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July 2017 Digest

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, 403(b) 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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Trump Administration Ends myRA Retirement Savings Program

Abstract: Although many providers have used online, participant self-certification to process hardships, serious questions remain whether this process is adequate and the employer, not the provider, remains responsible for any improper hardships. Recent changes to IRS audit guidelines for its examiners indicate the IRS may be more flexible than in the past if certain notice and documentation requirements are met.

Source: Usatoday.com, July 2017

401k Hardship Distributions: Do They Have to Be So Hard?

Abstract: Although many providers have used online, participant self-certification to process hardships, serious questions remain whether this process is adequate and the employer, not the provider, remains responsible for any improper hardships. Recent changes to IRS audit guidelines for its examiners indicate the IRS may be more flexible than in the past if certain notice and documentation requirements are met.

Source: Wnj.com, July 2017

Treasury Announces Steps to Wind Down myRA Program

Abstract: The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced that it will begin to wind down the myRA program after a review by Treasury that found it not to be cost effective.

Source: Treasury.gov, July 2017

Oregon Rolls Out Retirement Savings Program

Abstract: On July 1, 2017, the state of Oregon rolled out its new pilot program OregonSaves to help those who do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. The remainder of the program will be rolled out in phases.

Source: Retirementtownhall.com, July 2017

Why Do I Need to Restate My 403b Plan Document?

Abstract: All organizations sponsoring 403b plans must now "restate" their plan documents onto an IRS approved document by March 31, 2020. Restatement on an IRS pre-approved plan gives the sponsoring organization reliance that the provisions in the pre-approved plan are compliant with IRS rules and regulations and that the plan assets are protected from taxation.

Source: Qbillc.com, July 2017

How Hybrid QDIAs Could Be Beneficial to Participants

Abstract: There are different ways the industry is defining hybrid qualified default investment alternatives. Whether structured as a hybrid QDIA or not, experts agree managed accounts can be complementary to TDFs in a DC plan's investment menu.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2017

DC Plan Innovation Moves Down Market

Abstract: Smaller plans traditionally have lagged behind large plans when it comes to embracing best practices under ERISA, but survey data shows the picture is changing.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

Advisers Can Help Plan Sponsors Save on Fees

Abstract: Advisers have the ability to reduce a retirement plan's fees by as much as 50%, says Julie Ward, vice president, consulting at NFP's retirement division in Aliso Viejo, California.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

Voya's Win in 401k Fee Suit Bodes Well for Other Recordkeepers

Abstract: The dismissal of a lawsuit against Voya Financial for its relationship with 401k robo-adviser Financial Engines could be a harbinger of success for other major retirement-plan record keepers locked in similar legal battles.

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

Franklin Templeton 401k Challenge Gets Class Treatment

Abstract: Participants in the Franklin Templeton 401k Retirement Plan who sued the company over the plan's in-house mutual funds got permission to move forward as a certified class.

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

Computation of Maximum Loan Amount in the Case of Multiple Loans

Abstract: After issuing guidance earlier this year, the IRS has issued superseding guidance to agents on calculating the maximum loan amount in the event of multiple loans.

Source: Benefitsforward.com, July 2017

Black Millennials Lack Retirement Plan

Abstract: The retirement forecast for Black millennials could prove catastrophic if better financial planning, saving and curbing unnecessary spending are not taken seriously.

Source: Afro.com, July 2017

Missing Participants -- Part One

Abstract: There are widespread reports of Department of Labor audits focusing on plan procedures with respect to "missing participants." The DOL is treating the failure to adopt and follow adequate missing participant search procedures as a fiduciary breach and a possible prohibited transaction. This article reviews current rules and practice with respect to missing participants.

Source: Octoberthree.com, July 2017

Defining Expense Accounts

Abstract: What is a Plan Expense Account (also known as an ERISA Account, ERISA Budgets Account, or Revenue-Sharing Account)? This 5-page white paper deals with what they are, who are they for, how they work, why they exist, and how they are handled.

Source: Multnomahgroup.com, July 2017

To Reach DC Plan Sponsors, Tap the Wall Street Journal

Abstract: Plan providers courting new business often turn to trade publications and websites to tout their recordkeeping capabilities among a targeted audience. Yet when we asked plan sponsors which print publications they read over the past six months, specifically for 401k best practices or 401k service providers, nearly half (49%) cite The Wall Street Journal.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, July 2017

IRS Revamps Pre-Approved Qualified Plan Program

Abstract: In new IRS Rev. Proc. 2017-41, the IRS revamps its pre-approved plan program. Many of these changes appear to be designed to make pre-approved plans more attractive and usable in place of individually designed plans. This 4-page article highlights keys aspects of the new guidance.

Source: Groom.com, July 2017

Why Millennials Should Embrace Roth 401ks

Abstract: Does your 401k have a Roth account option? More employees, especially younger ones, are choosing to contribute to Roth accounts, according to two recent industry reports. What do these savvy Millennials know?

Source: Forbes.com, July 2017

New Retirement Readiness Resources Embody Industry Trends

Abstract: The proliferation and evolution of retirement readiness resources continue to be of the most prevalent trends within the digital retirement space. As more and more recordkeepers introduce new and upgrade current resources, the selections of retirement readiness tools and calculators available on participants have become increasingly user-friendly and comprehensive.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, July 2017

Simple IRA vs 401k

Abstract: Although there are benefits to a Simple IRA plan, there are also trade-offs associated with these plans that need to be understood and considered when a small employer is deciding which type of plan to implement.

Source: Consultrms.com, July 2017

Switching From a SEP to a 401k

Abstract: While a SEP may be the perfect plan type for some situations, many employers who start with a SEP later realize that a 401k plan may actually help the owners better meet their objective of maximizing contributions to themselves at a lower contribution obligation for the employees.

