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COLLECTED WISDOM™ on Legislative and Washington DC Actions Impacting Retirement Plans

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

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New Bill Wants Alternative Investments in 401ks

On Thursday, Senators Pat Toomey, Tim Scott, and Rep. Peter Meijer introduced the Retirement Savings Modernization Act. The act purports to "bolster Americans' retirement savings by allowing workers in defined contribution plans, like 401ks, to better diversify their portfolios and invest in higher returning asset classes."

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, September 2022

Senate Finance Leaders Formally Introduce EARN Act

We now have legislative language for the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act and a quick review finds a change from the concept draft regarding catch-up contributions. With legislative language now in hand, it appears the Finance Committee leaders have placed an income floor to the revenue-raising provision concerning catch-up contributions being treated as Roth contributions.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2022

Top 401k Priorities on the DOL's Regulatory Agenda

On June 21, 2022, the DOL published its Spring 2022 Regulatory Agenda which lists all the regulations the DOL expects to have under active consideration, including 401k reform items. You should check them out to understand the DOL's 401k-related priorities for the next 12 months. Here are the three 401k-related priorities that the author is most excited about.

Source: Employeefiduciary.com, September 2022

Feds Poised to Implement Four Policy Changes Affecting ERISA Plans Before End of 2022

The Biden administration plans to introduce various rules before the end of 2022 that will impact ERISA-regulated benefits plans. Meanwhile, Congress is working to smooth out differences between the Senate and House on a broad retirement policy omnibus bill. Here is a review.

Source: Hallbenefitslaw.com, September 2022

Retirement Protection Act Proposed in House

Representatives David Schwikert and Byron Donalds have introduced H.R. 8579, the Retirement Protection Act. The bill proposes modification of the saver's credit by replacing the three-tier formula with a single 50 percent credit percentage on contributions up to $2,000, with phase outs beginning at certain AGI thresholds.

Source: Futureplan.com, August 2022

Senate Bill Would Curb ESG Investing in Retirement Plans

The Maximize Americans' Retirement Security Act (S. 4613), legislation introduced July 26 by Sen. Mike Braun, would clarify that the fiduciary duty of plan administrators is to select and maintain investments based solely on "pecuniary" financial factors. Joining Braun as cosponsors are Sens. Richard Burr, Tommy Tuberville, Cynthia Lummis, Roger Marshall, Roger Wicker, Steve Daines, and James Inhofe.

Source: Napa-net.org, August 2022

Keeping Up With the Securing a Strong Retirement Act

Because different provisions are included in the House and Senate versions of the ambitious retirement reform legislation, a reconciliation process is likely in store.

Source: Planadviser.com, August 2022

Summary of Provisions in the Securing a Strong Retirement Act

Staff on both sides of the Capitol are now working to negotiate a unified, bicameral version of retirement legislation that could potentially be included in a must-pass spending bill later this year. This chart compares the House and Senate bills and identifies differences among the bills.

Source: Groom.com, August 2022

SECURE 2.0 Retirement Reform: Focus on DC Plan Provisions

SECURE 2.0, shorthand for three bills that would have significant implications for retirement plans, continues to work its slow but steady path through Congress. It now appears that SECURE 2.0 will be enacted late this year. Plan sponsors should be aware of the many changes included in this pending legislation. This article addresses the most significant provisions that would affect midsize and large DC plans.

Source: Segalco.com, July 2022

DOL Announces Proposed Changes to 401k Asset Management PTE

The DOL has proposed an amendment to an almost 40-year-old prohibited transaction exemption that allows major financial firms to manage retirement assets. The changes relate to misconduct and convictions involving financial institutions and money managers, as well as their employees and subsidiaries. The proposed amendment, known as the Qualified Professional Asset Manager (QPAM) Exemption, will "ensure the exemption continues to protect plans, participants and beneficiaries, individual retirement account owners and their interests," according to the department.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, July 2022

Temporary Waiver of RMDs Proposed in House

Representative Warren Davidson has introduced HR 8331, a bill that would provide for a suspension of required minimum distributions from retirement plans and IRAs for the 2022 calendar year.

