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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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Cybersecurity Threats: What Retirement Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries Need to Know-and Do

Abstract: The loss of employee personal information due to a cyber breach is an ever-increasing concern to all employers. No organization or industry is immune from cyber threats, including benefit plan sponsors and plan service providers. This article analyzes cybersecurity issues for retirement plans.

Source: Poynerspruill.com, October 2017

Who Are the Top 403b Providers?

Abstract: Large nonprofits like hospitals and universities may have ample staff to thoroughly research potential 403b providers. They may even have the capability to administer the plan, and monitor the investments. Small nonprofits, however, may struggle to find time to even look for a provider, much less handle tasks associated with a retirement plan. Nonprofits unsure of just how to go about a search may simply contact one of the larger 403b providers. The biggest 403b players are presented below here.

Source: Forusall.com, October 2017

IRS Provides Guidance on Curing a Loan Default Caused by Missed Payment

Abstract: This guidance consists of a description of two situations, one in which a later single large loan payment is applied to cure loan payments that are missed, and one in which a replacement loan from the plan is applied to cure to missed loan payments, with the cures in each situation occurring during the regulation's period during which cures can be made.

Source: Erisalawyerblog.com, October 2017

Brokerage Windows: Do the Risks Outweigh the Rewards

Abstract: More 401k and 403b plan sponsors are offering an investment option called a brokerage window. However, more choice isn't always better when it comes to the investment menu. And some sponsors have the misconception that offering a brokerage window relieves some of their fiduciary responsibilities. That is not the case, while the Department of Labor does not prohibit the use of brokerage windows in retirement plans, it has shown increased interest in them in recent years.

Source: 401ktv.com, October 2017

Employee Benefit Plans: Mistakes and Available Correction Programs

Abstract: Employee benefit and retirement plans are required to comply with a number of complex laws and regulations, and failure to do so can result in significant penalties and/or disqualification of a plan. Despite best intentions different plan errors can occur. The good news is that there are correction program options available for plan sponsors without sacrificing the qualified status of a plan.

Source: Withum.com, October 2017*

DOL Is Stepping Up "Missing Participant" Pension Plan Audits

Abstract: Sponsors of 401k plans may be interested to know that the DOL is ramping up its audits of DB plans with "missing" participants. This is putting pressure on plan administrators to locate former employees -- or their beneficiaries -- so that they can receive the benefits they're owed.

Source: Shrm.org, October 2017

Shift to Defined Contribution Plans Causes International Concern

Abstract: A collaborative survey between the U.S., Britain and Australia shows working-age employees struggle with retirement planning and saving. Workers in the three countries have similar reasons for lamenting the shift from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution plans.

Source: Plansponsor.com, October 2017

Bridging the Gap in Financial Wellness

Abstract: As popularity grows, providers must keep the goals of plan sponsors and participants in mind when deciding what components to build into these nascent financial wellness offerings. The most common components of current financial wellness programs according to plan sponsors are online access and guidance on health savings accounts or HSAs.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, October 2017

DC Plan Advisors Driving Financial Wellness Program Adoption

Abstract: Faced with increased pressure to demonstrate added value, DC advisors are offering financial wellness programs more frequently. Financial wellness programs, which are designed to educate employees about how to manage their personal finance challenges such as debt reduction, asset management, unexpected expenses as well as saving for retirement, are starting to soar in popularity.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, October 2017

The Truth and Myth Over the 401k Investment Policy Statement

Abstract: When you are a 401k plan sponsor, you hear a lot about an investment policy statement and how you need one. Yet many plan sponsors don't know what it is or what it does. This article breaks down what an IPS is, what it does, and what it doesn't do.

Source: Jdsupra.com, October 2017

Over a Quarter of Seniors Say Retirement Is Worse Than They Expected

Abstract: For some seniors, retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, about 28% of them say their lives are actually worse during retirement than before they left the workforce, according to a Nationwide survey.

Source: Fool.com, October 2017

EPI Comment to the SEC Regarding the Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The Economic Policy Institute's comment letter on standards of conduct for investment advisers and broker-dealers. They urge the SEC to build on the DOL rule addressing conflicts of interest that harm retirement savers to extend protections to other investors.

Source: Epi.org, October 2017

ERIC Challenges Oregon Reporting Requirements for Retirement Plans

Abstract: McDermott Will & Emery filed a lawsuit on behalf of the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) challenging new reporting requirements under Oregon law as applicable to retirement plans subject to ERISA.

