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COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Legislative Items Impacting Retirement Plans

A directory and index of articles that review what is happening in Congress and Washington DC.

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What's Cooking in Congress for Retirement Plans?

Abstract: This article takes a deeper dive into what has been cooking in Congress for retirement plans over the past few months.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, September 2017

Warren Ups War of Words in 401k Fiduciary Fight

Abstract: Elizabeth Warren fired off yet another letter last week, this time to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, urging the latter to implement the fiduciary rule post haste. She cited comments made by financial services companies during earnings calls to bolster her case, noting "that they are prepared to comply with the rule in its current form and that many believe it to be in the best interests of their customers."

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, September 2017

Tax Cut Proposals Have Advisers Worried About All-Roth 401ks

Abstract: With President Trump touting potential corporate and individual tax rate cuts, retirement plan sponsors and advisers are worried that could lead to the government switching 401k plans to all-Roth in order to raise revenue to offset the cuts. Advisers say the elimination of tax incentives to save would deter participation and lower savings rates.

Source: Planadviser.com, August 2017

These Five Retirement Issues Brought Out the Lobbyists

Abstract: Five hot-button issues in retirement policy were at the forefront of lobbying efforts in the second quarter of 2017, Bloomberg Government data show. They were the fiduciary rule, multiemployer reform, retirement issues relevant to tax reform, repeal of state retirement plans, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums.

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

New Jersey Considers 403(b) Disclosure Bill

Abstract: A bill that would require new disclosures in New Jersey, A5151, has been filed by Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, the Deputy Republican Leader of the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

Source: Napa-net.org, August 2017

Regulatory Burdens Threatening Retirement Plans

Abstract: The ERISA Industry Committee submitted comments to the Department of Treasury outlining ways to reduce regulatory burdens for retirement plans. "It is imperative that regulations do not create uncertainty or introduce new risks that can drive plan sponsors further away from offering important and meaningful retirement benefits."

Source: Eric.org, August 2017

Senators Urge DOL to Issue Guidance on Auto Portability

Abstract: To help prevent retirement plan cashout 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

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

Puerto Rico Law Modifies Retirement Plan Rules

Abstract: The recent changes to the Puerto Rico Trust Act and Internal Revenue Code are focused on the economic security and future of professionals in Puerto Rico. By providing broader, more flexible options and reducing administrative burdens, the Puerto Rico government hopes to encourage small businesses to offer retirement plans and increase participation in existing retirement plans. The new law includes adjusted contribution and employer deduction limits, a revised definition of highly compensated employee, and a new safe harbor rule.

Source: Prudential.com, June 2017

Video: Tax Reform and Its Potential Impact on Retirement Programs

Abstract: Elizabeth (Beth) Bell, Tax Counsel at U.S. Senate, Senator Benjamin Cardin's Office, discusses the ongoing, bi-partisan interest in tax reform and what it could mean for retirement programs.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, June 2017

Survey: Potential Impact of Tax Reform on Employees' Retirement Savings

Abstract: The Plan Sponsor Council of America released the results of a new snapshot survey to gather insights on the impact of possible changes to tax preferences for retirement savings plans.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, June 2017

Nevada Imposes Statutory Fiduciary Duty on Broker-Dealers

Abstract: A new fiduciary duty will become applicable July 1, 2017, for broker-dealers and investment advisers operating in Nevada, and this fiduciary duty has nothing to do with the Department of Labor.

Source: Greensfelder.com, June 2017

House Republicans Pass "Choice" Act, Block Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: One of the most sweeping financial regulations in recent history took a step closer to destruction on Thursday, as the House of Representatives voted almost along party lines to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act. Part of the legislative package included a block of the DOL's fiduciary rule set for implementation on Friday.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, June 2017

Bill Would Repeal Fiduciary Rule, Part of Dodd-Frank

Abstract: A bill repealing some of the major provisions of Dodd-Frank and the DOL's fiduciary rule will move to the House floor for a vote this week, something that did not happen in previous sessions for similar legislation. That said, even if the House passes it, its chances in the Senate are bleak.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2017

Open MEPs, Fiduciary Delay Dominate Hearing

Abstract: A congressional hearing on "Regulatory Barriers Facing Workers and Families Saving for Retirement" ran the gamut from the fiduciary regulation to multiple employer plans to state-run programs. The hearing, by the House Education and Workforce Committee's Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions, heard from four witnesses on a handful of retirement topics, and in the process showcased that partisan differences have only calcified in the 115th Congress.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2017

Financial CHOICE Act Passes House Financial Services Committee

Abstract: The House Financial Services Committee passed the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 (H.R. 10), which would make significant financial regulatory changes including the repeal or replacement of certain key provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. It would also eliminate DOL's fiduciary duty rule and require the SEC to promulgate its own fiduciary duty rule.

Source: Westlaw.com, May 2017

Fiduciary Rule Debate Impacts State-Run Plans for Private Sector

Abstract: A new bill introduced by Senate Democrats, seeking to protect ERISA exemptions for state- and city-run retirement plans for the private sector, would likely be made redundant with the removal of the Obama-era fiduciary rules.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2017

Current Retirement Policy Legislation Update

Abstract: This article reviews several bipartisan retirement policy initiatives being considered by Congress. It starts with three bills introduced in 2017 addressing the issues of lifetime income disclosure, leakage, and plans with closed groups. It then reviews two proposals that were introduced in 2016, the Retirement Savings Lost and Found Act and the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act.

Source: Octoberthree.com, May 2017

Dodd-Frank Overhaul Could Cause Fiduciary Rule Mess

Abstract: A major overhaul of the Dodd-Frank Act that would also repeal the DOL's fiduciary rule could cause a mess for the financial services industry if it is enacted after the rule's June 9 applicability date.

