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December 2017 Article Digest

This article digest contains a wide range of source material dealing with current trends, opinion, news, legislative action, investments, marketing, sales, consulting, and legal issues. Each listing contains a headline (hyperlinked to the source document), description, source of the item, and the month and year posted to this digest.

Use the SEARCH feature to located specific items from this digest and from our ARCHIVE.

Common Issues Discovered During Retirement Plan Audits

Abstract: Diane Wasser of EisnerAmper LLP, a national certified public accounting firm with a practice group specializing in the audit of retirement plans, discusses common issues that Diane and her team discover during their audits of retirement plans.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, December 2017

Settlement Agreement May Conclude Allianz Self-Dealing Challenge

Abstract: Along with non-monetary relief, Allianz will pay $12 million into a common fund for the benefit of class members, to be allocated pro rata among the members in proportion to their account balances in the plan during the relevant period.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2017

2018 Key Administrative Dates and Deadlines for Calendar-Year DC Plans

Abstract: This is a 5-page retirement plan chart and 2018 calendar for defined contribution plans, published Milliman. The document provides key administrative dates and deadlines for calendar-year plans.

Source: Milliman.com, December 2017

Noteworthy Federal Cases Relating to Employee Benefit Plans in 2017

Abstract: Here is a round up of cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals in 2017 involving ERISA employee benefit plans.

Source: Employeebenefitsupdate.com, December 2017

Four Canadian Pension and Retirement Trends to Watch in 2018

Abstract: As 2017 draws to a close, we turn our attention to the new year. As usual, there's a lot happening in the Canadian pension environment. Here are four pension trends to watch in 2018.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2017

Troubling 401k Trend for Hispanic Workers

Abstract: Less than 10 percent of small business workers in the five top Hispanic metro areas of the United States have access to employer-sponsored retirement savings accounts. Additionally, according to a recent study from Finhabits, the states with the largest concentration of Hispanic residents had the lowest participation in retirement savings.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

Four Steps to a Successful 401k Business Brand Audit

Abstract: Branding is a natural starting point for working on your practice and yet often overlooked. A crucial step is the brand audit, which in essence asks how well you articulate your brand, and in what mediums.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

Reporting Emerges That Many DOL Fiduciary Rule Comments Could Be Fake

Abstract: The Wall Street Journal published an analysis this week suggesting "at least five governmental agencies have received fake comments challenging the agencies' rules," including the Department of Labor; the DOL is so far declining additional comment.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Stable Value Lawsuits and the Goldilocks Zone

Abstract: Even though there is no typical stable value fund, heading into 2018 there have been three typical types of lawsuits filed against fiduciaries offering stable value funds, according to ERISA attorneys with Mayer Brown.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Plaintiffs Lack Standing to Bring ERISA Fee Litigation Case

Abstract: A federal district court in Georgia dismissed claims by participants in Delta Air Lines 401k plan who alleged that Delta breached its ERISA fiduciary duties by allowing the plan to invest in funds that allegedly charged excessive fees and unperformed against comparable funds. Consistent with rulings in other jurisdictions, the court held that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing because they failed to allege that they were invested in the challenged funds or that they paid excessive fees.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, December 2017

Bill Proposes Enhancements to Auto Enrollment, RMD, and Other Retirement Plan Rules

Abstract: Representative Richard Neal has introduced the Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act of 2017. The legislation would significantly modify current rules for individual retirement arrangements and employer-sponsored retirement plans. The bill aims to expand retirement plan coverage, preserve retirement income, and simplify retirement plan rules.

Source: Ascensus.com, December 2017

How to Kick-Start Your Retirement Savings in 2018

Abstract: It doesn't matter whether you're 20 or 60. You need to be saving for retirement. If that's something that's been on the back burner, make 2018 the year you focus on preparing for your future.

Source: Usnews.com, December 2017

New Evidence on the Demand for Advice Within Retirement Plans

Abstract: Using participant-level data from TIAA, this study sheds new light on demand for advice within retirement plans. In addition to examining how demand varies based on participant demographics, the authors explore how demand is affected by default investment options and the means by which advice is offered.

Source: Tiaainstitute.org, December 2017

DC In-Plan Retirement Income Solutions: Are We There Yet?

Abstract: The decision to offer an in-plan retirement income solution is a fiduciary decision that rises to the top of potential concerns. The market and appetite for these options continues to evolve. This article reviews the options available to plan sponsors and provide an update on developments within the industry.