Source: Consultrms.com, July 2017

Retirement Plan Fees: Top Three Questions Answered

Abstract: With retirement plan fees serving as the centerpiece of fiduciary breach lawsuits, it is no wonder that this is the leading topic of interest with retirement plan fiduciaries.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, July 2017

New 401k Pre-Approved Document Rules Suggests Path to Address 403b Document Challenges

Abstract: Buried in that Rev Proc 2017-41 is something we have been looking for in the 403b space, which actually would help alleviate some of the concerns document drafters have with these long-standing plans.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, July 2017

Commonly Cited Participation Gauge Misses the Mark, Study Says

Abstract: A new study finds a higher rate of workplace retirement plan participation, and claims that a widely cited measure of participation understates reality by about five percentage points.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Three Tips for Better 401k Plan Cybersecurity

Abstract: With trillions of dollars in assets to safeguard, the retirement services industry is now intensely focused on the issue of cybersecurity. This article provides three tips retirement plan participants use to protect their retirement savings.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, July 2017

Plan Sponsors Using Plan Design and Other Tools to Increase Employee Engagement

Abstract: Employers are making it easier for employees to take more control of their finances by continuing to simplify retirement plan design and expanding the savings solutions they offer to include Roth 401(k)s and health savings accounts (HSAs), according to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Plan Wellness Scorecard.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2017

Many DC Plan Sponsors Likely to Move From DC Plan to State Plan

Abstract: Several states have acted to provide state-run plans for private-sector workers that may not have access to a retirement plan. However, a study finds some employers that offer defined contribution plans to their employees may discontinue those in favor of government-run plans.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2017

Investment Manager and Recordkeeper Changes Driven by Fees

Abstract: Plan sponsors' desire to reduce plan costs is substantially impacting their approach to investment menu design and their relationships with defined contribution plan investment managers, according to findings from "Retirement Planscape," an annual Cogent Reports study by Market Strategies International.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2017

Top Five Tips for 401k Loan Program Design

Abstract: Here are five plan design ideas for plan sponsors who want to allow employees to borrow against 401k accounts and, at the same time, ensure the loan is repaid and add some retirement security protections.

Source: Ifebp.org, July 2017

Who Participates in Retirement Plans

Abstract: Increasing the share of workers who participate in retirement plans has been a primary focus of retirement policy. As the retirement industry and policymakers try to increase participation, it is important to understand which workers currently participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans and why certain employers offer, and certain employees desire, compensation in the form of retirement benefits.

Source: Ici.org, July 2017

The Influence of DC Plan Design on Retirement Outcomes

Abstract: This 16-page paper highlights where the 401k system is working well and where it could be improved, and identifies initiatives, behaviors, policies, and approaches that may either boost or diminish retirement readiness among American workers.

Source: Dciia.memberclicks.net, July 2017

2017 Plan Wellness Scorecard

Abstract: While overall participation increased modestly, employee account balances, contributions, and contribution rates all saw significant increases. Complementing these enhanced levels of employee engagement, employers are making it easier for employees to take more control of their finances by continuing to simplify retirement plan design and expanding the benefits they offer to include Roth 401ks and Health Savings Accounts.

Source: Baml.com, July 2017

How to Know If You Are Getting Good Investment Advice

Abstract: It is not necessary for plan sponsors to offer the best performing funds in their 401k plans. Rather, they should be more concerned that the process used to select and monitor the investment options offered is compliant and sound. Outlined in this article are ways a plan sponsors can tell if they are receiving good investment advice.

Source: Lawtonrpc.com, July 2017

2017 Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Survey Findings

Abstract: This 28-page report confirms that the evolution of DC plans continues. Plan sponsors and their organizations are transitioning from a traditional view of their DC plans -- for example, to attract and retain employees -- to a sharper focus on achieving the ultimate retirement outcome: helping as many employees as possible reach a financially secure retirement. This focus is evident in plan sponsors' stated philosophies, objectives and, most important, actions.

Source: Jpmorgan.com, July 2017

How Millennials Are Building Better 401k Accounts Than Older Workers

Abstract: Millennials lag older workers in certain key measurements of 401k account usage. For one, only 59.4% of millennials have an account vs. 63.6% of Gen Xers and 66.1% of baby boomers. But millennials are leaders in what may be the single most important trait. As a group, they are on track to replace a higher portion of their pre-retirement income once they retire.

Source: Investors.com, July 2017

Millennial Retirement Tips

Abstract: Trends revealed by the Vanguard's latest yearly 401k profile report point to several methods of improving your retirement plan, especially ways that millennials and Gen Xers can boost their odds of being financially prepared.

Source: Investors.com, July 2017

Fiduciary Rule Causing DC-Plan Recordkeepers to Reassess Business With Insurance Agents

Abstract: Independent insurance agents have been among the most affected by the DOL's fiduciary rule, and it appears some defined contribution plan recordkeepers have been contributing to that upheaval.

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

Still Think Your Retirement Plan Is Only About the Investment Menu?

Abstract: Reviewing investment menus and making changes to menus tends to be the primary focus of "fiduciary review meetings." While this is of obvious importance, the investment menu should be a "tab" during the review and should not be the primary topic of every meeting.

Source: Schneiderdowns.com, July 2017

Plan Sponsor Admits to Stealing From 401k

Abstract: The owner of PCI, a commercial janitorial company that contracted with area school districts, and CDM, a company that performed construction and property management services in a metro area in Kansas, has pleaded guilty to theft from an employee benefit plan.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

Absurd Things About 401k Plans That Are Actually True

Abstract: When it comes to retirement plans, there are absurd things that make no sense, but are actually true. The problem is that a plan sponsors don't know about these things before it's too late. This article is about those absurd things about 401k plans that are actually true.

Source: Jdsupra.com, July 2017

Frequently Asked Questions About 401k Plans: Updated

Abstract: The Investment Company Institute has updated their FAQ on 401k retirement plans. Some of the questions covered include: What is a 401k plan and how does it work? How have 401k plans grown since their introduction? What are the benefits of investing in a 401k plan? Is there a limit to how much an employee and employer can contribute to a 401k plan?