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

Video: President Trump's First 100 Days and the Impact on Retirement

Abstract: Retirement in the age of Trump must take into account a host of macro and demographic factors, such as increased longevity and fewer defined benefit plans. Financial broadcaster Liz Claman speaks with three experts on their view of retirement, touching on topics such as the future of the fiduciary rule and the global macroeconomic outlook.

Source: Assettv.com, May 2017

CHOICE Act Targets Fiduciary Rule, Dodd-Frank Rollback

Abstract: Passage of the CHOICE Act by the House Financial Services Committee could signal a further blow to conflict of interest regulations adopted by the Obama administration.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2017

Bill Would Address Loan Repayments and Savings After a Hardship Withdrawal

Abstract: The Shrinking Emergency Account Losses (SEAL) Act would allow employees to continue to contribute to their DC plans during the six months following a hardship withdrawal, among other things.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2017

White House Blog Reiterates Protection for Retirement Savings

Abstract: In a White House blog entry posted late on April 26, National Economic Council Director and chief economic advisor to President Trump Gary Cohn reiterated his earlier comments that retirement savings will be protected as tax reform proceeds.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, May 2017

Senate Confirms Labor Secretary Acosta

Abstract: The Senate confirmed one of the final members of President Trump's Cabinet, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, on Thursday.

Source: Thehill.com, April 2017

Are Retirement Savings Safe From Tax Reform?

Abstract: Unveiling President Trump's tax reform proposal, Gary Cohn, Trump's chief economic advisor and director of the National Economic Council, said that "retirement savings will be protected."

Source: Ntsa-net.org, April 2017

What's Cooking in Congress for Retirement Plans?

Abstract: For those of you who are concerned about tax reform and other possible future legislation, here is an interview with Preston Rutledge, Tax and Benefits Counsel at the Senate Finance Committee.

Source: Cammackretirement.com, April 2017

Iowa Bill to Open Teachers' 403(b) Plan to More Competition

Abstract: The bill requires the Iowa Department of Administrative Services to include up to 30 insurance and investment companies in the 403(b) plan so long as they are approved by the Iowa Insurance Division and registered with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, April 2017

Trump to Sign Resolution Nixing City-Run Auto-IRAs for Small Businesses

Abstract: ties and counties will soon be barred from requiring small businesses without 401k-type retirement plans to enroll workers into a government-run individual retirement account. Meanwhile, a measure to block a requirement for similar small businesses to participate in auto-enroll IRAs run by the state still awaits a Senate vote.

Source: Shrm.org, April 2017

Expanding Multiple Employer Plans: A Bipartisan Idea to Narrow the Coverage Gap

Abstract: ERISA Strategist Dan Notto discusses the idea of open multiple employer plans and their potential to help narrow the retirement coverage gap.

Source: Jpmorgan.com, April 2017

Five Regulatory Issues Every Financial Adviser Should Be Watching

Abstract: Although the epic battle over the DOL's fiduciary rule will continue for at least several more months, if not years, and dominate the regulatory agenda for investment advice, other critical issues are bubbling to the surface. Several may even have a chance of advancing in this cold political climate.

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

Senate, House Introduce Bills Mandating Lifetime Income Disclosures for 401k Plans

Abstract: Bipartisan legislation was introduced today in the Senate and House of Representatives that would require employers to provide 401k participants with a projection of monthly income at retirement, based on their current account balance.

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

Acosta Nomination Heads to Senate

Abstract: Alexander Acosta, President Trump's nominee to head the Labor Department, was approved March 30 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The full Senate will now vote on his nomination, though a date has not yet been set.

Source: Asppa.org, April 2017

Congress Set to Lift DOL ERISA Exemption for State Plans

Abstract: The DOL ERISA exemption for State Plans granted to state auto-IRA plans looks likely to be lifted after both the House and Senate following party lines voted to override the rule. Will lifting the ERISA exemption for State Plans cause employers to be reluctant to jump into these plans and do state plans pose more problems than they solve?

Source: 401ktv.com, April 2017

Tax Reform Takes Center Stage

Abstract: So while the current retirement savings vehicles -- like the 401k -- will not be removed from the tax code under the House Republican plan, those vehicles could be combined into one "cookie cutter" approach.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2017

Legislation to Help Small Business Retirement Plans Introduced

Abstract: Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans, or at least easier to file Form 5500.

Source: Napa-net.org, March 2017

Tax Reform Proposals Causing Anxiety for Retirement Industry

Abstract: The fiduciary rule and President Donald Trump's tax reform efforts were the big topics addressed Sunday during the opening of the NAPA 401k Summit. But the big takeaway for employers is that tax reform may inhibit employees' ability to save for retirement.

Source: Benefitnews.com, March 2017

A Tax on Retirement Accounts?

Abstract: A new tax reform proposal has surfaced that would impose a 15% tax on retirement accounts. More specifically, the proposal includes a new 15% tax on interest paid to tax-exempt institutions and retirement plans.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2017

Labor Secretary's Nomination Hearing Postponed Again

Abstract: The Senate Health, Education Labor & Pensions Committee has delayed Labor Secretary nominee R. Alexander Acosta's confirmation hearing another week.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2017

Employee Benefits in the Trump Administration

Abstract: With President Donald Trump now in the Oval Office, and both the Senate and House of Representatives being now controlled by the Republican party, changes to the regulatory agencies, their mandates and focus and tax reform all come into play to impact employee benefits. Republicans now have the opportunity to set the policy agenda and to move major pieces of legislation that could significantly impact the health and retirement systems, with these being the two expenditures on the books.