Source: Porteval.com, December 2017

ERISA Litigation Landmarks Set the Stage for 2018

Abstract: One ERISA attorney who specializes in defending employers against fiduciary breach claims says 2017 has delivered no shortage of important, potentially precedent-setting decisions involving employee benefits law; and the stage is set for another whirlwind of a year in 2018.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Whether a Plan Sponsor Should Hire an ERISA 3(16) Administrator

Abstract: When it comes to a 401k plan, there is a difference between outsourcing and delegation. This helps 401k plan sponsors understand what outsourcing plan administration with an ERISA Section 3(16) administrator entails and the traps you should avoid if you choose that route.

Source: Jdsupra.com, December 2017

Four Questions to Ask Before Doing a 401k Plan Re-Enrollment

Abstract: Employers do re-enrollments to make sure plan participants have appropriate asset allocations and savings rates. Having a process to help plan sponsors with 401k plan re-enrollments is becoming table stakes for retirement plan advisers.

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

New DOL, SEC Officials Help Advance Fiduciary Rule Work

Abstract: Three new officials -- one at the Labor Department and two at the Securities and Exchange Commission -- will help the agencies advance their work on investment advice standards. Senate confirms Preston Rutledge to key Labor Department role, while Hester Peirce and Robert Jackson Jr. join SEC as commissioners.

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

What Has Your 401k Plan Advisor Done for You Lately?

Abstract: The lack of thorough service by plan advisors of 401ks is not sitting well with plan sponsors. In an annual Plan Sponsor Attitudes survey, 38% of sponsors are looking to switch advisors, up from 30% in 2016 and 9% in 2013. Advisor complacency, coupled with a need for more knowledgeable advisors, is prompting the switch.

Source: Forbes.com, December 2017

Three Money Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Retirement

Abstract: More than 40% of pre-retirees say running out of money during retirement is their greatest fear, and six in 10 older Americans are actually more afraid of spending their retirement stash than they are of dying. To avoid running out of cash, it's important to avoid mistakes that could undermine your efforts at financial security, like these three big blunders that could ruin your retirement.

Source: Fool.com, December 2017

The New Tax Bill Is Enacted: What Does This Mean for Retirement Plans?

Abstract: The bill makes very few benefits changes directly, although the change in the tax structure contained in the bill may affect retirement plan formation and maintenance. Here is an initial take on the new law's effect on retirement plans.

Source: Ferenczylaw.com, December 2017

What Does the New Year Hold? Three Predictions for 2018

Abstract: The trends that unfolding in the coming year are well-trod ground at this point without any radical shifts; mostly extensions of trends already in place. Captrust Senior Director John Curry outlines predictions for plan sponsors, participants, and the retirement industry in general in the new year.

Source: Captrustadvisors.com, December 2017

Princeton Retirement Plan Lawsuit Paused by Judge

Abstract: A lawsuit challenging the fees and investment options in Princeton University's retirement plan will be put on hold until a federal appeals court considers a similar case against the University of Pennsylvania.

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

How Much Do Participants' Negative Behaviors Affect Retirement Readiness?

Abstract: Participants dipping into retirement savings early and suspending contributions to their 401k plans is projected to reduce their retirement savings by 14% percent on average, new analytics from MassMutual show.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2017

Senate Confirms Rutledge to Key DOL Post

Abstract: The successor to regulatory powerhouse Phyllis Borzi who preceded him, supporters and detractors alike note Rutledge is very familiar with the responsibilities of the role, and industry advocacy groups praised the nomination and confirmation.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

A Bunch of Reasons to Use More 401k Fintech

Abstract: Technology's cool and compelling, yet far too many advisors rely on innovation of old. Using an estimated 10 percent of their platforms' full capabilities on average at best, they're not helping their participants, or themselves.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

PBGC Offers Missing Participants Program to DC Plans

Abstract: PBGC is expanding its Missing Participants Program to terminated defined contribution and other plans in an effort to connect more people to their retirement savings. The expanded program is voluntary for DC and small professional service plans and will be available for plans that terminate on or after January 1, 2018.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Tax reform: Retirement Plan Changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Abstract: While many retirement plan changes had been included in the separate bills passed by the House and the Senate, only a few survived the committee of House and Senate members that was convened to hammer out the differences between the two versions of the bill. The Act makes significant changes to both individual and corporate taxation, it only makes modest changes to retirement plans. Here is a brief summary.

