most plan administrators are aware, what elements of pay are counted as compensation for various purposes of the plan can vary and change from time to time, particularly when payroll systems or vendors change or employers adopt different compensation designs. In this case, the plaintiff has asserted that the plan sponsor should have treated certain post-termination bonuses as benefitable compensation under the terms of the plan.

Source: Groom.com, January 2019

Nearly $100 Million in 401k Litigation Settlements Last Year

Abstract: While there were fewer 401k claims in 2018 than in prior years, settlements are up, amounting to approximately $90 million in the aggregate. There appears to be less appetite to incur substantial defense costs, driving the settlement rate up.

Source: Fiduciarygovernanceblog.com, January 2019

Comparing Seven Defined Contribution Plan Designs

Abstract: When designing a plan, you look at objectives, the need for flexibility, ages of the key personnel, salaries of everyone involved, total budgeted dollars, the advantages of adding 401k features. This chart shows the results of an analysis prepared for one company that wanted a defined contribution plan.

Source: Consultrms.com, January 2019

Four Major Challenges for 401k Plan Providers Now

Abstract: Every year presents new challenges for retirement plan sponsors and advisors. Here are just a few items to watch, as well as suggestions to stay ahead of the curve.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2019

Why Current 401k MEP Mania Should Cool

Abstract: Legislative changes are necessary in order to expand savings options even more. While MEPs are a step in the right direction, but MEP expansions are merely tweaking the edges of an overly complex retirement system in need of fundamental congressional reform. MEPs could even risk entrenching the current broken system.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2019

Transamerica Sued Over 401k Plan Investment Options

Abstract: Current and former participants in the Transamerica's 401k plan have sued the company and plan fiduciaries, alleging they breached their duties under ERISA by failing to remove underperforming proprietary investments. The defendants "saddled the plan's participants with substandard investment portfolios that were managed by a Transamerica affiliate," said the complaint.

Source: Pionline.com, January 2019

Why MEPs Aren't Right for All 401k Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Multiple-employer plans, or MEPs, are all the rage these days. However, there are some restrictions around MEPs, namely that they provide a one-size-fits-all solution in a world where customization has become king. For that reason, there has been a movement toward the de-adoption of MEPs that is not only very real, but also sheds light on why MEPs are a good option for some plans and a poor fit for others.

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

Five Steps 401k Plan Sponsors Should Resolve to Take in 2019

Abstract: A new world of fiduciary is upon us. What does this mean for 401k plan sponsors and the financial professionals that serve them? How should this new fiduciary atmosphere change their focus? In many ways, 401k plan sponsors might be surprised to discover the path has never been clearer In fact, the journey can be described in these five easy steps.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, January 2019

Watch These ERISA Cases in 2019

Abstract: A number of vexing issues facing ERISA practitioners came to a head in 2018 and are primed to be resolved in the coming year. This article examines the cases raising these issues, and the impact their resolution in the coming year will have on retirees and the retirement industry.

Source: Cohenmilstein.com, January 2019

Our Retirement Savings Fuel a Stronger Nation

Abstract: The truth is that retirement savings in America do far more than just help provide post-retirement income. Workplace savings have become an indispensable source for American capital formation generally.

Source: Bostonglobe.com, January 2019

Resolving to Meet Fiduciary Duties

Abstract: The confetti has been swept from Times Square and the bubbly bottles are in the recycling, and the nitty-gritty of applying those new year's resolutions has begun. A recent blog entry has some suggestions for resolutions to follow in order to better fulfill fiduciary duties.

Source: Asppa-net.org, January 2019


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