Source: Groom.com, March 2017

Conn. Bill Would Require 403(b) Service Providers to Describe Services, Disclose Compensation

Abstract: On Feb. 23, Connecticut House Bill 7161 was introduced. Entitled "An Act Requiring Service Providers Under Certain Retirement Plans to Disclose Conflicts of Interest," the bill requires all service providers to 403(b) plans in Connecticut to describe their services and disclose all the direct and indirect compensation received for the services.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, March 2017

Acosta Nominated for Secretary of Labor

Abstract: The 48-year-old Acosta is no stranger to the Senate confirmation process, having been approved by the Senate three times. The son of Cuban immigrants, he received a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He practiced law at the firm of Kirkland & Ellis.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, February 2017

House Passes Resolutions to Block State-Run Plans for Private Sector

Abstract: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed two resolutions of disapproval to block Labor Department regulations regarding state-run retirement plans for private sector workers.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

DOL Secretary Nominee Backs Out

Abstract: With his Senate confirmation hearing set to kick off tomorrow, DOL Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder has withdrawn himself from consideration.

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

Private Sector MEPs Return in House Bill

Abstract: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement benefits to employees.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

Resolutions Introduced in Congress to Block State-Sponsored Private Sector Retirement Plans

Abstract: Rep. Tim Walberg, chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and Rep. Francis Rooney have introduced two resolutions of disapproval (H. J. Res 66, H. J. Res 67) to block DOL regulations allowing state-sponsored private sector retirement plans.

Source: House.gov, February 2017

DOL Nominee Puzder's Hearing Again Delayed

Summary: The Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's confirmation hearing for Andrew Puzder, President Trump's nominee for Secretary of Labor, has been delayed again.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2017

More Disruptive Than the Fiduciary Rule?

Abstract: Sure, you've spent a year getting ready for the fiduciary rule, but are you ready for this? Tax reform is the topic du jour in the nation's capital. The headlines have been filled with promises from both President Trump and nearly every one of his cabinet appointees to do something about tax reform.

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

Congressman Introduces Bill Delaying DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson introduced a bill today that would provide for a 2-year delay in the effective date of the Department of Labor rule relating to the definition of the term fiduciary.

Source: Joewilson.house.gov, January 2017

What Trump's Election Could Mean for Your Employee Benefit Plans

Abstract: Now that the most unorthodox presidential election our country has ever seen is over and President-Elect Trump will be sworn into office in January, it’s time to take a look at his position on key issues and the possible impact on your overall benefit strategy.

Source: Fidelity.com, January 2017

House Freedom Caucus Takes Aim at Financial Regulations

Abstract: A Freedom Caucus report targets for repeal a diverse set of regulations finalized or proposed during the Obama Administration, including several that are important to the financial services industry. These include the fiduciary rule for investment advisers, the proposed arbitration rule for consumer financial institutions, and rules setting recovery plan guidelines for OCC-regulated banks.

Source: Covfinancialservices.com, December 2016

The Legacy of DOL's Champion for Employee Benefits

Abstract: Phyllis Borzi has one month to go in office as assistant secretary for the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration, but stacks of files are still heaped on her desk and on the floor.

Source: Bna.com (registration may be required), December 2016

New ERISA Safe Harbor for Municipally Sponsored Private-Sector IRA Plans

Abstract: The DOL announced a final rule to assist large cities and other political subdivisions that establish payroll deduction individual retirement account savings programs for workers who do not have access to workplace savings arrangements. The rule amends a similar rule related to state savings initiatives published earlier in 2016.

Source: Dol.gov, December 2016

Fact Sheet: City or County Savings Programs for Non-Governmental Employees

Abstract: The DOL has published a regulatory safe harbor that describes how certain political subdivisions, such as large cities and counties, may design and operate payroll deduction savings programs, using automatic enrollment, for private-sector employees without causing the cities or counties or the private-sector employers to establish employee pension benefit plans under ERISA. This is a 3-page "fact sheet."

Source: Dol.gov, December 2016

Andy Puzder Picked to Lead the DOL

Abstract: President-elect Donald Trump has formally named Andy Puzder as his choice to be the next Secretary of Labor. When viewed in context, Puzder's positions on various DOL developments paint a nuanced picture of how he would lead the agency in the coming years.

Source: Littler.com, December 2016

Retirement Bill Reportedly on 2016 Senate Calendar

Abstract: The Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) of 2016 is reported to have been put on the Senate calendar for the limited period of time Congress has remaining in its 2016 schedule.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2016

Legislation, DOL Rule Could Boost Multiple Employer Plans

Abstract: Multiple employer plans occupy a largely ignored area of the defined contribution market, but a confluence of factors is likely, in the near future, to make such retirement plans more popular for plan advisers serving small-market clients.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), November 2016

Possible Implications for Some HR Laws and Regulations of a President Trump

Abstract: A President Trump bolstered by majorities in both the House and Senate could be expected to make many legislative and regulatory changes that would impact HR, employers, and employees nationally. Here are some of the possible changes signaled during the 2016 campaign and in various white papers offered by Congressional staffers.

Source: Kushnerco.com, November 2016

A Trump Presidency: Potential Impact on Employee Benefits Law and Policy

Abstract: Expect major changes in employee benefits law and policy during the Trump presidency. Article explores several possible benefits-related developments that employers and plan sponsors should be ready for.

Source: Franczek.com, November 2016

Bill Could Add "PEP" to 401k Multiple Employer Plans

Abstract: Regulatory roadblocks that have stymied employers from partnering in a single multiple employer 401k plan could be lifted under a bill that just might have enough bipartisan support to become law: the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act.