Source: Ici.org, July 2017

DOL May Be Saying Au Revoir to BIC Exemption's Restrictions on Arbitration

Abstract: On July 3, 2017, in a brief filed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the DOL and DOJ announced that the Government would no longer defend the restrictions on arbitration in the Best Interest Contract Exemption, and opined that the conditions should be vacated and severed from the exemption. The move marks a stunning shift in the DOL's defense of its fiduciary rulemaking, which has been vigorous and marked by a string of litigation victories.

Source: Groom.com, July 2017

The Supreme Court Indirectly Stiffens a Fiduciary Breach Time Limit

Abstract: The Supreme Court appears to have barred equitable tolling under ERISA Section 413's six-year statute of repose for fiduciary breach claims, subject only to well-pled allegations and proof of fraud or concealment.

Source: Erisa-employeebenefitslitigationblog.com, July 2017

Further Delay of Full Applicability of the Fiduciary Rule Would Cost Retirement Savers

Abstract: The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the delays the DOL has already instituted under the new administration mean that retirement savers will lose $7.6 billion over the next 30 years. Each year of further delay will cost retirement savers an additional $7.3 billion dollars over the next 30 years.

Source: Epi.org, July 2017

Moving Your Retirement Plan Money: Defining Terms

Abstract: This article defines some basic terms associated with moving funds into/out of/within a retirement plan.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, July 2017

How Canadian Employers Can Benefit From the Trend Towards Delayed Retirement

Abstract: The trend towards delayed retirement isn't going away any time soon, so finding ways for employers to take advantage of it may be an unexplored opportunity that could yield positive results for both the business and employees.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, July 2017

Fiduciary Rule and Plan Sponsors: What Happens Now?

Abstract: The effect on sponsors of large retirement plans will mostly involve their relationships with service providers. Some defined contribution plan vendors will deliver investment advice to participants in a fiduciary capacity, which requires a fiduciary assessment. In its response brief to the 5th circuit, the DOL made a significant concession for the best interest contract (BIC) exemption.

Source: Towerswatson.com, July 2017

Can You Put Your Retirement Plan on Autopilot?

Abstract: There's no risk-free way to put your retirement plan on autopilot. Having quality service providers is a good idea but they cannot relieve you, your company or your other in-house fiduciaries from all responsibility for investment and administrative decisions.

Source: Retirementplanblog.com, July 2017

Shifting DCIO Distribution Offers Opportunity for 401k Advisers

Abstract: In the large defined-contribution-plan market -- the realm of plans larger than $1 billion -- the norm is for money managers to sell directly to plan sponsors and work cooperatively with the plan's consultants. For smaller plans, the defined contribution investment-only groups at these asset managers have generally sold only through advisers. But that's about to change.

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

Audit Survival Tips for Retirement Plans

Abstract: Although the odds of your plan being audited are low, if the DOL or the IRS perceives some elevated risk of noncompliance, your chances of an audit will go up substantially. As a plan sponsor, there are three things you can do to make your plan audit-ready, should that letter arrive from the DOL or the IRS: organize, review, and retain. Article provides a list of action steps.

Source: Findleydavies.com, July 2017

The IRS Paves the Way for More Preapproved Plans

Abstract: The IRS issued the 2017 Cumulative List, which lists changes to the qualification requirements that are required to be taken into account in preapproved defined contribution plans that are submitted for opinion letters during the third six-year remedial amendment cycle.

Source: Findleydavies.com, July 2017

Impact of the DOL Fiduciary Rule on Broker-Dealers

Abstract: The focus of this article is the prohibited transaction exemptions -- PTE 84-24 and the Best Interest Contract Exemption -- that are available to broker-dealers when their registered representatives recommend annuities to IRA investors. The purpose is to address the factors that firms may want to consider in deciding which exemption to use during the "transition period," currently scheduled to end on December 31, 2017.

Source: Drinkerbiddle.com, July 2017

Avoiding Fiduciary Traps: Eight Tips for DC Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Defined contribution plan sponsors often worry about landing in hot water for doing the wrong thing. However, many fiduciary issues crop up because plan sponsors have failed to act. Here, we list eight potential fiduciary traps and suggest ways to avoid them.

Source: Callan.com, July 2017

OregonSaves Pilot Launch "Successful," State Board Says

Abstract: The July 1 launch of the Oregon Retirement Savings Program pilot has been a success, according to a report by the Oregon Retirement Savings Board that looks at the program's first few weeks, as well as what lies ahead.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

What's Wrong with Automatic Enrollment?

Abstract: Automatic enrollment has long been touted -- and proven -- to be an effective way to overcome retirement savings inertia in 401k plans. But these days automatic enrollment plan design seems to be suffering from its own inertia.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Is Cybersecurity a Fiduciary Duty?

Abstract: Fiduciary duties and functions have been discussed over the last few years. But a recent blog entry suggests that cybersecurity should be added to them.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

What You Need to Know About 403b Loans

Abstract: If you find yourself in a tight spot financially -- a surprise medical procedure or fewer hours resulting in less income -- then in some cases, you might be able to borrow money from your 403(b) retirement account rather than taking an early distribution or using higher-interest debt.

Source: 403bwise.com, July 2017

The Risk Of 3(38) Fiduciary "Flexibility"

Abstract: There are many reasons that a plan sponsor and/or a plan advisor would look to engage an investment manager under section 3(38) of ERISA. But if you invite flexibility into your 3(38) services, you should understand the risks.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, July 2017

General Rules and Exceptions to the Three RMD Rules

Abstract: The required minimum distribution amount must be calculated separately for each IRA and 403(b). However, such amounts may then be totaled and the total required minimum distribution taken from any one or more of the participant's IRAs or 403(b)s. Confused? This article looks at the main distinctions between the three RMD rules.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, July 2017

A Guide to Retirement Plan Fees & Expenses

Abstract: This 11-page paper discusses retirement plan fees and expenses with the intention of assisting retirement plans sponsors in achieving a greater understanding of their plan fees. For the purposes of this paper, they categorize the fees and then detail the specific functions typically related to each expense.