Source: Jpmorgan.com, December 2017

2018 Predictions for 401k Advisers, Distributors and Recordkeepers

Abstract: As we enter 2018, the adviser-sold 401k market begins its next phase of development. No longer an awkward, energetic teenager, the market is entering early adulthood, bringing with it heightened responsibilities, greater scrutiny and more opportunities, for some.

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

Puerto Rico Treasury Issues Guidance on Retirement Plan Limits for 2018

Abstract: On December 15, 2017, the Puerto Rico Treasury Department issued Circular Letter of Tax Policy 17-02 (CLTP 17-02), formally announcing the key pension limits for 2018.

Source: Groom.com, December 2017

Sixth Circuit Holds That a Divorce Decree Should Be Treated as a QDRO

Abstract: Upon reviewing the case, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the divorce decree suffices as a qualified domestic relations order that "clearly specifies" plaintiff as the beneficiary under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. Section 1056(d)(3)(C), so that plaintiff is entitled to the benefit from the plan specified in the divorce decree.

Source: Erisalawyerblog.com, December 2017

Fifth Circuit Borrows One-Year Statute of Limitations for Section 502(c)(1) Claim

Abstract: The Fifth Circuit held that the statute of limitations for an ERISA Section 502(c)(1) claim -- a claim for penalties for failure to provide certain documents within thirty days of a written request -- was subject to a one-year statute of limitations.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, December 2017

Tax Reform: IRAs, Qualified Plans, 529s, and Other Savings Arrangements Impacted

Abstract: The Bill will affect retirement and other tax-advantaged savings arrangements and, in some cases, will become effective as soon as it is signed. Highlights of the changes made to savings arrangements and their effective dates are described here.

Source: Ascensus.com, December 2017

Fee Structure and Evaluation in 403b Plans

Abstract: This 13-page PSCA 403b Snapshot Survey reflects responses from 250 not-for-profit organizations that currently sponsor a 403b plan. The survey was conducted online in October/November 2017 and asks sponsors questions regarding how plans fees are structured, administered, and evaluated.

Source: Psca.org, December 2017

Survey: 403b Sponsors Need More Information on Their Plan Design

Abstract: PSCA's annual survey shows that 403b plans have made significant improvements in plan administration. This snapshot survey highlights how additional focus evaluating fees and expenses as well as implementing a prudent, documented process might help to mitigate the risks plan fiduciaries face.

Source: Principal.com, December 2017

403b Loans: Maximums and Cure Periods

Abstract: In 2017, the IRS issued two memoranda regarding 403b plan loans and how those loans should be administered. First, in April, the IRS presented two different options to calculate loan maximums under Internal Revenue Code Section 72(p). The second IRS memorandum focused on cure periods. This article reviews the details.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, December 2017

Plan Sponsors Need to Deal With a Whole New 401k World

Abstract: Retirement plan sponsors need to understand the increased potential liability as plan fiduciaries and the best way to understand the changes that have taken place in the 401k plan business over the last 20 years. This article will let 401k plan sponsors understand how and why they need to be more vigilant in their role as a 401k plan fiduciary.

Source: Jdsupra.com, December 2017

Retirement Assets Total $27.2 Trillion in Third Quarter 2017

Abstract: Total US retirement assets were $27.2 trillion as of September 30, 2017, up 2.3 percent from June 30, 2017. Retirement assets accounted for 35 percent of all household financial assets in the United States at the end of September 2017.

Source: Ici.org, December 2017

Small Employer Credit for Retirement Plan Start-Up Costs

Abstract: For small employer retirement plans, a tax credit of up to 50% of the first $1,000 in "eligible start up costs" may be available to offset establishment and administration costs. This credit is available for each of the first three years of the plan.

Source: Consultrms.com, December 2017

SEPs vs 401k Safe-Harbor

Abstract: This chart compares a SEP with a safe-harbor 401k plan and is especially important for employers who must cover participants other than just the owners.

Source: Consultrms.com, December 2017

Canadian Plan Sponsors Favoring Group RRSPs, DPSPs Over DC Plans

Abstract: Canadian employers in search of simpler retirement products for their workers are looking to group registered retirement savings plans and deferred profit-sharing plans as a solution, say experts at capital accumulation plan providers.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2017

Breaking Down Retirement Provisions in the Tax Reform Bill

Abstract: The retirement industry "dodged a lot of bullets" in terms of what could have been included in the GOP tax reform bill that would have negatively impacted retirement savings. But just because Rothification of workplace retirement plans didn't happen and the reform bill didn't include changes to non-qualified deferred compensation doesn't mean that those topics won't resurface in the future when it comes time to pay for other things Congress wants.