Source: Shrm.org, November 2016

Senate Finance Committee Approves Bipartisan Pension Bills

Abstract: The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approve a package of retirement reforms -- compiled into a single bill called the "Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2016" (RESA) -- to improve the retirement system generally. RESA has the potential to significantly alter the retirement landscape in several ways. The key provisions of RESA are summarized briefly in this 5-page article.

Source: Groom.com, October 2016

Senate Committee Approves Bill to Ease Use of Annuities in 401k Plans

Abstract: The Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved legislation Wednesday that would make it easier for retirement plan sponsors to add annuities to their programs. The bill would provide safe harbor from lawsuits for plan sponsors that choose an annuity provider overseen by state regulators.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), September 2016

Bills Supporting Small Employer 401k Plans Move Through Congress

Abstract: Bills making it easier for small businesses to offer 401ks by cutting costs and red tape are advancing in the Senate and the House this week. They would ease the way for small employers to join together to take advantage of economies of scale in workplace 401ks, the so-called open multiple-employer plans (Open MEPs).

Source: Fa-mag.com, September 2016

'Small Business Employee Retirement Savings Act' Introduced in Senate

Abstract: Senators Richard Burr and Michael Bennet introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for small businesses to set up retirement programs for employees. The 'Small Business Employee Retirement Savings Act' increases the retirement plan start up tax credit to $5,000, incentivizes auto enrollment, and removes restrictions to increase employee participation in retirement plans.

Source: Senate.gov, September 2016

Discussion Draft of the Retirement Improvements and Savings Enhancements Act Released

Abstract: Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released a discussion draft of legislation titled the Retirement Improvements and Savings Enhancements (RISE) Act, which would help more working families and recent college graduates save for retirement, while cracking down on unfair strategies used by the privileged to rake in subsidies and dodge tax bills with so-called "mega Roth IRAs."

Source: Senate.gov, September 2016

DOL Announces Final Rule on State Payroll Deduction IRA Programs

Abstract: The DOL made public a final rule that assists states that create IRA programs for workers who do not have access to workplace savings arrangements. At the same time, in response to public comments, the department is making public a proposed rule that could facilitate a limited number of cities and other local governments doing the same.

Source: Dol.gov, August 2016

House Republicans Propose Tax and Retirement Policy Changes

Abstract: A Neuberger Berman analysis shows that House Republicans' tax and retirement policy proposals may suggest a push toward a universal savings account and a consolidation of current tax code retirement savings provisions.

Source: Planadviser.com, August 2016

Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Create Universal Retirement Plan

Abstract: U.S. Representative Joe Crowley of New York introduced the Secure, Accessible, Valuable, Efficient Universal Pension Accounts (SAVE UPs) Act. The new legislation would universalize retirement savings accounts so every American worker would have an opportunity to generate tax-advantaged assets.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2016

Proposed Tax Reforms Would Affect Retirement, Education

Abstract: Serious tax reform efforts are not expected before the next presidential administration takes office, but a recent legislative proposal does contain some changes to retirement saving incentives, changes considered necessary by its authors in order to offset tax revenue lost in the tax rate reduction process. This article notes some findings from a preliminary examination of this proposed tax reform document.

Source: Ascensus.com, June 2016

Legislation to Call for Federal Mandate on Retirement Savings, Matches

Abstract: Look for a bill to be introduced in Congress next month that some have called "auto-IRA on steroids." It's not a new proposal, but it would, at a federal level, mandate that employers with 10 or more employees to open individualized retirement accounts for every employee, if they do not already offer a retirement plan.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2016

A Federal Lost and Found for Retirement Accounts?

Abstract: U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Steve Daines have teamed up to introduce legislation that would create a federal lost and found designed to help stem leakage from retirement accounts. According to its sponsors, the bill uses the data employers are already required to report to create a national online lost and found for Americans' retirement accounts.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2016

DOL Fiduciary Rule Stands as Veto Override Falls Short

Abstract: House Republicans have failed -- by a wide margin -- to overturn President Barack Obama's earlier veto of legislation to block enforcement of final U.S. Labor Department pension plan fiduciary rules.

Source: Businessinsurance.com, June 2016

The Obama Administration Signals an Open Mind About Open MEPs

Abstract: Some in the industry wonder if the Labor Department's late 2015 guidance on state-run retirement plans, which gave the okay for states to use the MEP approach, indicates that its opposition to private sector open MEPs could change. And President Obama's 2017 Budget indicated support for Congress to develop a legislative solution that would open up multiple-employer defined contribution plans to any unrelated employer.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2016

Obama Vetoes Congress' Disapproval of Fiduciary Regulation

Abstract: President Obama has vetoed Congress' resolution that would have nullified the Labor Department's fiduciary regulation.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2016

Senate's Tax Reform Hearing Touches Retirement Incentives

Abstract: The tax incentives currently extended to workplace retirement plans are a potential casualty of a tax reform proposal that was the subject of a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2016

House Passes Resolution Protecting Access to Affordable Retirement Advice

Abstract: The U.S. House passed H. J. Res. 88, a resolution that will block the Department of Labor's "Definition of the Term 'Fiduciary' and Conflict of Interest Rule."

Source: House.gov, April 2016

Maryland's State-Run IRA Bill Heads for Governor's Signature

Abstract: With time running out on its 2016 legislative session, the Maryland House has passed the state's auto-IRA bill by a veto-proof majority. That, coupled with the unanimous vote in support by the Old Line State's Senate earlier in the week, makes it almost a foregone conclusion that Gov. Larry Hogan will not bother vetoing the legislation, which would establish the Maryland Small Business Retirement Savings Program.