Source: Futureplan.com, July 2022

Hopes Are High for Lame-Duck Passage of SECURE 2.0

One retirement industry policy expert says the conversations she is having on Capitol Hill make her optimistic that the ambitious retirement reform package could pass after the November elections.

Source: Plansponsor.com, July 2022

Financial Privacy Bill Could Affect Providers

A key House Republican has released a discussion draft of financial data privacy legislation that could impact how retirement plan providers and administrators collect and share consumers' personal information. If enacted, it could have any number of implications for the retirement industry, including in relation to the sharing of data with third parties, administering financial wellness programs, or being sued for unauthorized access or sharing of information to name a few.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2022

DOL, Recordkeeper Square Off in Confidentiality Disputes

The DOL's cybersecurity investigation into Alight Solutions, a retirement plan recordkeeper, has queued up court rulings on the reach of the DOL's subpoena power that may have important implications for ERISA plan sponsors and their respective recordkeepers and service providers moving forward.

Source: Erisalitigationadvisor.com, June 2022

Senate Finance Committee Advances EARN Act

The committee's unanimous passage of the EARN Act represents another step forward for an ambitious package of retirement planning reforms making their way through the legislative process.

Source: Planadviser.com, June 2022

SECURE 2.0 Momentum Surges With EARN Act's Unanimous Committee Approval Today

Comprehensive retirement reform legislation taking shape on Capitol Hill with strong bipartisan support making it likely a final bill will reach President Biden's desk by the end of the year.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, June 2022

RISE and SHINE: The Senate's Initial Response to House-Passed SECURE 2.0

On March 29, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022. SECURE 2.0 is a comprehensive bill designed to increase access to retirement savings and includes a variety of provisions that would affect employer-provided retirement plans. On June 14, 2022, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee unanimously approved its version of SECURE 2.0, the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement to Supplement Health Investments for the Nest Egg Act.

Source: Benefitslawadvisor.com, June 2022

Starter 401k Bill Introduced in the U.S. House

Bipartisan legislation that would make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans and that has the backing of the American Retirement Association has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Reps. Linda Sanchez and Darin LaHood -- both of whom are members of the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee -- introduced the Starter-K Act on June 16.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2022

Bipartisan Bill Backs Auto-Portability

Bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate on June 15 seeks to stem retirement plan leakage, backing auto-portability and a tax credit for adopting employers.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2022

Yellen Weighs in on Crypto and 401ks

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has weighed in on the notion of including cryptocurrency in retirement plans. Bloomberg Law reports that, in response to a question about Fidelity's April 26 announcement that it would provide a crypto option on its retirement plan platform, Yellen responded: "It's not something that I would recommend to most people who are saving for their retirement. To me it's a very risky investment."

Source: Asppa.org, June 2022

Senate HELP Committee Approves RISE & SHINE Act

Legislation that builds off the House-passed SECURE Act 2.0 bill and includes provisions advanced by the American Retirement Association has taken an important step in the Senate. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the legislation by a unanimous voice vote on June 14.

Source: Asppa.org, June 2022

SECURE 2.0 Surprise: The ROTH Catch-Up Contribution and ROTH Employer Match Proposal

SECURE 2.0 would reclassify all catch-up contributions as Roth-only in 2024, increase catch-up contributions to $10,000 only for ages 62 to 64, optionally treat employer matching contributions as Roth contributions, and offer a new safe harbor correction for auto-enrollment plans' unintentional administrative flaws.

Source: Milliman.com, June 2022

Senate HELP to Kick Off SECURE 2.0 Push

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is set to move forward on legislation intended to build off the House-passed SECURE Act 2.0. After formally introducing the "Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement to Supplement Healthy Investments for the Nest Egg" (RISE & SHINE) Act on June 7, the committee announced that it will hold a markup on Tuesday, June 14 to consider the legislation.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2022

Arbitration of ERISA Claims Under the Microscope. Where are the Courts and Congress Headed?