Source: Benefitnews.com, December 2017

Trump Tax Bill Terrific for 401ks: Opinion

Abstract: After all the hemming and hawing, gnashing and wailing, the tax bill (apparently) is set to pass. Not only does it preserve pretty much everything good about tax-advantaged retirement accounts, it's favorable in other, admittedly roundabout, ways.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

How Merrill Lynch 'Shot to Hell' the RIA Fiduciary Citadel

Abstract: The DOL's fiduciary rule has created an oddity in the 401k business where 401k RIAs are the giants protecting market share against upstart RIAs. The result, in the case of Merrill Lynch at least, is a new effort that has all the hallmarks of innovation and all the resources of the fatted cow.

Source: Riabiz.com, December 2017

Plans Should Get Rid of Those Forfeitures

Abstract: Forfeitures that occur when people terminate service from retirement plans is usually a problem when the plan sponsor and their providers forget about them. Whether forfeitures are used to pay expenses, reduce employer contributions or is reallocated is specified in the plan document. The problem is when they just left there to collect dust.

Source: Jdsupra.com, December 2017

Behavioral Finance: How Participants Make Decisions

Abstract: Behavioral finance research shows most 401k participants are not active decision-makers. In fact, most participants are dominated by five key behavioral traits: inertia, procrastination, choice overload, endorsement and framing. Dr. Greg Kasten of Unified Trust explains these behaviors and how appropriate strategies can be enacted to allow for participant success despite these behaviors.

Source: Fi360.com, December 2017

Evolving Cybersecurity Landscape Pressures Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Being fiduciaries under ERISA, retirement plan officials are tasked with monitoring and managing cybersecurity risk as they invest participant dollars. As outlined in a new report from Corporate Insight, "Trends in Online Security: 1996 to Today," this is no simple task, and it has grown markedly more complex in the last two decades as the role of big data technology has ramped up in the retirement industry.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2017

DC Plan Sponsor Priorities for 2018

Abstract: Mercer details priority areas of focus for defined contribution plan sponsors as they manage their plans and seek to enable participant success. Sponsors look to improve plan participant outcomes, mitigate excessive fee litigation risks, and manage fiduciary responsibilities.

Source: Mercer.com, December 2017

The Importance of Internal Controls and Audit and Investigation Readiness

Abstract: Diane Wasser, partner-in-charge of EisnerAmper's Pension Services Group, recently sat down with Callan Carter, special counsel at Trucker Huss, APC, a firm of ERISA and employee benefits attorneys, to discuss common retirement plan errors and how to avoid them.

Source: Eisneramper.com, December 2017

Canadian Plans Sponsors Not Measuring Impact of DC Pensions

Abstract: Few Canadian employers are tracking the impact of their DC plans or measuring their outcomes, according to new research by Willis Towers Watson. It found only 26 percent of survey respondents measure the retirement readiness of their employees at least every three years, while 30 percent monitor it periodically and 40 percent take no action at all.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2017

Seattle Mayor Proposes City-Run Plan for Private Sector Workers

Abstract: Seattle workers whose employers do not offer a retirement plan will have access to one through the city if a proposal by Mayor Jenny Durkan is enacted.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2017

18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

Abstract: The Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey explores attitudes about retirement and retirement readiness among American workers. The latest findings highlight differences and similarities among Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. The study had more than 6,000 respondents. It was conducted by Harris Poll.

Source: Transamericacenter.org, December 2017

New U.S. State Retirement Plans Are Welcome, but Why So Expensive?

Abstract: Now that the first state plans are under construction, an unfortunate reality is coming into view: These retirement accounts are not going to be cheap for account holders, at least not in the early going.

Source: Reuters.com, December 2017

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Increase Plan Access and Lifetime Income

Abstract: U.S. House Representatives Ron Kind and Dave Reichert introduced The Small Businesses Add Value for Employees (SAVE) Act of 2017, H.R. 4637. In addition to expanding access to MEPs, the bill would facilitate lifetime income disclosure and clarify the current annuity selection safe harbor.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Why It's Dangerous to Ignore Undeliverable Mail Sent by Your Retirement Plan

Abstract: Plan sponsor's usually find out a participant is missing when a required notice is sent back as undeliverable. Not being able to locate plan participants is a compliance issue when those participants reach age 70 1/2. And the IRS and DOL have recently made RMD compliance a focus of their audits and investigations.