Source: Employeebenefitsblog.com, October 2017

Oregon's Private-Sector Retirement Plan Faces First Legal Test

Abstract: Oregon's retirement savings plan for private-sector employees came under fire Oct. 12 when an employer industry group filed a lawsuit alleging federal law bars certain parts of it.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), October 2017

Five Dangerous Fiduciary Assumptions

Abstract: There's an old saying that when you assume...well, you know the rest. Here are five assumptions that can create real headaches for retirement plan fiduciaries.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Enhanced Saver's Credit Would Improve Retirement Security

Abstract: A series of structural and administrative changes to the Saver's Credit would make the program less complex and more likely to achieve its intended goal of encouraging low- and moderate-income workers to save for retirement, according to a new report.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Rutledge Nominated as EBSA Head

Abstract: President Trump has officially announced his intent to nominate Preston Rutledge to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration. Rutledge currently serves as senior tax and benefits counsel on the Majority Tax Staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee where his responsibilities include employee benefits, retirement issues, tax-exempt organizations, health tax issues, and the tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Fiduciary Rule Kill Bill Clears Hurdle

Abstract: The House Financial Services Committee gave its stamp of approval to the latest attempt to block the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. The committee passed the Protecting Advice for Small Savers (PASS) Act Of 2017, moving it a step closer to a full vote.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, October 2017

The Single Biggest Impediment to 401k Financial Success?

Abstract: You can have the best-laid retirement plan, but employees won't be able to fully utilize it and become engaged unless you address the biggest block to your employee's financial success: debt.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, October 2017

Leveraging Retirement Goals and Business Objectives in a 401k Plan

Abstract: The primary retirement goal is to maximize retirement savings. Business objectives are more complex in the sense that they encompass a dual purpose of maximizing benefits to the employer/owner(s) and providing a valuable benefit to the employees.

Source: Rpgconsultants.com, October 2017

How You Can Solve the Most Difficult DOL Rule Documentation Requirement

Abstract: Onboarding IRA assets requires advisors to create best interest documentation that must take into account plan fees. However, in the absence of transparent fee reporting by retirement plans, advisors must really understand how to obtain appropriate data, as well as limitations of different sources.

Source: Rixtrema.com, October 2017

Why the Average Retirement Age Is Rising

Abstract: This article provides a checkup on the working-longer lever by looking at recent numbers on the average retirement age, the age at which the labor force participation rate drops below 50%.

Source: Marketwatch.com, October 2017

A primer on Stable Value Funds for Retirement Plan Advisers

Abstract: Retirement plan advisers should not set and forget stable value funds. These funds can be an excellent supporting character in a diversified global portfolio for the right DC plan clients. But good advisers take nothing for granted. It's important to look under the hood of investments, even those considered to be the "safest" components of a portfolio.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), October 2017

How to Reduce Your ERISA Risks, and the Role of Fiduciary Liability Insurance

Abstract: If there had been any doubt, the last few years have made clear that lawsuits against all parties involved with retirement and welfare plans are here to stay. Indeed, plan sponsors and fiduciaries now face increased risks of litigation on many fronts, and the need for comprehensive fiduciary liability insurance is greater than ever. This white paper discusses the responsibilities of ERISA fiduciaries and the types of litigation that may be brought against them, as well as some practical suggestions on plan design and administration that may help reduce litigation risk.

Source: Groom.com, October 2017

Retirement Readiness Peer Comparisons: Best Practices and Recent Innovations

Abstract: Sufficiently preparing for retirement can be a daunting task for many participants, but properly gauging retirement readiness can be equally arduous. Peer comparison features provide an intuitive way to help participants understand their progress toward achieving their retirement income goals, offering valuable context to data that may otherwise be less meaningful to participants. Peer comparisons can also play off competitive instincts that may encourage participants to save more.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, October 2017

It Takes a Committee - The Best Ways to Govern DC Plans

Abstract: Effective governance of their DC plans helps employers meet fiduciary responsibilities, abide by regulatory requirements, and minimize the risk of litigation and negative press. This 13-page report identifies ways in which committee structure, composition -- and even the number of meetings and those responsible for meeting agendas -- have important implications for the priorities, challenges, and effectiveness of DC plan governance.

Source: Callan.com, October 2017

401k/IRA Holdings in 2016: An Update from the SCF

Abstract: The Federal Reserve's 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances offers an opportunity to examine households' holdings in 401ks and IRAs. For working households nearing retirement with a 401k, median combined 401k/IRA balances rose from $111,000 in 2013 to $135,000 in 2016. While growing balances are encouraging, $135,000 provides only $600 per month in retirement, so current saving levels are still falling short. Moreover, about half of households nearing retirement have no 401k assets at all, so lack of access to a plan remains an enormous problem.