Due to the lack of Supreme Court guidance on these issues, it is still not clear the extent to which particular arbitration provisions may apply to ERISA fiduciary breach claims. However, several Circuit Courts of Appeal have now weighed in and a bill called the Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act has been introduced in the House and Senate (H.R. 7740 and S. 4219) with the express purpose of making predispute and nonconsensual post-dispute arbitration clauses unenforceable. What is a plan sponsor favoring arbitration to do?

Source: Cohenbuckmann.com, June 2022

Legislation to Strengthen Retirement and Emergency Savings Introduced

The flurry of retirement and savings-related legislation continued Thursday with the release of a draft bill designed to "strengthen people's emergency savings and retirement security." Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Senator Patty Murray and Ranking Member Senator Richard Burr released the draft of the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement to Supplement Healthy Investments for the Nest Egg (RISE & SHINE) Act.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2022

New Retirement Bill Amending ERISA Introduced in Congress

Plan sponsors could be making more trips to court for retirement plan fiduciary breach claims instead of settling through arbitration, under a proposed bill. Representative Mark DeSaulnier and Senator Tina Smith have introduced the Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act, which seeks to prohibit arbitration of claims challenging the administration and fiduciary management of benefit plans regulated under the ERISA.

Source: Plansponsor.com, May 2022

Regulatory Monitor: Department of Labor Update

In this article, Groom Principal David Kaleda explains the significance and contents of the "Supplemental Statement on Private Equity in Defined Contribution Plan Designated Investment Alternatives" issued by the DOL in December, including the Department's position concerning such investment alternatives, and its emphasis on several important fiduciary principles discussed in the Information Letter.

Source: Groom.com, May 2022

Congress Considers Banning Discretionary Clauses in ERISA Plans

On May 12, 2022, the "Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act" was introduced in the House of Representatives by Mark DeSaulnier. Senator Tina Smith introduced a companion bill in the Senate. The bill seeks to ban arbitration and discretionary clauses in employer-sponsored benefit plans governed by the ERISA. The bill seek to prohibit benefit plans from requiring arbitration of claims challenging the administration and fiduciary management of the plan, thereby forcing plan disputes into the judicial system.

Source: Littler.com, May 2022

Here's How the Senate Could Change Your 401k plan

The US Senate has retirement on the brain, and it's not because the average age of the legislative body is 64. A group of new bills that could change the way Americans save for retirement have landed on lawmakers' desks this spring. The proposals have broad, bipartisan support and a clear path forward, say experts. If Senators can reconcile their ideas into a concise package, President Biden could sign the changes into law before Congress' August recess. Here's a look at the changes under consideration.

Source: Cnn.com, May 2022

Tuberville Introduces Crypto Bill, as Warren Grills Fidelity

The DOL's March warning about cryptocurrency, along with Fidelity's decision to move forward with a new "digital assets" capability for 401k plans, has set off a firestorm in Washington. One of the latest developments comes from Sen. Tommy Tuberville who has introduced legislation to address what he describes as preserving the ability of retirement savers to invest their 401k funds as they see fit, including investments in cryptocurrency. In the meantime, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith sent a letter to Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson in response to the firm's decision to allow Bitcoin investments for 401k plans, given the DOL's warning about allowing crypto investments in 401k plans.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2022

SEC Greenlights Climate Review of 401k Options

As You Sow, a group that describes itself as the nation's non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy, recently received backing from the SEC in its bid to include a proposal for a shareholder vote that, if approved, would require Amazon (and Comcast, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer) to "at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, prepare a report reviewing the Company's retirement plan options with the board's assessment of how the Company's current retirement plan options align with its climate action goals." As You Sow, a group that describes itself as the nation's non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy, recently received backing from the SEC in its bid to include a proposal for a shareholder vote that, if approved, would require Amazon (and Comcast, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer) to "at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, prepare a report reviewing the Company's retirement plan options with the board's assessment of how the Company's current retirement plan options align with its climate action goals." As You Sow, a group that describes itself as the nation's non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy, recently received backing from the SEC in its bid to include a proposal for a shareholder vote that, if approved, would require Amazon (and Comcast, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer) to "at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, prepare a report reviewing the Company's retirement plan options with the board's assessment of how the Company's current retirement plan options align with its climate action goals."