Source: Graydon.law, December 2017

Employer Fiduciary Exposure/Risks to Employers in Vendor Agreements

Abstract: The topic is the fiduciary risk to plan sponsors in vendor contracts as a result of the DOL Fiduciary Rule.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, December 2017

Summary of Legal Actions Against the DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Since the DOL put the final rule redefining an investment advice fiduciary under ERISA into effect, there have been six lawsuits filed in four federal courts. The goal? To vacate the fiduciary rule in whole or at least in part. This chart reviews what has happened with these lawsuits.

Source: Columbiathreadneedleus.com, December 2017

The Senate Tax Bill and Last-Minute Controversy Over - 403b?

Abstract: Senator Collins had succeeded in removing all 403b contribution limit provisions from the final Tax Reform bill. Neither the Senate nor House bills contain any provisions that negatively affect 403b or other types of retirement plans to any significant degree.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, December 2017

Aon Hewitt Can't Escape Safeway's 401k Fee Lawsuit

Abstract: Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting must defend allegations that it acted imprudently by selecting and monitoring certain investment options, including JPMorgan's target-date funds, in Safeway's 401k plan.

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

Participant Alleges Design Flaw in Proprietary Fund Suit

Abstract: An alleged "built-in" flaw in fund design has drawn a fiduciary breach suit by a plan participant. The suit (Birse v. CenturyLink, Inc., D. Colo., No. 1:17-cv-02872, complaint filed 11/30/17) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2017

Legislation Permitting E-Delivery of Plan Information Introduced

Abstract: Bipartisan legislation that would allow for electronic delivery of pension and retirement plan information was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives Dec 11.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2017

ERISA Stock Drop Cases Since Dudenhoeffer: The Pleading Standard Has Been Raised

Abstract: This article analyzes the Dudenhoeffer pleading standard and "stock drop" cases. Some ERISA commentators initially viewed Dudenhoeffer's overruling of the Moench presumption of prudence as a win for plaintiffs in ERISA stock drop cases. As the lower federal courts have applied Dudenhoeffer's revised pleading standards, however, it has become clear that this is not the case.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, December 2017

Excessive Fee Suit Targeting Fujitsu Results in Sizable Settlement

Abstract: The lawsuit contended that among defined contribution plans with more than $1 billion in assets, the average plan has costs equal to 0.33% of assets per year; in 2013, total fees for the Fujitsu plan amounted to approximately 0.88% of plan assets.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2017

Study Finds Money Market Funds Losing Favor in DC Plans

Abstract: One year after the SEC's money market fund reform rules went into effect, there has been meaningful movement away from money market funds as a capital preservation option in defined contribution plans, with just over half of plan sponsors now offering money market as a capital preservation option (52%), down from 62% in 2015, according to MetLife's 2017 Stable Value Study.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

Thwarting Cyber Attacks on Retirement Plans

Abstract: A stolen identity, a few clicks, and there it is, a handsome retirement plan balance, ripe for the picking. If only someone had done something to prevent it all. A recent blog entry offers some ideas on how to do that, as does the IRS.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, December 2017

2017 Stable Value Study

Abstract: This 30-page study explores plan sponsors' familiarity with the SEC's MMF reform and the extent to which they have taken steps to evaluate the use of money market funds in their DC plans. The study also looks at other trends, such as the use of stable value in target-date funds.

Source: Metlife.com, December 2017

Advisors Win in Aftermath of DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Among those familiar with the fiduciary rule, most reported their impression of advisors was unchanged and an additional 27% cited that their perception of advisors had actually improved, evidence that preparation efforts toward compliance with the rule were not in vain, even amid the extensions and delays recently announced with fiduciary rule efforts.

Source: Marketstrategies.com, December 2017

Retirement Plan Sponsors Can't Afford to Be Cheap

Abstract: Paying reasonable plan expenses isn't about paying as little as possible, so it means that plan sponsors don't need to be cheap. They can't afford to be cheap because being cheap can cost a plan sponsor a lot more in the long run.

Source: Jdsupra.com, December 2017

Successful Financial Wellness Programs Require Behavioral Changes, Not Just Literacy

Abstract: Wellness programs that merely teach employees financial literacy aren't as successful as those that encourage change in their behavior, according to Aon Hewitt's 2017 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing. In the study, 59% of respondents said they would be very likely to focus on employees' financial well-being beyond retirement issues.