Source: Bc.edu, October 2017

Consumer Group Says Shift to Fee-Based Accounts Could Violate Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The Consumer Federation of America recently wrote to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, both expressing skepticism regarding reports that that the fiduciary rule is "causing brokerage firms to shift investors into fee accounts where they face higher costs than they would have in a commission account," and cautioning that if that is happening, it "reflects a fundamental enforcement failure on the part of the Department."

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

How to Raise the Grade on DC Plan Success

Abstract: In the quest to improve DC plans, plan sponsors are focusing on making participants more confident in their retirement readiness. With new tools and enhanced fiduciary training, sponsors will feel more confident that they can raise their plans' grades.

Source: Alliancebernstein.com, October 2017

Excessive Fee Litigation Sets Sights on Corporate Retirement Plans

Abstract: Of all the industries facing these risks, few have seen more litigation than the financial industry which has faced a barrage of lawsuits over the in-house mutual funds in their respective 401k plans. Currently, there are more than 20 different financial institutions facing lawsuits challenging these in-house 401k investments.

Source: Willistowerswatson.com, October 2017

IRS Reveals FY 2018 Compliance Priorities

Abstract: In the Internal Revenue Service Tax Exempt and Government Entities FY 2018 Work Plan, the agency revealed efforts it will be making next year to help sponsors achieve compliance for their employee retirement plans. Plan sponsors will have a number of new compliance checks to keep in mind.

Source: Plansponsor.com, October 2017

Internal Controls Policy -- Does Your Plan Need One?

Abstract: Do you wish that you could find a way to avoid plan compliance problems and shorten the length of IRS or Department of Labor plan audits? One compliance tool you can use is an Internal Controls Policy.

Source: 401ktv.com, October 2017

Step Up Your HR Communications Game

Abstract: With the dizzying pace of change in HR these days, the need to capture employees' attention and spur them to action has never been greater. Here's a quick summary of the biggest trends in new technologies and techniques for HR communications.

Source: Sibson.com, October 2017

Worker Reactions to State-Sponsored Auto-IRA Programs

Abstract: The Pew Charitable Trusts surveyed more than 900 workers without access to retirement plans at small and midsize businesses (those with five to 250 employees) to see how they perceive state-sponsored auto-IRA proposals. A series of focus groups provided additional context.

Source: Pewtrusts.org, October 2017

Hurricane Survival Guide for Employee Benefit Plans and Employers

Abstract: This article explores the efforts by the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to grant multiple forms of relief to taxpayers impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and other disasters enumerated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This new disaster relief affects health plans, retirement plans, and employers.

Source: Mwe.com, October 2017

Using Behavioral Economics to Participants' Advantage

Abstract: What stops us from making good financial decisions? This article shares ideas on what prevents us from making good financial decisions and what retirement plan sponsors can do to combat these natural human tendencies by tapping into behavioral economics.

Source: Ifebp.org, October 2017

Congress Adds Plan Distribution Tax Relief for Recent Disasters

Abstract: The Act includes relief from the 10% premature distribution penalty for withdrawals from retirement savings and provides expanded loan availability to qualified plan participants. It also offers withholding exceptions, delayed taxation, and extended repayment options to ease the financial bite of tapping retirement savings for hurricane recovery.

Source: Conduent.com, October 2017

The DOL Fiduciary Rule: Don't Misinterpret the Word "Delay"

Abstract: The word "delay" can be misconstrued. Context is everything. An advisor could interpret the delay to mean that the fiduciary rule is not applicable and that they don't have to follow it. But that isn't the case. It's more accurate for financial advisors to think of the DOL's proposal in terms of an extension of the transition period that's already in place.

Source: Columbiathreadneedleus.com, October 2017

SIMPLE vs 401k - Converting a SIMPLE to a 401k

Abstract: A SIMPLE IRA is a great starter plan for small businesses. But eventually the limitations of a SIMPLE will wear on an employer, so they may consider making the change to 401k.

Source: Benefit-Resources.com, October 2017

Should Your 401k Plan Go Safe Harbor?

Abstract: A plan sponsor must be advised by their third-party administration firm and/or ERISA attorney why a safe harbor plan design might be a good idea. Here are some clues as to when plans need to go this route.

Source: Jdsupra.com, October 2017

DOL Fiduciary Rule Ups Ante for Monitoring of 401k Recordkeepers

Abstract: The DOL fiduciary rule is changing how retirement plan advisers help their clients monitor recordkeeping firms such as Fidelity Investments and Empower Retirement. Several plan providers have expanded their participant-call-center services to include fiduciary advice, and advisers must help clients navigate the change.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), October 2017

ERISA Excess Fee Litigation: Waiting for the Deluge

Abstract: ERISA fee litigation is moving downstream to smaller plans and that this ought to be a source of worry for small plan sponsors.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, October 2017

Are Your Older Employees Thinking Differently About Retirement?