Source: Multnomahgroup.com (free registration may be required), July 2017

The Small Business Retirement Savings Challenge

Abstract: New research reveals opportunities to increase retirement plan coverage among small employers. This research demonstrates the importance of small, reasonable tax incentives in motivating small businesses to adopt and enhance retirement plans.

Source: Lpl.com, July 2017

Timeliness of 401k Participant Deposits

Abstract: Today's 401k plan sponsors are subject to an array of what often seem complex fiduciary responsibilities with respect to carrying out their duties to plan participants and beneficiaries. However, meeting these duties need not be difficult, and for some functions, there are specific rules to help guide the employer. For example, the DOL has guidance to help clarify regulations regarding the timeliness for depositing participant payroll deductions that represent contributions or loan payments to the plan.

Source: Kushnerco.com, July 2017

Managed Accounts Look Attractive to 401k Advisers

Abstract: For 401k advisers, managed accounts are a tough nut to crack. On one hand, many advisers believe managed accounts will compete with target-date funds as the most popular type of default investment option in 401k plans as soon as they become a bit more cost-competitive. But benchmarking is an area that could present a snag for advisers.

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

Why the SEC Will Not and Cannot Adopt a Fiduciary Standard

Abstract: In recent appearances on Capitol Hill, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta pledged to work together on a fiduciary rule applying to stockbrokers and other financial advisers providing investment advice to the public. Both men are on record as saying any fiduciary rule must not curb the public's access to advice or products. The articles author writes, "That's all you need to know. Mr. Clayton and Mr. Acosta are clearly drinking the Kool-Aid supplied by the investment industry."

Source: Iainsight.wordpress.com, July 2017

Why Your Participants Should Avoid Active Trading of Their 401k

Abstract: If plan sponsors understand that investors often work against their own self-interests, how can they use this information when designing their 401k investment lineup? One way is to offer a fund lineup that includes low-cost, passive funds. The result can be a one-two punch for boosting participant performance.

Source: Forusall.com, July 2017

Interview: Dale Neibert Explains 21st Century 401k Plan Design

Abstract: The H-E-B Grocery 401k plan incorporates leading edge behavioral finance research into its plan design. Dale Neibert was part of a 2-man team managing a $2.8 billion corporate 401k for the H-E-B Brand Savings & Retirement plan.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com (registration may be required), July 2017

Audio: SEC Enters Fiduciary Rule Discussion

Abstract: SEC Chairman Jay Clayton grabbed headlines when he announced that the Commission would seek to "engage constructively" with the DOL as each agency pursued standards of conduct for advisors. This raises questions about how the two agencies will work together, what it might mean for the fiduciary standard, and how Congress might also factor into the discussion.

Source: Fi360.com, July 2017

OregonSaves: New State-Run Retirement Plan Requires Employer Action Beginning November 15, 2017

Abstract: Are you an employer with employees in Oregon? If you do not offer a retirement plan to any of your employees, this article reviews your obligations under a new state-run retirement savings program called OregonSaves. You should be aware of the first compliance deadline on November 15, 2017.

Source: Dwt.com, July 2017

Sears Hit With 401k Class Action Over Company Stock

Abstract: Sears kept its own stock as an investment option in the 401k plan although it knew or should have known that the retailer was in "extremely poor financial condition," workers allege in a new lawsuit.

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

Mid-sized Employer Meets Big 401k Goal

Abstract: When Peggy Zembower became the human resources director for Thomas Automotive Family about four years ago, she was dismayed that some long-time employees had never increased their retirement saving above the measly 1 percent of pay they'd started at.

Source: Bc.edu, July 2017

ARA Crafts New Levelized Fee Exemption in RFI Response

Abstract: In a July 18 letter responding to the Labor Department's request for information (RFI) on its fiduciary regulation, the American Retirement Association has requested an extension of the applicability date and a streamlined levelized fee exemption.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Senators Urge DOL to Issue Guidance on Auto Portability

Abstract: To help prevent retirement plan cash out leakage when workers change jobs, Sen. Tim Scott and 10 other Senators sent a letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta asking the DOL to issue guidance clarifying the application of ERISA to auto portability features, that is, ones that help facilitate the movement of a participant's retirement account from one employer to another.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Customized Retirement Plan Communications Pack a Bigger Punch

Abstract: Customized retirement plan communications pack a bigger punch. When it comes to communicating the benefits of an employer-sponsored retirement plan, one size does not fit all. Each generation has its own financial priorities and goals, from Baby Boomers on the brink of retirement to Millennials just starting out on the job. So as a plan sponsor, how do you make sure you're communicating to each demographic in a way that resonates?

Source: 401ktv.com, July 2017

Stuff in a 401k Plan That Doesn't Look Right

Abstract: There are certain things a plan sponsor should avoid and this article is all about stuff in a 401k plan that doesn't look right and that might make the wrong impression.

Source: Jdsupra.com, July 2017

Transforming the Participant Experience

Abstract: Retirement communications have reached a tipping point and leading plan providers are looking to embrace a new path. New solutions are coming to the forefront: self-service workflow tools hosted securely in the cloud; software that makes it easy to streamline content management; the ability to orchestrate experiences based on personas. With these recent innovations, market leaders are transforming their participant engagement strategies into more profitable realities.