Source: Hrdive.com, December 2017

Changes, Trends and Best Practices for 401k Administration in 2018

Abstract: It's important for HR to understand 2018's changes and trends in 401ks, but its just as important to ensure that your workforce understands what you're offering and how best to use it to meet their current and future needs.

Source: Hrdive.com, December 2017

How Anchoring Hurts 401k Retirement Savers

Abstract: With the introduction of the concept of anchoring, Tversky and Kahneman opened the door to a new way of thinking about and addressing the financial decision-making process. For more than four decades, subsequent research has expanded upon their idea. Yet, plan sponsors and participants continue to remain uninformed of the dangers of anchoring.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, December 2017

Spousal Consent/J&S Issues Under 403b Plans May Trigger Document Conflicts

Abstract: The application of the Spousal Consent and Joint and Survivor Annuity rules is an issue which needs to be considered. Article deal with documenting the rules as they apply to 403b plans.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, December 2017

Automatic Retirement Plan Act Proposes Mandatory Retirement Plans

Abstract: Rep. Richard Neal recently introduced the Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017. ARPA would require many employers to maintain an automatic contribution plan. In addition, ARPA would enhance employers' ability to participate in multiple employer plans, limit formation of new state-sponsored automatic-enrollment IRA programs, and propose certain other miscellaneous retirement plan provisions.

Source: Ascensus.com, December 2017

Nearly Half Would Save Less if Tax-Deferral in 401k Is Eliminated

Abstract: Forty-six percent say they would "save less" or "stop saving" in their 401k if the tax deferred status of their plan was taken away, whereas 42 percent say they would "save the same amount." This is according to a recent The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism survey.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2017

A Couple's Guide to Retirement Planning

Abstract: When youre married or in a committed relationship and approaching retirement, planning your golden years is a dual effort. Aside from money, the onset of extra free time in retirement can challenge a couple's relationship in new ways. Setting expectations early on and planning for changes ahead of time can help couples design their ideal retirement.

Source: Usnews.com, December 2017

DOL Fiduciary Rule -- Still Very Much Alive

Abstract: While certain requirements of the Fiduciary Rule have been delayed, the expanded definition of a fiduciary -- the standards to which such fiduciaries are to be held -- is in effect. During the transition period, the DOL is requiring providers to exercise good faith compliance with the Fiduciary Rule.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, December 2017

Participant Notice Requirements for Safe Harbor 401k Plans

Abstract: Employers sponsoring Safe Harbor 401k plans must satisfy certain notice requirements. The notice requirements are satisfied if each eligible employee for the plan year is given written notice of the employee's rights and obligations under the plan and the notice satisfies the content and timing requirements.

Source: Qbillc.com, December 2017

2017 Plan Year-End Compliance Reminders

Abstract: Every year, plan sponsors must make sure their plans meet certain compliance requirements. This publication identifies the materials you need to review and will help you prepare for year-end. It only applies to qualified defined contribution plans and 403b plans that are subject to ERISA.

Source: Prudential.com, December 2017

More Advisers Expect Increased ESG Demand

Abstract: More than one-third, 35%, of asset managers have made the introduction of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing a high priority, and another 57% say they are placing a moderate level of priority on the task. Together, this makes for a full 92% of asset managers on the path to or considering offering ESG investing options, according to the December issue of The Cerulli Edge.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2017

A Key to Strengthening Retirement Security: Return to Designing Retirement Plans Focused on Lifetime Income Strategies

Abstract: The problem with relying on a DC plan as a core or primary retirement plan is that DC plans were not designed to provide retirement security. As a result, these core DC plans are primarily focused on wealth accumulation and preservation while failing to offer workers options to help them manage their income to last a lifetime.

Source: Georgetown.edu, December 2017

Retention Practices: Fiduciary Records Are (Almost) Forever

Abstract: How long should fiduciary records be kept? The Court has said that although the statute of limitations for bringing an action against a plan fiduciary for an imprudent investment begins on the date of the investment, the limitation period begins anew if at any time during that period the fiduciary should have reviewed its portfolio and replaced the investment.

Source: Fiduciaryplangovernance.com, December 2017

Delinquent 401k and 403b Deposits: Same Prohibited Transaction, but Only One is Subject to Penalties

Abstract: The IRS Code Section that assesses a penalty on delinquent deferrals, Code Section 4975, does not apply to 403b plans. Unlike parents, who must be fair to all their children and treat them the same, the government doesn't have to penalize all types of plans equally when they commit the same exact prohibited transaction.