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2022

Retirement Plan Legislative Update: Act 2 - Scene 1: The SECURE Act

The SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019, and as you may have known, or as you will soon see, this was significant retirement plan legislation and provides the main portion of our play. The SECURE Act includes provisions that help employers and provisions that help participants. The Act is broken out into four titles, which we'll cover in two articles. The first title covers provisions that will expand and preserve retirement savings.

Source: Belfint.com, May 2022

SECURE 2.0 Could Mean Significant Changes to Retirement Savings Plans

On March 29, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (HR 2954), which would significantly change retirement plans to further promote retirement savings. The bill is now with the U.S. Senate, where modifications are expected.

Source: Buck.com, April 2022

Summary of House-Passed SECURE 2.0 Legislation

On March 29, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2954, the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021, by a vote of 414-5. The SSRA contains provisions from the version of the bill approved by the House Ways and Means Committee in May 2021 and from the Education and Labor Committee's RISE Act (H.R. 5891) approved in November 2021. This article contains Groom's summary of the legislation as passed by the chamber.

Source: Groom.com, April 2022

Retirement Plan Legislative Update: Act 1 -- Bipartisan Budget Act

The world has gone through many sudden and unpredictable changes in the last few years. The retirement plan industry has seen many changes, as well, which has had impactful legislation and guidance that changed the retirement landscape in many positive ways. With all these changes, it seems the world and retirement plan industry is part of a storied Shakespearian plan in which we are waiting to find out if it's a comedy or tragedy. Each bit of legislation and regulatory guidance seems to be an act of our play. The legislation and guidance have come at a quick pace, but this story starts in 2018, which is five years behind us already.

Source: Belfint.com, April 2022

Bipartisan Bill Would Allow Plan Asset Reimbursement for Plan Design Expenses

The Increasing Small Business Retirement Choices Act, introduced April 26 by Sens. Jacky Rosen and Tim Scott, would amend existing law to allow small business employers to use retirement plan funds to pay expenses associated with retirement plan design changes, lowering the cost of providing better plans to workers. Currently, employers that offer 401k retirement plans and want to consider a plan design change, such as auto-enrollment or auto-escalation, must pay upfront out-of-pocket administrative costs.

Source: Asppa.org, April 2022

House Committee Advances 401k Spousal Consent Bill

One week after the House passed SECURE 2.0, the House Education and Labor Committee advanced The Protecting America's Retirement Security Act (H.R. 7310) on Tuesday. It purports to strengthen the retirement system to protect workers' retirement savings and better support families and employers.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, April 2022

Broad "SECURE 2.0" Retirement Bill Gets Overwhelming House Approval

The wide-ranging bill contains provisions aimed at expanding plan coverage, boosting savings, increasing lifetime income options, and streamlining plan administration. Several revenue-raising proposals would direct more workplace savings into after-tax Roth accounts. In addition, the DOL would have to review its fiduciary guidance for defined benefit pension risk transfers. This article highlights key SECURE 2.0 provisions of interest to employers.

Source: Mercer.com, April 2022

SECURE 2.0: What Employers Need to Know

On March 29, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 ("SECURE 2.0", HR 2954). The vote was largely supported by both parties (414-5). The Senate will likely act on the bill later this spring. While it is expected that changes will be made in the Senate version, it is widely anticipated that the legislation will ultimately become law in some form. This article highlights a few provisions of the bill that may be of interest to employers.