Source: Broadridge.com, July 2017

Aon Drops Company Stock Fund From Its $5.3B 401k Plan

Abstract: Aon is terminating the company stock fund as an investment option in its $5.3 billion 401k plan. The Aon Stock Fund will be liquidated and removed from the plan by the end of December 2017, the company said in its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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

Vermont Passes Bill to Implement State-Run Retirement Plan for Private-Sector

Abstract: Vermont Governor Phil Scott has signed an infrastructure bill that includes a provision directing the state to study and implement the Green Mountain Secure Retirement Plan, a voluntary retirement program for businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

How Advisers Can Help Sponsors Steer Clear of Common Plan Errors

Abstract: Plan sponsors sometimes get complacent and put their plans on autopilot operationally. This can lead to operational mistakes. The areas in which these mistakes generally occur fall outside the scope of retirement plan advisers' typical role. Yet, being aware of your clients' potential pain points can help keep them from becoming real.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

Appointing and Monitoring a 401k Investment Manager Under ERISA

Abstract: Employee-benefit attorneys advising retirement plan sponsors frequently mention that plan fiduciaries are not liable for the acts or omissions of an appointed investment manager, and aren't obligated to invest or otherwise manage plan assets subject to their oversight. However, a recent district court decision has implications for how retirement plan sponsors should monitor their adviser.

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

Avoid Costly Penalties for Late Form 5500 Filing

Abstract: In addition to the many other local, state, and federal filings, businesses with benefits plans may be required to file an annual Form 5500 to report their pension and welfare plans' financial condition, investments, and operations. Late filings, unfiled reports, and incomplete filings can expose the company to significant fines from the IRS and the Department of Labor.

Source: Bsllp.com, July 2017

Fiduciary Rule Hearing in House Illustrates Deep Divide

Abstract: The discussion at the House Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment subcommittee meeting reflected the fissure that still remains about the Obama-era regulation.

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

Does the New Fiduciary Rule Apply to Plan Sponsors and Committees?

Abstract: The Rule affects those who give or may give investment advice, such as brokers, advisors and your plan provider's employees. However, as a plan fiduciary, you are responsible for monitoring those people and you need them to be compliant. The Rule can even affect your own HR employees, who could become fiduciaries if they give advice to participants.

Source: 401ktv.com, July 2017

Fee Assessment & Plan Benchmarking -- 401k Fight Club?

Abstract: Advisors, it's time to pick up your swords and shields and fight for your clients' retirement plans! Against the encroaching fees, underperforming investments, and inappropriate plan design elements that may be negatively affecting your clients' qualified retirement plans.

Source: Tristarpension.com, July 2017

The Rise of the Mobile Devices: Putting Benefit Communication in Your Participants' Hands

Abstract: Most of your participants are likely using smartphones or tablets at work, at home or both. These handheld devices may represent an opportunity to reach formerly hard-to-reach participants with your benefit communication.

Source: Sibson.com, July 2017

Tips to Boost Your Retirement Plan Expert Reputation

Abstract: The retirement plan business is relationship-based. A recent survey found that 7 out of 10 plan sponsors were introduced through a trusted relationship. Therefore, by strengthening your relationship muscles, you can boost your 401k referrals and favorable introductions.

Source: Napa-net.org, July 2017

Labor Department's Fiduciary Rule Impacts Investment Managers

Abstract: Although not intended to impact investments in private investment funds or separately managed accounts, the fiduciary rule is nonetheless implicated when an ERISA plan or IRA considers becoming an investor in such a fund or account, even if the total investment by benefit plan investors is less than 25 percent of each class of the fund or account's equity interests.

Source: Mcguirewoods.com, July 2017

Plan Sponsors Look to Make Shifts in Investment Lineups

Abstract: Plan sponsors' desire to reduce plan costs is substantially impacting their approach to investment menu design and their relationships with DC investment managers. But the impact of the resulting activity varies by plan as well as by asset manager.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, July 2017

Whatever Happened to... Our Retirees and Beneficiaries?

Abstract: Keeping abreast of the whereabouts and life status of retirees and beneficiaries -- and even terminated vested participants -- are increasingly important fiduciary responsibilities. A recent newsletter discusses why this is the case and how it may be accomplished.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

How Hard Should We Push the Poor to Save for Retirement?

Abstract: Designers of state-run auto-IRA plans fail to consider three questions: Do the poor need to save more for retirement? Will state-run auto-IRA plans increase net household savings? And, after accounting for interactions with means-tested government transfer programs, will state-run auto-IRA plans make the poor better off?

Source: Aei.org, July 2017

Menu Design Needs Process Heavy Approach

Abstract: With the growing 3(38) role, competition is naturally increasing and 3(38) fiduciaries are looking for ways to distinguish their services. A largely overlooked opportunity in differentiating services is choosing to incorporate plan menu design into one's value proposition.

Source: 401ktv.com, July 2017

Generation of "Super Savers" Crushing Retirement Goals

Abstract: Younger generations get a bad rap for their saving habits, but there is a group of savers under 52 who are a financial force to be reckoned with. A recent survey by Principal dug into the financial habits of Gen X and Gen Y (millennial) savers who are deferring 90 percent or more of the IRS maximum amount to their 401k account.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, July 2017

Who Are the Right People to Sit on Your Investment Committee?

Abstract: Who are the right people to sit on your investment committee? The answer certainly seems straightforward, if only because most corporate committees maintain a list of the usual suspects. But are these the best ways to build an investment committee?

Source: Vanguardinstitutionalblog.com, July 2017

Rep. Wagner Drafts Bill to Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: House lawmakers plan to convene a hearing to discuss the impact of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule on the capital markets. The hearing will focus on a draft bill put forth by Rep. Ann Wagner that seeks to kill the fiduciary rule and instead impose a best interest standard on broker-dealers' investment recommendations.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com (registration may be required), July 2017

Why Avoiding Conflicts of Interest Matters in the Investment Business

Abstract: In most professional settings, avoiding conflicts obviously matters. It's self-evident. Yet, in many quarters in brokerage and investment advice, it's not self-evident at all.