Source: Belfint.com, December 2017

Fraud Scheme Targeting 401k Accounts Uncovered

Abstract: A scheme targeting individual 401k accounts, potentially at multiple recordkeepers, has resulted in a lawsuit by the U.S. Attorney's office in Colorado to recover as much as $2 million in losses.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2017

Are You Among the 38%?

Abstract: A record number of 401k and 403b plan sponsors -- 38% -- are actively seeking new plan advisors, according to a recent Fidelity Investments survey. That's not a surprise given changes in the retirement plan industry. Aticle reviews questions to ask when evaluating a prospective or existing advisor.

Source: Alliant401k.com, December 2017

ARA: Tax Reform Proposal Threatens Small Business Workers' Retirement

Abstract: Tax reform proposals working there way through Congress could have a dramatic impact on the retirement security of small businesses and millions of small business workers, according to an analysis by the American Retirement Association.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2017

IRS Identifies No Qualification Changes Affecting 401k Plans on 2017 Required Amendments List

Abstract: The IRS has issued its 2017 Required Amendments List for qualified retirement plans. The 2017 RA List does not identify any qualification changes affecting 401k plans, but plan sponsors must still determine whether amendments are necessary for their particular plans.

Source: Thomsonreuters.com, December 2017

Employer's Failure to Deduct Plan Loan Repayments Resulted in Deemed Distribution

Abstract: This is a cautionary tale of how a poorly administered participant loan program can result in adverse tax consequences to participants. While this participant's reasonable reliance on the employer and recordkeeper allowed her to avoid the accuracy-related penalty, it did not protect her from the deemed distribution.

Source: Thomsonreuters.com, December 2017

Four Retirement Savings Benchmarks That (Generally) Miss the Mark

Abstract: Behavioral finance tells us that human beings are prone to relying on heuristics -- mental shortcuts -- to solve complex problems. While these may not be very accurate, survey data and anecdotal evidence suggest that participants often rely on these benchmarks. Here are four that workers use more often than we'd perhaps like to admit.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, December 2017

Will Record Breaking Market Be the Anchor That Sinks 401k Savers?

Abstract: With a Goal-Oriented Target based strategy, expectations are predicated on needs, not the happenstance of the market. GOT-based portfolios may not have the record-breaking excitement of market indices, but it's slow-and-steady-wins-the-race philosophy may lead to a more comfortable retirement.

Source: Fiduciarynews.com, December 2017

Plan Sponsors Should Take Action during the New Fiduciary Rule Transition Relief Period

Abstract: Sponsors of retirement plans should take advantage of this significantly extended transition period to confirm that advisors to individual plan participants have taken steps to comply with the rule's requirements and prohibited transaction exemptions that are now due to become fully effective on July 1, 2019.

Source: Bradley.com, December 2017

Fiduciary Awareness Among DC Plan Sponsors Continues to Slip

Abstract: AllianceBernstein announced new research showing that fiduciary awareness among defined contribution plan sponsors has deteriorated significantly in recent years. Even though all survey participants qualified as plan fiduciaries, nearly half (49%) of plan sponsors did not consider themselves fiduciaries.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, December 2017

Defined Contribution Plans: Ten New Definitions for 2018

Abstract: The defined contribution landscape is changing rapidly. When this happens, we need to redefine terms to better reflect the new environment. This article identifies 10 terms rendered outdated by change. In each case, Willis Towers Watson provides a more robust, accurate and current definition.

Source: Willistowerswatson.com, December 2017

Is an Investment Policy Statement Right for Your Plan?

Abstract: Some plan sponsors create an investment policy statement to provide a framework for managing investment decisions. Yet, not all plan sponsors believe an IPS is the best vehicle for defining a plan sponsor's strategy for investment oversight. This is a brief discussion of some of the factors plan sponsors may want to consider as they evaluate the role of an IPS with respect to their plan.

Source: Troweprice.com, December 2017

Senate Passage of Tax Bill Signals Benefit Changes, but Which Ones?

Abstract: Now that the U.S. Senate has approved its comprehensive tax reform bill, the measure must be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives. Each measure handles the health care individual mandate, education benefits and other deductions differently. This article reviews the workplace provisions in both the House and Senate bills and some of the key differences.

Source: Shrm.org, December 2017

Sponsors Should Be Aware of These Year-End Retirement Plan Deadlines

Abstract: Retirement plan fiduciaries must be aware of the many important deadlines involved in properly administering their retirement plan. Missing any of these deadlines can lead to serious consequences for the fiduciary and the plan.