Source: Benefitslawadvisor.com, April 2022

SECURE 2.0 Approved by House in 414-5 Vote

On March 29, 2022, the House of Representatives, by a nearly unanimous (414-5) vote, approved the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (SECURE 2.0). The Senate is currently working on its version of comprehensive bipartisan retirement policy reform. Some believe there is a possibility that some combination of SECURE 2.0 and whatever the Senate produces could pass in a post-election lame-duck session. This article reviews the bill, focusing on some key provisions.

Source: Octoberthree.com, April 2022

What You Should Know About the House's New 401k Legislation

Figuring that defined-contribution plans such as 401ks weren't nearly secure as they should be after the passage of the SECURE Act of 2019, Congress is taking another stab at it with the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 (H.R. 2954) or SECURE 2.0. The House passed the bill yesterday under something called suspension of the rules, which is usually reserved for uncontroversial legislation. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it will probably be amended.

Source: Businessmanagementdaily.com, April 2022

Protecting America's Retirement Security Act Introduced in House

Representative Lucy McBath and five other Democratic co-sponsors have introduced the Protecting America's Retirement Security Act in the House of Representatives. The bill proposes fee disclosure improvements, increasing spousal protections, and automatic re-enrollment for defined contributions plans.

Source: Ascensus.com, April 2022

Secure 2.0 - Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

The House of Representatives passed SECURE 2.0. The bill passed by a nearly unanimous margin of 414 to 5. It doesn't get much more bipartisan than that. Now, the Senate must pass it before it can go to the President for signature. Even though that may sound like a fast track, it might be a little early to count those chickens.

Source: Dwc401k.com, March 2022

Legislation Establishing Starter 401k Plans Introduced

A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate March 30 would make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans for their employees. The Starter-K Act of 2022 (S. 3955) was introduced by Sens. John Barrasso and Tom Carper, both of whom sit on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee. The bill would create starter retirement plans that streamline regulations and lower costs for small businesses and start-ups, resulting in more access to easy retirement savings.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2022

House Passes Retirement Reform Proposal

The House of Representatives has passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (SECURE 2.0) by a 414-5 vote. H.R. 2954 was first introduced by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady in October 2020, and subsequently amended by the Ways and Means Committee last year. The bill now includes provisions from the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement Act that came out of the House Education and Labor Committee last November. Several key provisions are highlighted here.

Source: Ascensus.com, March 2022

SECURE 2.0 Vote Will Take

A late-Friday afternoon news dump in the form of a memo from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the House would vote on popular and largely bipartisan retirement security legislation.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2022

Letter to the GAO on Stronger Spousal Protections in DC Plans

Letter from Senator Patty Murray and Senator Richard Burr to the U.S. Government Accountability Office asking them to examine the need for stronger spousal protections in defined contribution retirement plans. They state that people plan their futures around their retirement accounts, so no one should have these critical resources undermined by a spouse's decisions without their knowledge or consent.

Source: Senate.gov, March 2022

Enhancing Emergency and Retirement Savings Act Introduced in House

Representative Brad Wenstrup has introduced the Enhancing Emergency and Retirement Savings Act of 2022 to provide flexibility and access for those who experience unexpected emergencies. The bill is the House companion to S. 1870, introduced by Senator James Lankford and Senator Michael Bennet last year.

Source: Ascensus.com, March 2022

Further Retirement Policy Reforms Possible in 2022

As the director of policy at Principal Financial Group, Lance Schoening has spent a substantial portion of his professional life in Washington, D.C. During a recent interview with PLANSPONSOR, Schoening pointed to multiple pieces of legislation already on the table and suggested more proposals could come ahead of the midterm elections, all in time for passage during the lame-duck session at the end of the year.

Source: Plansponsor.com, March 2022

Retirement Savings Legislation Continues to Percolate on Capitol Hill

Among the provisions of a draft bill is one that would improve fee disclosures in defined contribution plans and another that would allow annuities as qualified investment default alternatives in plans.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), March 2022

Legislation Proposed to Promote Retirement Plan Lifetime Income Options

Legislation to promote retirement plan lifetime income options has been reintroduced by Representatives Donald Norcross and Tim Walberg. The Lifetime Income For Employees (LIFE) Act of 2022 would modify the qualified default investment arrangement rules under ERISA to allow annuity investments as part of a default in employer-provided 401k plans.