Source: Thefiduciaryinstitute.org, July 2017

Employer Barriers to and Motivations for Offering Retirement Benefits

Abstract: The Pew Charitable Trusts conducted a survey of owners, top executives, and human resource managers at more than 1,600 private sector, small and midsize businesses nationwide. One focus of the survey was to identify the obstacles to, and motivations for, offering plans and to gather data on what plans are currently offered and plan characteristics.

Source: Pewtrusts.org, July 2017

State Retirement Plan Initiatives Update

Abstract: Several states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and Oregon, plan to implement mandatory, private employer payroll deduction auto-IRA programs. This article reviews developments since May, 2017 including Congressional action repealing the Obama Administration's regulatory "path forward" for these programs.

Source: Octoberthree.com, July 2017

American Airlines Reaches $22 Million Settlement in 401k Self-Dealing Lawsuit

Abstract: American Airlines has agreed to settle a 401k self-dealing lawsuit for $22 million, one of the largest monetary settlements reached in similar class-action litigation.

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

Action Steps to Protect Your 403b Plan

Abstract: Employers sponsoring 403b plans should take steps now to ensure compliance with Internal Revenue Service rules to protect plan participants against adverse tax consequences. Failures that are not timely corrected could result in the 403b plan's loss of tax-advantaged status, which would mean immediate taxation of all benefits to participants. This is a suggested action plan for employers.

Source: Icemiller.com, July 2017

The Folly of Risk and the 401k Fiduciary

Abstract: Many professionals and most of the current generation of finance professors have long ago removed "risk" from their investment decision-making algorithms. These forward-thinking folks recognize the greater importance of managing retirement saver behavior over managing irrelevant investment risk as it pertains to meeting or exceeding the goal of retiring in comfort.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com (registration may be required), July 2017

A Financial Wellness Primer: Why Financial Wellness?

Abstract: DCIIA recently assembled a member task force to aggregate information about financial wellness programs and their effect in helping to improve retirement outcomes for American workers. The findings of the task force were released in this white paper.

Source: Dciia.org, July 2017

Tracking Down the Valid Claims-More Victories for 401k and 403b Fiduciaries

Abstract: Even responsible fiduciaries get caught in the net of retirement plan class action litigation. At least a few courts are carefully examining the conclusory allegations in these complaints and finding them wanting. It is too early to tell whether this is will be a trend in fee litigation, but responsible fiduciaries should be heartened by these victories.

Source: Cohenbuckmann.com, July 2017

Non-ERISA 403b Plans Must Walk Fine Line to Avoid Losing ERISA Exemption

Abstract: Last month's Supreme Court decision, Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, upholding ERISA exemption for church-affiliated pension plans was a reminder that not all benefit plans are subject to ERISA. Indeed, non-profit employers who sponsor 403b plans can choose to be exempt from ERISA. But they have to tread carefully.

Source: Retirementplanblog.com, July 2017

DCIO Industry Snapshot

Abstract: Mutual funds continue to be the investment vehicle of choice among the 42 DCIO providers surveyed, while exchange traded funds are almost entirely avoided.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

Retirement Industry Needs to Consider Help for "Gig" and Part-Time Workers

Abstract: As more employers embrace the new "gig" or "flex" economy, the ranks of part-timers, including independent contractors, will continue to rise. Will employers change their retirement offerings?

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

MFS Investment Management Sued Over Claims of Self-Dealing in 401k Plans

Abstract: MFS Investment Management has been sued for self-dealing in its company 401k plans, becoming the latest fund firm to be targeted for stocking its retirement plan primarily with proprietary investments.

Source: Pionline.com, July 2017

Americans Trust in Their 401k Plans

Abstract: Successful retirement saving often relies on a paycheck-by-paycheck commitment over the course of a career, and employees who participate in 401k plans put themselves on the path to a secure retirement. ICI recently asked Americans about their views regarding DC plans. Their responses show that DC-owning households appreciate the savings and investment features of their plans.

Source: Ici.org, July 2017

The "Gig Economy" Leaves Some Working Americans Financially Vulnerable

Abstract: While many Americans desire the advantages of a part-time work schedule, the financial disadvantages can be a deal-breaker. At best, part-timers typically receive reduced employee benefits packages compared to full-timers. Many are ineligible to receive any benefits at all and, therefore, lack valuable medical coverage, retirement savings plans, life insurance, unemployment insurance, and workers' compensation.

Source: Guardiananytime.com, July 2017

Chipping Away - Does the DOL's Fiduciary Rule Continue to Be on the Chopping Block?

Abstract: What to many was an implementation of the fiduciary rule by the DOL that ran counter to an apparent hostility to the rule throughout various quarters of the Trump administration has now been followed by a steady flow of further action that can be characterized as questioning, or maybe even indicating outright hostility to, the Rule.

Source: Dechert.com, July 2017

New Retirement Mobile Apps Welcomed News as Mobile Device-Dependency Rises

Abstract: Americans' growing dependency on mobile devices for internet access means recordkeeping firms must ensure that participants can engage with their retirement plans from their smartphones and tablets. For many firms, this means introducing new mobile apps or building out the functionalities of existing ones so that users can review their account data and perform transactions from their devices.

Source: Corporateinsight.com, July 2017

Trial Lawyers Want to Defend Fiduciary Rule in Court

Abstract: Industry groups that support the Labor Department's fiduciary rule came out swinging in new legal briefs, one of which offers to defend in court a key provision of the rule that the DOL is no longer defending.

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

Voya Beats Lawsuit Over Stable Value Funds in Retirement Plans

Abstract: Voya Retirement Insurance and Annuity Co. beat a lawsuit accusing it of earning undisclosed profits by setting the crediting rate for its stable value funds in retirement plans for its own benefit.

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

Plan Sponsors Using Limited-Scope Audits Should Watch for Proposed Changes

Abstract: The American Institute of CPAs' Auditing Standards Board recently issued a proposed Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) that will affect all independent qualified public audits of employee benefit plans, especially limited-scope audits.