Source: Pension-Consultants.com, December 2017

The First State Auto IRA Is Up Running and Working - So Why Do Some Business Groups Want These Plans to Fail?

Abstract: Article states, "A leading business trade group, backed by faulty legal advice, is aiming to kill state automatic individual retirement accounts. Their immediate target is OregonSaves, which launched the first such pilot program this summer."

Source: Klgates.com, December 2017

CenturyLink Accused of Giving Workers Bad 401k Investment

Abstract: A new lawsuit claims CenturyLink offered its workers a poorly managed and underperforming stock fund in their 401k plan that caused them to lose out on retirement savings.

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

Canadian Xennials Worried About Retirement Savings: Survey

Abstract: Canadian xennials, those aged 34 to 40, are finding that the pressing expenses of daily life are getting in the way of saving for retirement, according to a new survey by TD Canada Trust. The survey polled Canadians of all ages, including this micro generation between generation X and millennials.

Source: Benefitscanada.com, December 2017

Outside Plan Counsel -- When Should I Call?

Abstract: It doesn't make sense to consult your ERISA plan counsel about ordinary recordkeeping and testing matters, but here is a list of issues that call for legal advice from an expert at the earliest possible time.

Source: 401ktv.com, December 2017

House Bill Seeks Expansion of Open MEPs, Aggressive Plan Designs

Abstract: A bill introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal, known as the "Automatic Retirement Plan Act of 2017," is garnering the support of retirement plan industry lobbying groups. Among other adjustments viewed as vital to the expansion of open multiple employer plans, the bill would remove the "one bad apple" rule and the commonality requirement.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2017

New RIA Aggregator Enters 401k Market

Abstract: Hub International is a neophyte among so-called RIA aggregators focused on the retirement plan market, but it's making a grand entrance that signals competitive heft and further hints at a growing consolidation trend among plan advisers.

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

Data Show Ongoing Commitment to Retirement Saving

Abstract: Americans continued to save for retirement through DC plans during the first half of this year, according to a ICI study. The study tracks contributions, withdrawals, and other activity, based on DC plan recordkeeper data covering more than 30 million participant accounts in employer-based DC plans.

Source: Ici.org, December 2017

DCIIA Fourth Biennial Plan Sponsor Survey

Abstract: This is a 12-page report on the results of a survey of plan sponsors' use-of and attitudes-toward automatic plan features including automatic enrollment, automatic escalation and re-enrollment in default investment funds known as Qualified Default Investment Alternatives. The survey represents the views of 194 DC plan sponsors. Sixty-two percent of respondents are larger plan sponsors, defined as plans with assets over $200 million, and the remaining 38% are smaller plan sponsors, defined as plans with $200 million in assets or less.

Source: Dciia.com, December 2017

Proprietary Funds: The New Lightning Rod for 403b Plans?

Abstract: In the large 403b plan space, the criticism of variable annuities has all but evaporated, since, with some low-cost exceptions, variable annuities no longer exist. But recent litigation has been highly cynical of recordkeepers' proprietary fund offerings and the plan sponsors who select such offerings.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, December 2017

Tax Savings When Setting Up an Employee Benefits Plan

Abstract: There are a number of benefits to setting up an employee retirement plan for both employers and employees. This includes the ability to attract top talent and incentivize current employees to stay with the company to maximize their benefits. However, one of the most compelling reasons employers should consider for setting up an employee benefits plan is the tax savings for both employer and employee.

Source: Bsllp.com, December 2017

Union 401k Retirement Plan Latest Target of Fee Litigation

Abstract: The flurry of litigation over 401k plan fees has reached a new frontier: a union retirement plan covering more than 27,000 Teamsters and other union workers. The proposed class action, filed Nov. 30 in a California federal court, targets the trustees of the Supplemental Income 401k Plan, a $921 million union retirement plan based in California.

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

The Clock Is Ticking on 2017 Compliance Steps

Abstract: Ritual marks the onset of a new year, but it's not just about revelry and pageantry. It's also about making sure plan-related duties that are on a calendar-year timeline are fulfilled in time. Here is a reminder of what needs to be done before the ball drops.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2017

The Latest Targets of 401k Fee Lawsuits

Abstract: A new front has opened in the retirement plan litigation battle, this one involving the 27,178-member Supplemental Income 401k Plan, a union-sponsored multiemployer plan with almost $1 billion assets.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2017

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