Source: Napa-net.org, April 2016

Senator Jeff Merkley Champions a Cheaper 401k Alternative

Abstract: Where others before him have failed, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon is championing a new savings vehicle to boost retirement security for the American workforce. He joins a coterie of policymakers and think tank denizens who are concerned about the 68 million full- and part-time workers without access to an employer-sponsored pension. But, Merkley can expect fierce opposition from mutual fund industry lobbyists.

Source: Institutionalinvestor.com, April 2016

Floodgates: States in Overdrive on Retirement Legislation

Abstract: Since January, new state retirement plan bills have poured into state legislatures around the country. Obviously not every piece of legislation succeeds, but bills that die in one session often re-emerge later if there's enough political appetite.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, March 2016

Senate Bill Aims to Amend ERISA

Abstract: Senator Johnny Isakson has introduced legislation designed to foil the fiduciary rule and amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2016

Congress Poised for Its Last Stand Against DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: The final DOL rule, which would require financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in 401k and individual retirement accounts, is expected to be released publicly in March or April. The ensuing legislative battle likely will be waged on two fronts: with legislation and, separately, a resolution to kill the rule.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), March 2016

Obama Administration Budget Proposals Would Again Impact Retirement and Health Benefits

Abstract: This year's Obama Administration budget package includes numerous proposals affecting retirement, health, and welfare plans. Many are consistent with the administration's proposals from prior years, but the 2017 package also includes several new items of significance.

Source: Groom.com, February 2016

Bill Introduced for New Type of Retirement Plan

Abstract: Sen. Jeff Merkley has introduced the American Savings Account Act of 2016, which is legislation that would create for certain private sector workers a portable retirement savings arrangement to be known as the "American Savings Account."

Source: Ascensus.com, February 2016

2017 White House Budget Includes Open MEP Expansion

Abstract: The Obama administration intends to extend workplace access to a retirement savings opportunity to more than 30 million Americans. One of the primary initiatives is that the administration will be looking to work with Congress on broadening multiple employer plans (MEPs).

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2016

Obama Seeks to Expand 401k Use by Letting Employers Pool Plans

Abstract: President Barack Obama will propose in his 2017 budget to let small employers more easily pool their 401ks using multiple employer plans, in an effort to encourage them to offer the retirement accounts as fewer U.S. workers enjoy pensions.

Source: Bloomberg.com, January 2016

N.J. Employers Could Be Forced to Provide Retirement Accounts

Abstract: The New Jersey Senate budget committee has approved a bill creating a retirement program for private-sector workers that are not offered employer-sponsored plans. The "New Jersey Secure Choice Savings Program Act" would require employers with 25 or more employees that do not sponsor their own retirement plans to automatically enroll employees into a state-run program.

Source: Planadviser.com, January 2016

How Small Businesses Can Help Close the Retirement Gap

Abstract: Is there at least a partial solution for the United States' retirement gap? Policy changes to ease the formation of so-called multiple employer plans might be the rare bipartisan idea that, even given the current dysfunction in Washington, DC, could come to fruition.

Source: Morningstar.com, January 2016

New Law Expands Allowable Rollovers to SIMPLE Plans

Abstract: The Consolidated Appropriations Act that became law on December 18 allows a participant in a qualified retirement plan, 403(b) plan or 457 plan to roll over their distribution from that plan to a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) retirement account, according to various law firms' client alerts.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2015

Congressional Action on Proposed DOL Fiduciary Rule Postponed to 2016

Abstract: As the DOL considers comments on its proposed changes to the definition of fiduciary under ERISA, an open question has been whether Congress would take action to delay or block the rule. Although several possible approaches were actively discussed, Congress ultimately did not pass any legislation in 2015. But these approaches remain open for 2016.

Source: Morganlewis.com, December 2015

Lawmakers Throw Hail Mary to Thwart DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Bipartisan lawmakers introduced bills Friday that would stop a Labor Department proposal to strengthen investment advice rules for retirement accounts and replace it with a standard written by the legislators.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), December 2015

Congress Fails in Effort to Slow Fiduciary Rule Process

Abstract: Congress reached an agreement on a budget deal that did not include riders that would have changed the process of the Department of Labor’s proposal to change the definition of fiduciary advice under. There are rumors that the DOL's final rule will be issued as early as January 2016.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2015

Universal Savings Accounts (USAs) Introduced

Abstract: Senator Jeff Flake and Representative David Brat are introducing companion Senate-House bills to create Universal Savings Accounts. The accounts are like supercharged Roth IRAs.

Source: Cato.org, November 2015

Closer Look at State-Run Retirement Systems for Private Sector

Abstract: Four states have passed laws paving the way to offer state-run retirement plans, and 18 additional states are considering such a measure. And to encourage these plans, the Department of Labor issued its much-anticipated guidance on state-run programs. But industry insiders are divided on whether this is a good idea.

Source: Planadviser.com, November 2015

DOL Releases Guidance to Facilitate State-based Retirement Initiatives

Abstract: DOL Interpretive Bulletin 2015-02 is designed to facilitate and enable the various state initiatives to increase coverage in the private sector retirement system. Most importantly, it clarifies the extent to which ERISA applies to these various types of initiatives. This three-page article is an overview of the guidance.

Source: Groom.com, November 2015

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015: Items of Interest for Plan Sponsors

Abstract: Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 has been approved. There are a number of provisions that will be of interest to plan sponsors.

Source: Sibson.com, October 2015

House Passes Bill to Delay Fiduciary Rules at SEC, DOL

Abstract: The U.S. House of Representatives passed a controversial bill on Tuesday that would delay two government regulators from adopting rules requiring stock brokers and retirement account financial advisers to put their customers' interests ahead of their own.