Source: Ascensus.com, February 2022

Legislation Backs Automatic Reenrollment

Sen. Tim Kaine and Rep. Kathy Manning have introduced legislation to increase workers' participation in employer-sponsored retirement plans by encouraging retirement plans to automatically reenroll workers in their plans. The Auto Reenroll Act of 2022 would also provide workers with the option to opt-out.

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2022

Bipartisan Bill Would Allow Annuities as Default Option

Key members of the House of Representatives have reintroduced legislation to allow retirement plan sponsors to provide annuities as a default option in their DC plans.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2022

Build Back Better Declared Dead; SECURE 2.0 Awaited

The nearly $2 trillion broad-based legislative package that includes mega Roth and other retirement-based revenue raisers does not appear to be moving anytime soon, but there is hope for bipartisan retirement legislation.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2022

What to Expect for Retirement Savings Plans in 2022

With a new year often comes new rules. Here's what the federal government has planned for retirement savings plans in 2022.

Source: Smartspublishing.com, January 2022

Is Biden's EBSA Nominee Doomed?

Despite advancing through the Senate committee process in early December, President Biden's nominee to lead the EBSA may be in jeopardy. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved the nomination of Lisa Gomez to serve as Assistant Secretary for EBSA at the Department of Labor on Dec. 2, on a near party-line vote of 12-10. But the full Senate has not acted on her nomination, and before adjourning the first session of the 117th Congress for the holiday break, Gomez was among several nominees whose nominations will not be allowed to carry over into the second session.

Source: Napa-net.org, December 2021

Latest Regulatory Agenda Offers Few Surprises for Retirement Plans

This article highlights some of the retirement plan items on the updated agendas for the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., but omits some routine items. While the agendas often specify anticipated completion dates within the next year, those dates are generally aspirational.

Source: Mercer.com, December 2021

House Introduces Retirement Reform Bill

The Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement (RISE) Act (H.R. 5891) has been introduced in the House. Most all the provisions in the bill are also contained within the SECURE Act 2.0. This article reviews the RISE Act changes.

Source: Hallbenefitslaw.com, December 2021

New Bill Would Allow Faster Access to Retirement Accounts After Disasters

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee have introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow survivors of natural disasters to withdraw funds from their retirement accounts for emergency expenses without fees or penalties.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2021

Bipartisan Disaster Retirement Savings Act Introduced

The bipartisan Disaster Retirement Savings Act, introduced by Reps. Mike Thompson and Mike Kelly, who both sit on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, would help survivors of natural disasters by allowing them to withdraw funds from retirement accounts to cover the unexpected and emergency costs related to disasters without incurring fees or penalties.

Source: Napa-net.org, December 2021

Nominee to Lead EBSA Advances in Senate

The nominee to lead the Employee Benefits Security Administration has moved one step closer to being confirmed. Lisa Gomez, who was nominated in July to serve as Assistant Secretary for EBSA at the Department of Labor, was approved Dec. 2 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on a near party-line vote of 12-10.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, December 2021

The 2022 Retirement Legislation Landscape Takes Shape

For much of 2021, the relative flurry of retirement plan-related legislative activity had experts feeling hopeful that much-needed progress was right around the corner. More recently, however, industry advocates' hopes for such retirement reforms being passed as part of the ongoing federal budget negotiations have mostly been dashed. Retirement reforms may have to wait for 2022.

Source: Planadviser.com, December 2021

DOL Continues Emphasis on Enforcement in 2021

The DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration issued its enforcement fact sheet showing that it recovered $1.9 billion from its investigations during the fiscal year ended September 30th, 2021, underscoring that enforcement remains an important priority for the agency. This is the third consecutive year that EBSA's recoveries from investigations totaled almost $2 billion and that total recoveries totaled almost $2.5 billion.