Abstract: Employers invest a tremendous amount of time and cost in employee benefit offerings which are designed to help their employees save and financially prepare for retirement. Ironically, few employers are focused on the actual process of retirement and its workforce-related implications.

Source: Blr.com, October 2017

Hurricane Legislation Grants Retirement Plan Relief

Abstract: Under the provisions of the new law, "qualified hurricane distributions" from IRAs, qualified retirement plans, 403b plans, and governmental 457b plans are entitled to special tax treatment, as well as repayment options if the recipient so chooses. There are also provisions that apply specifically to loans from employer plans.

Source: Ascensus.com, October 2017

How Policymakers Can Restore the Role of Lifetime Income in Workplace Retirement Plans

Abstract: In this white paper, TIAA has identified six common-sense, bipartisan solutions for legislators and regulators to advance the role of lifetime income in retirement savings plans and help create a more financially secure future for all Americans.

Source: Tiaa.org, October 2017

Fiduciary Rule Creating Opportunities for Advisers to Small Plans

Abstract: Many sponsors in the mid- and small-plan market, facing pressure from participants and regulators, are seeking DC specialist advisers for the first time.

Source: Planadviser.com, October 2017

Required Minimum Distributions

Abstract: It is important to be reminded about one frequently overlooked retirement plan requirement. Upon attainment of age 70-1/2, certain participants of a tax-qualified retirement plan may be required by federal tax law to withdraw a minimum amount from such plan each year. These mandatory distributions are known as "required minimum distributions."

Source: Legacyrsllc.com, October 2017

Operational Compliance List

Abstract: Qualified retirement plans must satisfy Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (and related Code Sections) in both form and operation. In some situations, plans are required to begin operational compliance with changes in the law even before the plan document is required to be updated. This short article answers the question, what is the Operational Compliance List?

Source: Boutwellfay.com, October 2017

Blockchain Technology Hits the Retirement Plan Industry

Abstract: Some of the largest retirement service companies are trying to tap blockchain technology because of its potential to increase efficiency in recordkeeping, document sharing, transaction settlements, contract execution, and business collaboration.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), October 2017

Some Small Business 401ks Could Vanish Under Tax Plan "Glitch"

Abstract: Under the proposed tax plan, retirement plan contributions from pass-through small-business owners would be deductible against the 25 percent tax rate, but could be taxed at the individual rate of 35 percent when the 401k funds are withdrawn.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), October 2017

Fidelity Found Not Liable in Excessive Fee Suit

Abstract: Participants of the of the Delta Family-Care Savings Plan sued Fidelity entities regarding excessive fees charged for the plan's advice offering as well as its self-directed brokerage account option.

Source: Planadviser.com, October 2017

The Timely Use of Plan Forfeitures

Abstract: DC plans often provide employer contributions to participants, whether matching or nonelective, that are subject to a vesting schedule. When a participant terminates employment prior to becoming fully vested in those contributions, the unvested portion is forfeited on a date specified by the plan. While this process is generally straightforward, a plan may encounter challenges in determining how and when to use those forfeited assets appropriately.

Source: Fidelity.com, October 2017

Hurricane Summary Relief Charts

Abstract: These charts reflect the hurricane relief that is in effect as of September 29, 2017.

Source: Ferenczylaw.com, October 2017

Johns Hopkins Employees Advance Retirement Plan Fee Suit

Abstract: Johns Hopkins University is the latest prominent college to lose an early round in a lawsuit challenging the fees and investment options in its retirement plan.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), October 2017

Verizon Fee Disclosure Lawsuit Sees Most Claims Dismissed

Abstract: Verizon Communications is largely free of a proposed class action claiming it implemented an overly complex and risky investment structure for its defined contribution retirement plans and failed to explain how the plans charged fees.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), October 2017

Think Tax Reform Won't Impact Retirement Plans, Think Again

Abstract: If you had a choice between paying a 25% tax on your income or a 35% tax on your income, which would you choose? That's the choice small business owners could be asked to make under the new tax reform just unveiled by Congress and the White House that includes a 25% "pass-through" cap on tax rates for small business. But without a fix, the new rate could cause thousands of small businesses to terminate their retirement plans.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Industry Leaders: Build on Existing Framework to Address "Challenges"

Abstract: Retirement industry leaders appearing at a recent Capitol Hill event generally agreed that building on the existing system would dramatically improve the retirement readiness of Americans throughout the country.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

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