Source: Reuters.com, October 2015

House Committee Passes Bill That Would Delay Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: Even if the bill makes it to the floor of the full House, American Retirement Association Director of Congressional Affairs Andrew Remo does not think much of its prospects, remarking, "President Obama's forceful support of the fiduciary rule in February has muted House Democratic support for the Wagner bill, ensuring its defeat in this Congress."

Source: Ntsa-net.org, October 2015

Bill Introduced to Bolster Women's Retirement Security

Abstract: The legislation is intended to address what some have identified as a gap between the retirement preparedness of women compared to their male counterparts.

Source: Ascensus.com, October 2015

Federal Action Could Help State Efforts to Expand Private Sector Retirement Plan Coverage

Abstract: GAO suggests that Congress consider providing states limited flexibility regarding ERISA preemption to expand private sector coverage. Agency actions should also be taken to address uncertainty created by existing regulations. Agencies generally agreed with GAO's recommendation.

Source: Gao.gov, September 2015

DOL Ready to Help States with Plans, ERISA or No ERISA

Abstract: The DOL stands ready to assist state governments when they work to establish public retirement plans for private-sector workers, regardless of whether those plans are covered by ERISA, according to EBSA chief Phyllis Borzi.

Source: Asppa.org, August 2015

Clearing a Path for State-Based Retirement Plans

Abstract: President Obama announced today that he has directed the Labor Department to issue a rule that would clarify the path forward for state-based retirement savings initiatives, including with respect to requirements to automatically enroll employees and for employers to offer coverage, for workers who don't currently have access to a 401k at work.

Source: Dol.gov, July 2015

Tiered Penalties Increase for Plan Distribution Reporting Failures

Abstract: President Barack Obama has signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act (H.R. 1295), which includes, among other things, an increase in the tiered penalty fees that apply to certain retirement distribution reporting failures.

Source: Ascensus.com, July 2015

Is Your State Getting Into the Retirement Business?

Abstract: At least 15 other states have also considered legislation that would create some kind of state-sponsored retirement plan for private sector employees to close the retirement savings gap.

Source: Nbcnews.com, June 2015

Bill Introduced to Modernize Retirement Information Communications

Abstract: Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation that would modernize the way employers communicate important retirement information by automatically opting participants into electronic delivery of documents.

Source: House.gov, June 2015

Bipartisan Legislation Supports Lifetime Income Disclosures

Abstract: Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate this week introduced legislation that would mandate lifetime income demonstrations and other disclosures in defined contribution retirement plans.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2015

Lawmaker Wants to Mandate Retirement Plans, Employer Contributions

Abstract: A new legislative proposal wouldn't just require employers to offer a retirement plan, it would mandate employer contributions too. The proposal, unveiled by Rep. Joe Crowley, would direct employers with 10 or more employees to open individualized retirement accounts for every employee, if they do not already offer a retirement plan.

Source: Asppa.org, April 2015

Wall Street Seeks Wedge in Fight Against 401k Rules

Abstract: There's a gap between the White House and Wall Street's main regulator over a push to tighten broker rules. To the investment industry, it's an opening to exploit.

Source: Benefitspro.com, March 2015

Bill Would Require DOL to Defer Release of Fiduciary Definition

Abstract: Rep. Ann Wagner has introduced the Retail Investors Protection Act which would require the DOL to defer release of new fiduciary regulations until the SEC issues fiduciary regulations first.

Source: Ascensus.com, March 2015

Maryland Assembly Contemplates Retirement Plan Mandate

Abstract: Legislation that would require Maryland employers to adopt payroll deduction savings plans for their employees got a full bicameral at a Feb. 25 hearing in the Maryland General Assembly.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, March 2015

Washington State Bill Would Create Retirement Plan Product Clearinghouse

Abstract: Add Washington to the list of states that are considering legislation affecting the marketplace for private retirement plan products. Washington State Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) has introduced a bill to create a "small business retirement plan marketplac" with the goal of "removing barriers to entry into the retirement market for small businesses."

Source: Ntsa-net.org, March 2015

Senate Committee Wants Details on Fiduciary Proposal

Abstract: If the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs has its way, the Department of Labor has some explaining to do on its fiduciary regulation reproposal.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2015

GAO Issues 401k Cash-Out Report

Abstract: The GAO report is generally critical of the current procedures for "forced" 401k plan rollovers, generally transfers of balances of $5,000 or less to an IRA without the participant's consent. This article reviews the report and the GAO's recommendations.

Source: Octoberthree.com, February 2015

2015 Retirement Policy Outlook

Abstract: This article reviews key retirement benefits issues that policymakers will focus on in 2015 including a review of the changes in key Congressional policymaker positions, DOL proposals, IRS initiatives, and actions of the courts.

Source: Octoberthree.com, February 2015

Impact of 2016 Budget Proposal on Retirement Plans

Abstract: President Obama released his fiscal year 2016 federal budget. As expected, the budget includes many retirement-related proposals. Prepared by the Plan Sponsor Council of America, this is a summary of the budget proposals that may impact your plan, if they are passed as presented in the budget.

Source: Psca.org, February 2015

Florida Legislature Considers Exempting Participant Loans From State's Stamp Tax

Abstract: Members of the Florida legislature recently proposed a change to the state's stamp tax law that would specifically exclude its application to participant loans from ERISA-covered retirement plans ("participant loans").