Source: Groom.com, December 2021

House-Passed Build Back Better Act's Retirement Provisions

The BBBA (H.R. 5376) passed the House on November 19, 2021. The bill has several revenue raisers that would have an impact on high-income individuals' DC and IRA accounts as well as all taxpayers' ability to make Roth conversions of after-tax contributions. This article discusses the ones that are most significant to the BBBA's retirement provisions.

Source: Segalco.com, November 2021

House Passes Build Back Better Act

On November 19, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), the budget reconciliation bill that includes much of President Biden's economic and social policy agenda, by a vote of 220 to 212, with all but one House Democrat voting for the bill and all House Republicans voting against it. The BBB Act also includes several health and welfare, retirement, and executive compensation provisions.

Source: Groom.com, November 2021

House Committee Advances Bill With Various Retirement Plan Provisions

The RISE Act would increase automatic cashout limits, enable employers to offer small financial incentives for retirement plan participation and simplify plan sponsor disclosure requirements, among other things.

Source: Planadviser.com, November 2021

Retirement Policy Provisions of the Build Back Better Act

The BBBA includes certain changes to the Internal Revenue Code's corporate tax structure, notably a new corporate alternative minimum tax which raises a question about the treatment of pension income. It also includes tighter rules concerning Roth conversions and individuals with large IRA and defined contribution plan accounts. this brief note reviews (1) certain key tax and benefits-related provisions that were dropped from the original (September 2021) proposal; (2) benefits-related provisions of that proposal that have been retained; and (3) the new corporate AMT proposal.

Source: Octoberthree.com, November 2021

RISE Act OKed by House Panel, Will Be Merged With SECURE 2.0

Bipartisan retirement security legislation that shares some overlap with the SECURE Act 2.0 has been approved by a key House committee. The House Education and Labor Committee on Nov. 10 approved the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement (RISE) Act of 2021 (H.R. 5891) by a unanimous voice vote.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2021

Committee Leaders Introduce Retirement Legislation in House

Leadership from the House Committee on Education and Labor and its Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions have introduced the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement (RISE) Act to expand worker access to a secure retirement.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2021

RISE Up: Retirement Reform Bill Introduced in House

The chairman and ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee have introduced -- and plan to act on -- bipartisan legislation that shares some overlap with SECURE Act 2.0. The Education and Labor Committee also announced that it plans to mark up the RISE Act on Wed., Nov. 10 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Source: Napa-net.org, November 2021

Retirement, Mega Roth Provisions Dropped From Reconciliation Bill

While most of the news coverage on what was originally cast as a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill has concentrated on a host of progressive initiatives, a number of key retirement related provisions were also under consideration, until last night. Those included a requirement that most employers (with more than 6 workers, operating for a couple of years) begin automatically enrolling their employees in IRAs or 401k-type plans, as well as those outlined here.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2021

ESG Would Get Massive Boost From DOL Proposed 401k Rule

A proposed rule issued Wednesday by the DOL bodes extremely well for ESG investment managers, especially because the regulator clarified that target-date funds and other default products that use the investment criteria are permissible in 401ks. But the DOL went a step further, noting that it is retaining the so-called "tie-breaker" test for investments, meaning that all else being equal, financially immaterial factors can give one product an edge over another. The proposal also clarifies that ESG can be material when it comes to proxy votes that plan sponsors make on behalf of participants.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), October 2021

Labor Department Issues ESG Rule Proposal for 401ks

The DOL has issued its much-anticipated rule for the use of ESG investments in retirement plans, effectively walking back two Trump-era rules that were finalized last year. In the single rule proposal, "Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights," the DOL would modify requirements outlined in the two rules from last year, "Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments" and "Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights."