Source: Blr.com, July 2017

Working Past 70: Americans Can't Seem to Retire

Abstract: More and more Americans are spending their golden years on the job. Almost 19 percent of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. jobs report. The age group's employment/population ratio hasn't been higher in 55 years.

Source: Bloomberg.com, July 2017

Retirement Plans Are Leaking Money and Why Employers Should Care

Abstract: Workers are depleting their employer-sponsored retirement plans when they take out loans and don't pay them back and take hardship withdrawals. If an employer wants workers to stay until normal retirement age, pass along their knowledge and skills, and then leave so younger workers can move up, early withdrawals become more problematic.

Source: Shrm.org, July 2017

Brown University Sued Over Retirement Plan Fees

Abstract: Brown University is accused of filling its two retirement plans with high-cost, poorly performing investment options, allegedly causing participants millions of dollars in losses.

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

DOL's New Stance on Fiduciary Rule at Odds in Thrivent Case

Abstract: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans stepped up its fight against the fiduciary rule's anti-arbitration condition that would bar class litigation against financial advisers by citing the Labor Department's latest court argument.

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

How the Target-Date Fund Can Help Maximize Plan Design

Abstract: Plan sponsors have two powerful tools that could help nudge participants toward improved retirements: plan design and target-date funds. However, these tools are frequently considered separately.

Source: Blackrock.com, July 2017

The Fiduciary Rule and Discretionary Investment Management

Abstract: Discretion is said to be the better part of valor, but that's not necessarily the case with discretionary accounts and the fiduciary regulation. And, according to a recent blog post by ERISA attorney Fred Reish, if you're not sure how the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BIC) applies differently to discretionary accounts and non-discretionary accounts, well, you're not alone.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Boomers' Delayed Retirements Good for Employers, Employees

Abstract: Many baby boomers are choosing to delay retirement. However, this can be a positive trend for employers and workers of all generations, according to the ADP Research Institute.

Source: 401ktv.com, July 2017

401k Fraud: Wife Steals Thousands From Husband's Account

Abstract: Talk about brotherly love. A woman's sibling posed as her spouse to help her steal thousands of dollars from her (actual) husband's 401k.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, July 2017

DOL's 2016 Fiduciary Rule: Background and Issues

Abstract: This updated 28-page report was prepared by the Congressional Research Service and provides an in-depth background and overview of the DOL's fiduciary rule along with the rationale for the rule and stakeholders perspectives.

Source: Fas.org, July 2017

Most Advisers Handling Implementation of Fiduciary Rule Well

Abstract: The Aite Group included questions on the DOL fiduciary rule in its seventh annual survey of financial advisers to reveal the sentiment on the front lines.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

ERISA Bond: What Is It and Do I Need One?

Abstract: Almost every sponsor of every tax-qualified retirement plan must obtain a fidelity bond in accordance with section 412 of ERISA. This article helps explain the requirement in order to attempt to ensure that those who are subject to this requirement satisfy it.

Source: Legacyrsllc.com, July 2017

Making Sure 401k and 403b Fees Are "Necessary" and "Reasonable" - Part Two

Abstract: You are also required to ensure the services for which the plan is paying are necessary and reasonable. The most effective way to meet this fiduciary requirement is a Request for Proposals (RFP) process. This is part two in a series on making sure 401k and 403b fees are "necessary" and "reasonable."

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, July 2017

The Importance of Retirement Investing Over Saving for Older Employees

Abstract: When building retirement wealth, the critical factor is the age at which you commence retirement savings. Investments matter very little when you are just starting, since investment returns represents a negligible portion of your retirement savings. However, for older employees, the priorities switch rather dramatically.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, July 2017

Comment Period on DOL Fiduciary Reg RFI Open

Abstract: The DOL announced that it would publish its request for information on the fiduciary rule in the Federal Register on Thursday, July 6, starting the official comment period on whether to delay part of the rule.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Average 401k Balances Continue to Surge in Q2

Abstract: While they're not quite as strong as the numbers for the first quarter of the year, there should be plenty to celebrate in this year's June 30 participant statements.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

DOL to Publish Request for Information Regarding Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The RFI summarizes comments that the DOL has received regarding the rule and exemptions, and identifies specific areas for additional comment. In addition to asking general questions about the rule's implementation, the RFI specifically requests comments on whether communications encouraging investors to make or increase their contributions should be excluded from the rule.

Source: Thomsonreuters.com, July 2017

IRS Overhauls Opinion Letter Process for Pre-Approved Plans

Abstract: The overhaul of the pre-approved plan program is not surprising given the IRS's significant reduction of the determination letter program for individually designed plans. The revenue procedure contains detailed information that is a must-read for providers of pre-approved plan documents as well as employers and advisors maintaining pre-approved plans or considering a switch from individually designed to pre-approved plans.

Source: Thomsonreuters.com, July 2017

Top Five Mistakes Made by 401k Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Penalties for administrative blunders can be costly, through fines or, at the severe end of the spectrum, plan disqualification, creating a taxable event for all participants. Here are the most common mistakes plan sponsors make, as well as ways for plan advisers to guide their clients away from those mistakes.

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

Safe Harbor 401k Establishment Deadline Fast Approaching

Abstract: 401k plans can be adopted at any time during the plan year However, a Safe Harbor 401k plan must have at least a 3-month plan year. Therefore, a calendar year Safe Harbor 401k plan must be established by October 1st in order to receive an exemption from the ADP and ACP tests.