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.blogspot.com, February 2015

President's Tax Reform Proposal Includes Auto-IRA Requirement

Abstract: In one of several initiatives announced by the White House prior to the annual State of the Union address, President Obama has unveiled several tax reform proposals affecting retirement plans, including a measure that would require most employers that don't otherwise provide a retirement plan for workers to auto-enroll employees in an IRA.

Source: Wolterskluwerlb.com, January 2015

Senators Introduce Retirement Security Act Focused on Small Business

Abstract: Sens. Susan Collins and Bill Nelson introduced the Retirement Security Act of 2015 (S. 266) which allows more small businesses to join multiple employer plans, includes measures to encourage and expand auto enrollment and also expand tax incentives for small businesses.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, January 2015

The White House Puts Its Best Obamacare Minds Behind Cleaning Up the 401k Business

Abstract: It took forever to come but The White House has endorsed a very intense fiduciary standard with a withering attack on the way financial advice is currently applied to the savings of retirees.

Source: Riabiz.com, January 2015

Will There Be SAFE Passage for a Grab-Bag of ERISA Changes?

Abstract: In 2013, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch introduced the Secure Annuities for Employee Retirement Act of 2013, or the SAFE Act. Sen. Hatch indicated that the Act will be re-proposed. Flying more under the radar were the provisions in Title II of the SAFE Act, which include a fairly extensive grab-bag of miscellaneous changes. It turns out that, while several of the proposed changes are highly technical in nature, some of them are significantly substantive. The Title II provisions are generally less politically charged, and in a number of cases may not be overly controversial.

Source: Dechert.com, January 2015

White House Memo Offers a Peek at DOL Fiduciary Strategy

Abstract: The White House believes that many retirement plan participants aren't adequately protected from advisors with conflicts of interest. That's why President Barack Obama's chief economic advisor supports the DOL's effort to amend the definition of fiduciary in retirement plans.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, January 2015

White House Takes Aim at Fiduciary Duty

Abstract: One of President Barack Obama's top economic advisers said abusive trading practices are costing workers billions of dollars in retirement savings each year and called for stricter rules on Wall Street brokers.

Source: Investmentnews.com (free registration may be required), January 2015

Bracing for Battle Over Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: If the Department of Labor releases a conflict of interest rule that is an echo of its original proposed expansion of the fiduciary standard, it will be met with "swift and strong legislative action." That was the prediction from Lee Covington, VP and general counsel for the Insured Retirement Institute, based on his reading of lawmakers' views in recent weeks.

Source: Benefitspro.com, January 2015

President Obama Proposes Retirement Savings Changes

Abstract: President Obama has released a fact sheet outlining several proposals for reform of retirement savings options for American workers.

Source: Ascensus.com, January 2015

White House Unveils Sweeping Retirement Proposals

Abstract: According to a White House fact sheet, the administration is touting a series of retirement tax reform proposals that they claim would give 30 million additional workers access to a workplace savings opportunity.

Source: Napa-net.org, January 2015

Oregon Task Force Recommends Creation of Retirement Plan

Abstract: The Retirement Savings Task Force in Oregon has recommended to the Oregon legislature that a retirement security program be created to address the lack of plan access or lack of savings for private-sector workers in the state.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2015

What Should We Make of Illinois' New Retirement Savings Plan?

Abstract: The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act was signed into law, to be effective June 1 and fully implemented by 2017. This is the first such piece of legislation to get across the finish line. Article examines at this piece of legislation from four different perspectives.

Source: Russell.com, January 2015

GAO Finds Fault With Forced Transfers of 401k's to IRAs

Abstract: The U.S. Government Accountability Office found that due to high account fees and low-yielding investments, account balances in most forced-transfer IRAs tended to decrease over time until all value dwindled away.

Source: Shrm.org, January 2015

Mandatory Retirement Plans in Illinois

Abstract: Illinois has become the first state to require that private-sector employers offer their employees retirement benefits. Is Illinois the precursor to mandatory retirement savings programs across the country the way that Massachusetts was for mandatory health care?

Source: Ogletreedeakins.com, January 2015

Trends, Legislation, Regulations and Litigation Will Continue to Affect the Retirement Industry in 2015

Abstract: The retirement plan industry is an ever-evolving landscape, shaped each year by growing and emerging trends, as well as prior and new legal initiatives. He is a good summary of what to watch for in 2015.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2014

Summary of Leading Proposals to Expand Retirement Plan Coverage

Abstract: This 15 page chart was prepared by the firm Davis and Harman, LLC. It lists the proposal and then information columns for: Mandatory or Voluntary, Description, Employers Affected, Contribution Structure, Investment of Contributions, and Tax Treatment.

Source: Americanbenefitscouncil.org, December 2014

Washington Tweaks Retirement Fund Policy to Encourage Annuities

Abstract: The U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday it was tweaking its policy for retirement funds to encourage savers to buy annuities, a measure aimed to keep them from outliving their savings. The DOL and the Internal Revenue Service will let retirement funds offer long-term deferred annuities as a default investment in 401k retirement accounts.

Source: Reuters.com, October 2014

Companies With Stock Funds in 401k Plan Should Review Compliance in Light of Recent SEC Enforcement Actions

Abstract: Most public companies offer a company stock fund investment option under their 401k plans and non-qualified excess 401k plans. On September 10, the SEC announced enforcement actions against 34 companies and insiders (directors, officers, and 10% owners) for failing to file timely reports for stock transactions. The enforcement actions came without warning, after more than a decade of little or no SEC enforcement in this area.