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), October 2021

Budget Bill Seeks Retirement Plan Mandate, Roth Conversion Ban

Nearly all employers would have to offer retirement plans with automatic enrollment, and the saver's credit would turn into a government matching plan contribution under the current House version of a roughly $3.5 trillion budget package. Other retirement-related proposals would ban Roth conversions in employer plans and cap retirement benefits for high earners. Although the retirement provisions may change as the Senate weighs in, they stand a good chance of surviving in any final package.

Source: Mercer.com, October 2021

Congress Considers Mandatory Auto-Enrollment IRAs

All eyes are on Congress as it wrestles with a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. The House Ways and Means Committee markup of the reconciliation bill would require certain employers with five or more employees to automatically enroll employees in a payroll deduction IRA. This requirement would take effect on January 1, 2023.

Source: Wagnerlawgroup.com, October 2021

EBSA Nominee Addresses Fiduciary Rulemaking, Women's Protection

Lisa Gomez, who was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, tackled a wide range of issues during her Oct. 7 Senate confirmation hearing.

Source: Napa-net.org, October 2021

2021 Retirement Plan Regulatory Update

While businesses and the people they employ continued to navigate the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19, 2021 has brought new and refurbished legislature top of mind for plan sponsors. Despite the SECURE Act's debut nearly two years ago, many plan sponsors are just now contemplating whether to adopt some of the provisions. Meanwhile, plan sponsors are gearing up for the House of Representative's proposed SECURE 2.0 bill. This 15-page paper covers this development, the IRS' EPCRS changes, updates from the DOL, a review of notable updates in retirement plan fee litigation cases, plus much more.

Source: Multnomahgroup.com, October 2021

Bipartisan Aura Around Retirement Savings Diminishes in Reconciliation

Partisan tension has surrounded most issues in Washington, D.C. over the last several years with a few notable exceptions. One of them was retirement-savings policy. For the moment, "was" is the operative word because of a massive bill that is creating brittle politics on Capitol Hill. Republicans are upset about auto-IRA and other proposals in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. Will their ire carry over to SECURE 2.0?

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), October 2021

Proposed Bill Would Create Portable Retirement Accounts

Representative Jim Himes and Senator Mark Warner have announced legislation to establish universal, portable retirement accounts. The Portable Retirement and Investment Account (PRIA) Act of 2021 would create such accounts for every American at birth, in conjunction with the issuance of a Social Security number.

Source: Futureplan.com, September 2021

Legislation Introduced to Establish Portable Retirement Accounts

Touted as a way to help gig workers, part-time workers and those without access to an employer-sponsored account, legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to create universal, portable retirement accounts.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, September 2021

Treasury Pulling Back From Student Loan Retirement Plan Rules

The Biden administration has pulled back from working on new rules that would allow employers' retirement plans to make contributions to retirement savings plans based on their workers' student loan payments.

Source: Bloomberglaw.com, September 2021

New Bill Aims to Solve for the Retirement Plan Coverage Gap

The Portable Retirement and Investment Account Act of 2021 would create accounts for people soon after they are assigned a Social Security number that they could contribute to whenever they don't have access to an employer-sponsored plan.

Source: Planadviser.com, September 2021

Courts Giving DOL More Time to Claim ERISA Violations

The Department of Labor is relying on a recent Supreme Court decision to effectively extend the amount of time the agency has to bring fiduciary breach claims. DOL investigations often last years, so it is common for DOL to run up against the statute of limitations under ERISA.

Source: Groom.com, September 2021

Regulators Unveil Proposed Changes to Group Form 5500 Reporting

The proposal unveiled Tuesday would establish a new type of direct filing entity called a Defined Contribution Group Reporting Arrangement and add a new Schedule DCG -- detailing individual plan information -- that such reporting groups must file.

Source: Pionline.com, September 2021

A Rumor of the Death of GoPs

The retirement industry got two new plan types via the SECURE Act, pooled employer plans (PEPs) and "groups of plans" (GoPs). But proposed regulations issued on Sept. 14 might effectively kill the GoP provision as a useful product tool. This piece reflects the author's first look at the proposed rule, not a detailed analysis.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2021


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