Source: Qbillc.com, July 2017

More Employers Make Roth 401k Matching Contributions

Abstract: Among employers offering Roth 401k savings programs, 40% now offer matching contributions.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

Print Communications Still Key for Many Participants

Abstract: In an effort to find out how workers understand financial communications regarding retirement savings plans, and how participant knowledge can affect asset-allocation decisions, TIAA conducted research about how specific media communications (print vs. online, graphical vs. text), affects a worker's comprehension of financial material.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

DOL Files Fiduciary Lawsuit Brief Defending Advisory Market Authority

Abstract: The DOL argues it must not lose its broad authority to regulate the workplace retirement planning market, notwithstanding the fact that it may very well decline to aggressively enforce the fiduciary rule under President Trump.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

2017 Cumulative List for Pre-Approved Plans Issued

Abstract: The Internal Revenue Service has issued Notice 2017-37, which contains the Cumulative List of Changes in Plan Qualification Requirements for Pre-Approved Defined Contribution Plans for 2017.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2017

Connecticut 403b Fee Disclosure Law to Take Effect Oct. 1

Abstract: Beginning Oct. 1, 2017, administrators of 403b plans run by political subdivisions in the Nutmeg State will have to disclose to the plan's fiduciary any conflict of interest the service provider has with the plan.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, July 2017

Free Advice For 401k Plan Sponsors

Abstract: This article is free advice from ERISA attorney Ary Rosenbaum for all 401k plan sponsors out there on how to improve their plan and avoid liability.

Source: Jdsupra.com, July 2017

The Fiduciary Rule: A Fifth Request for Public Comment

Abstract: The DOL has released a request for information seeking public comments yet again on its new fiduciary definition and related exemptions which became applicable on June 9th. This article reviews the topics on which the RFI requests comment.

Source: Eversheds-Sutherland.com, July 2017

Operational Compliance for Eligibility Classification

Abstract: This article focuses on operational compliance, the requirement that the plan be operated in accordance with the terms of the plan document, and in particular, the terms of the plan relating to eligibility classification.

Source: Boutwellfay.com, July 2017

Marathon Petroleum Execs Sued Over Stock in Retirement Plan

Abstract: Marathon Petroleum executives are accused in a new lawsuit of wrongly allowing workers to invest their retirement savings in the stock of Marathon Oil Corp.

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

Form 5500 Filing Date Approaching

Abstract: July is here. For DC plans and 403b annuity arrangements with calendar year plan years, it means the July 31 Form 5500 filing deadline for the 2016 plan year is not far off.

Source: Alliantwealth.com, July 2017

Simplifying Tasks and Reducing Risk Under the Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The new DOL rule seeks to bring brokers and insurance reps to heel by establishing a stronger baseline of fiduciary protection. If they wish to continue providing advice to company retirement plans, they now will be held to a higher standard: the best interests of the client. And employers will need to monitor their activity to ensure these advisors are fully compliant.

Source: Alliantwealth.com, July 2017

Best Practices for Improving Retirement Plan Investment Committee Decisions

Abstract: As a plan sponsor, one of the many hats you probably wear is investment committee member. It's a role that's critical to the success of your retirement plan, but your specific responsibilities may not always be clearly defined or easy to figure out. This article offers some best practices.

Source: 401ktv.com, July 2017

Who's Responsible for Keeping Retirement Plan Records?

Abstract: Who is ultimately responsible for retention of retirement plan records: the sponsor, or the participant? It's an interesting conundrum. In a recent case, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the retirement plan sponsor -- who was the defendant in the case -- was the party responsible for keeping accurate records.

Source: 401ktv.com, July 2017

Is Retirement Plan Leakage Finally Drying Up?

Abstract: The high-profile problem of 401k leakage continues to confound, robbing participants of asset accumulation and appreciation and the potential for a secure retirement. In a possible policy change for more firms going forward, fewer organizations are offering defined contribution plan hardship withdrawals and loans.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, July 2017

More Plan Sponsors Permitting Roth Conversions

Abstract: The idea seems to be to help employees establish better tax-diversity in their retirement holdings as well as more controlled and rational ways of spending down their collected wealth once their working life ends, SHRM says.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2017

Fewer DC Plans Offering Hardship Withdrawals and Plan Loans

Abstract: Fewer organizations are offering DC plan hardship withdrawals, plan loans and online retirement investment advice compared with five years ago. However, one-on-one and group/classroom-style investment retirement advice remains unchanged over the same period, according to new survey results from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Source: Napa-net.org, July 2017

DOL Again Seeks Comments on New Fiduciary Rules and Exemptions

Abstract: The DOL requested another round of public comment on its fiduciary rule, this time in the form of a Request for Information. The RFI seeks input on (a) whether to extend the January 1, 2018, applicability date for parts of the rule that are not yet in effect, and (b) changes to make the rule more workable. The RFI expresses an openness to modifying existing exemptions and adopting new ones.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, July 2017

The Surprising Benefits of a 3(38) Fiduciary

Abstract: A 3(38) arrangement is a way of outsourcing the burden of investment decision making -- and risk -- to a qualified expert. 3(38) investment managers are a distinct breed of fiduciaries legally required to act in their clients' best interests when it comes to choosing funds and managing assets.

Source: Captrustadvisors.com, July 2017

Why Independent Fiduciary Advisors Are in Best Position to Fulfilling the 401k Promise

Abstract: Hiring an independent investment fiduciary for a participant directed 401k plan offers both the fiduciary protection for owners/executives intended by ERISA and the unbiased advice needed by America's workers to maximize their standard of living in retirement.

Source: Brentwood401k.com, July 2017

Pioneer Natural Resources Sued Over 401k Fees

Abstract: Pioneer Natural Resources USA is accused of choosing inappropriate, high-cost mutual funds in its 401k plan and paying Vanguard unreasonable, excessive recordkeeping fees.

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

IRS Moves to Nudge Employers to Pre-Approved Plans

Abstract: The IRS has made some changes to how it deals with pre-approved plans, hoping to encourage employers to switch from individually designed plans to the pre-approved format.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Baby Boomers Delaying Retirement: Generational Shifts at Work

Abstract: Many baby boomers are working, or are planning to work, for the foreseeable future. The Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that 26 percent of workers plan to work until age 70, and another 6 percent say they will never be able to retire. For comparison purposes, an EBRI study from 1991 showed that 50 percent of workers expected to be able to retire by age 65.

Source: Adp.com, July 2017

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