Source: Winston.com, September 2014

GOP Public Pension Reform Gets a Surprise Boost

Abstract: Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the Secure Annuities for Employee (SAFE) Retirement Act (S. 1270) last year to reform the public and private pension systems and, amid recent retirement reform hearings on Capitol Hill, his public pension reform idea is now getting noteworthy support from an otherwise unlikely place.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, September 2014

Auto-IRA Architects Size Up Landscape

Abstract: Three key players in the formulation and design of the auto-IRA concept came together at a Sept. 17th policy forum in Washington, DC, to offer perspective and an assessment of the road ahead.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2014

American Retirement Policy Shifts to Tax Incentives

Abstract: Despite great strides in retirement security, some lawmakers and benefit leaders see an opportunity to revisit tax policies that could help incentivize all Americans to save more as they plan their exits from the workforce. In turn, many in the employee retirement world fear that any politically motivated efforts to modify or eliminate tax advantages for worksite-sponsored retirement savings plans could seriously impair the success of the existing system.

Source: Benefitnews.com, September 2014

Oregon Task Force Recommends Creation of State-Sponsored Retirement Plan

Abstract: Oregon's Retirement Security Task Force issued a report that recommends a structure for a state-sponsored retirement plan.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, September 2014

Retirement Reform Bills Seek More 'Open' Plans

Abstract: Retirement reform bills in Congress loosen restrictions around multiple-employer benefit plans, making it easier for employers to transfer many of the fiduciary responsibilities and liabilities associated with such plans.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, September 2014

Oregon Looks to Establish State-Run Retirement Plan for Private Sector Workers

Abstract: Oregon's Retirement Savings Task Force is calling on the state to create a retirement fund that would be available to all employed state residents that will follow Oregonians as they transition between jobs.

Source: Benefitnews.com, August 2014

GAO to Look at TDFs, Other QDIAs

Abstract: Following up on its calls for stricter oversight of managed account providers to 401k plans, the Government Accountability Office is undertaking a review of qualified default investment alternatives in 401k plans.

Source: Benefitspro.com, August 2014

How State Auto-IRA Legislation May Affect Employers

Abstract: Several states are considering adopting legislation that would require private employers that do not provide a retirement plan for their employees to adopt some sort of retirement program, typically, an "auto-IRA." This article reviews three such initiatives, focusing mainly on issues that directly affect employers.

Source: Octoberthree.com, July 2014

How Tax Reform for Retirement Plans Can Affect Risk and Compliance

Abstract: It is likely that tax reform will influence the retirement benefits industry in ways large and small just as much as direct attempts at systemic transformation. In this article we will examine both types of change. Any such proposals must balance the goals of increasing revenue and limiting expenditures with maintaining a retirement benefits system that provides effective incentives to save for retirement without undue administrative complexity.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, June 2014

Congress Urged to Force Notice on 401k Plan Changes

Abstract: Massachusetts' chief securities regulator called on Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor to force companies to disclose any changes to the timing of 401k plan contributions to workers.

Source: Benefitspro.com, June 2014

Center for American Progress on Fee Disclosure

Abstract: On April 11, 2014 the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report "Fixing the Drain on Retirement Savings -- How Retirement Fees Are Straining the Middle Class and What We Can Do about Them." The report is important for a couple of reasons. First, CAP is a fairly important voice in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. And second, the policy proposals in this report are innovative and may get traction with some policymakers.

Source: Octoberthree.com, June 2014

U.S. Senator Rubio Unveils Proposal to Reform Retirement Policy

Abstract: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a likely Republican candidate for the White House, on Tuesday unveiled plans to give more Americans a way to save for retirement while raising the retirement age for younger workers.

Source: Reuters.com, May 2014

'Bipartisan Policy Center' Launches New Retirement Savings Initiative

Abstract: As fewer Americans accumulate sufficient savings and the solvency of Social Security is threatened, how Americans adequately prepare for retirement has become a critical question. To address this long-term challenge, the Bipartisan Policy Center announced the launch of a new Personal Savings Initiative.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, April 2014

President Obama's 2015 Budget Proposes Changes to Employer Benefits

Abstract: President Obama's budget proposal for fiscal 2015 includes items from the State of the Union address, such as the new myRA retirement savings accounts and a minimum wage hike. The budget also includes proposals from earlier budgets, including limits on savings and benefits in tax-preferred retirement plans, a cap on tax preferences for employer-provided health and retirement benefits, and calls for higher Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums.

Source: Towerswatson.com, April 2014

Industry Group Defends Retirement Tax Incentives

Abstract: The Coalition to Preserve Retirement sent an open letter to Representative David Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, expressing the hope that as tax reform discussions continue, Congress will consider the success of the current retirement tax structure as it weighs comprehensive tax reform legislation, but also pushing back on certain tax reforms floated by the lawmaker.

Source: Plansponsor.com, April 2014

Obama Budget Includes MyRAs, Auto IRAs, Would Limit Retirement Savings Tax Breaks

Abstract: President Barack Obama's proposed $3.9 trillion fiscal year 2015 budget includes requirements that employers offer individual retirement accounts and provisions that would reduce tax benefits on certain retirement accounts for high-income earners. The tax provisions, part of the budget plan released March 4, would cap how much Americans could accumulate in tax-preferred retirement savings, putting a ceiling of about $200,000 on the annual retirement income that could be generated by such savings.

Source: Bna.com, March 2014

Senator Harkin's USA Retirement Funds Proposal

Abstract: On January 30, 2014 Senator Harkin (D-IA) introduced the USA Retirement Funds Act. The bill includes Senator Harkin's USA Retirement Funds proposal and a variety of other proposals. This article focuses on two of the major parts of the Act: the USA Retirement Funds proposal itself and provisions on hybrid plans. It also summarize briefly other provisions of the Act.

Source: Octoberthree.com, March 2014

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