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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 the SECURE Act Could Mean for Businesses

Abstract: Congress is coming tantalizingly close to making it simpler, easier and less costly for small-business owners to provide retirement plans for their employees, extending the prospect of retirement security to millions more Americans. The SECURE Act represents a comprehensive effort to enhance retirement security. This article addresses a handful of key provisions within the legislation that could make a difference in encouraging more businesses to offer retirement plans.

Source: Massmutual.com, June 2019

Bipartisan Bill Pavest the Way for Significant Retirement Plan Reforms

Abstract: The House recently passed the most significant piece of proposed retirement plan legislation in more than a decade: the SECURE Act. Although the Senate must also approve the bill before it becomes law, its proposed changes have considerable bipartisan support in Congress. Plan sponsors should start considering how changes included in the SECURE Act could impact their retirement plans. Employers who do not currently offer retirement plans should also review the new retirement plan incentives included in the proposed legislation.

Source: Mwe.com, June 2019

Congress Looks to Overhaul Retirement System

Abstract: Congress looks to overhaul retirement system for first time in more than a decade. On May 23, the House of Representatives took its first step toward expanding workers' retirement security by overwhelmingly passing the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019. This is the first significant retirement bill taken up by Congress since 2006's Pension Protection Act.

Source: Lockton.com, June 2019

House Passes the Secure Act Which Moves to Senate, Would Affect 401k Plans in Big Ways

Abstract: Should the proposed legislation become law, it could represent the most significant pension legislation since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. In its current form, the SECURE Act is an amalgamation of a number of pension-related proposals that have been offered on and off during the course of the past several years. This article reviews the major provisions that apply directly to 401k plans.

Source: Compliancedashboard.net, June 2019

Sweeping 403b Changes in Portman-Cardin Legislation Leaves Unanswered Questions

Abstract: The Portman-Cardin Bill, the Retirement Security and Savings Act - 2019, introduces sweeping changes to 403b plans by expanding their investment universe. These changes, however, also required modification to the Securities Laws otherwise applicable to 403b plans in order for them to work. A few critical issues have gone unanswered in the legislation, and there are a number of transition issues which we will have to be addressed.

Source: Businessofbenefits.com, June 2019

House Bill Makes Significant Changes to Retirement Plans

Abstract: The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the "Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019" (H.R. 1994) by a vote of 417-3. The bill makes numerous changes affecting employer-provided retirement plans as well as individual retirement accounts and other tax-favored savings accounts.

Source: Bradley.com, May 2019

SECURE Act: Key Changes for Plan Sponsors and Employers

Abstract: The U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancements (SECURE) Act of 2019." To become law, the bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President. Because there appears to be bipartisan support, there is a chance that some form of the SECURE Act could be signed into law. The SECURE Act contains several provisions that would significantly change qualified retirement plan design and operation. Below is a summary of some of the key changes that will affect plan sponsors.

Source: Natlawreview.com, May 2019

House Passes Bipartisan Retirement Reform Legislation

Abstract: On May 23, the House overwhelmingly passed the "Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019" on a vote of 417-3. Its passage marks significant progress for retirement legislation after years of negotiations among lawmakers and various retirement industry groups. However, the bill still faces hurdles in the Senate that could delay or prevent enactment.

Source: Groom.com, May 2019

Eight Major Ways the SECURE Act Could Impact Your Retirement Plan

Abstract: SECURE Act passed in the House with a 417-3 vote and is expected to make it through the Senate during this current term. The first real movement of the year which may affect your retirement plan. While the bill has essentially 29 new provisions or major changes, this article focuses on eight of them.

Source: Forbes.com, May 2019

House Passes the SECURE Act

Abstract: In a 417-3 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act," which would significantly overhaul current legislation governing retirement plans. The bill was approved with broad bipartisan support. It must be passed by the Senate and signed by the President before it becomes law.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2019

Senators Call for Creation of Federal Retirement Commission

Abstract: Bipartisan legislation to create a new federal commission that would study and recommend ways to improve Americans' retirement security has been reintroduced in the Senate.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, May 2019

New Bill Links 401k Matches to Student Loan Payments

Abstract: A bill that includes a provision to make it easier for companies to contribute to the retirement accounts of employees who are paying down student debt was reintroduced in the Senate this week.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), May 2019

Legislation Paves Way for Retirement Match on Student Loan Repayments

Abstract: A key member of Congress has reintroduced legislation that would permit 401k, 403b, SIMPLE, and governmental 457b retirement plans to make matching contributions to workers as if their student loan payments were salary reduction contributions.

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2019

New Bill Means Major Increase in RMD Age

Abstract: Four-and-a-half years is pretty significant in your 70s, but that's how much longer seniors could wait to take required minimum distributions under a new Senate bill. The Retirement Security & Savings Act would increase the age for required minimum distributions to age 75 by 2030.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, May 2019

Senate Finance Committee Takes Aim at Retirement System Challenges

Abstract: Sen. Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has announced that the Committee will hold a hearing entitled "Challenges in the Retirement System" on Tuesday, May 14 at 10:15 a.m. ET. This will be the first retirement policy hearing held by the Finance Committee for the 116th Congress since Sen. Grassley reclaimed the chairmanship, after previously serving as chair during much of the last decade, including when the Pension Protection Act of 2006 was signed into law.

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2019

New Bill Provides Plan Sponsors Opportunity to Provide 401k Match on Student Loan Repayments

Abstract: If your organization has hired anyone who has graduated from higher education in the recent past, you're probably aware that they are much more concerned with paying off high-interest student loans than saving for a far more distant retirement. Indeed, interest rates on student loans are so high in some cases it doesn't make financial sense to save at a lower interest rate, even if your business has a tax-advantaged 401k program that invests in excellent mutual funds. This is a concern over benefits that HR organizations need to address in order to attract the next generation of top-level applicants.

Source: Hallbenefitslaw.com, April 2019

Sixteen Retirement Plan Provisions in the SECURE Act

Abstract: Employee benefits consulting firm Strategic Benefits Advisors helpfully -- and succinctly -- lists the provisions of the bipartisan Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019, which was advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee on April 2.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, April 2019

Impact of Executive Order on ESG, Proxy Voting May Be Muted

Abstract: The White House issued an executive order on the evolving topic of proxy voting and environmental, social and governance investing programs being put into practice by retirement plans subject to ERISA. One ERISA expert says fiduciaries already evaluating ESG risks and those being active in proxy voting will continue parsing whatever ad hoc disclosures are volunteered by companies.

Source: Planadviser.com, April 2019

A Step Forward for Retirement Legislation

Abstract: There is a significant amount of interest in Congress in retirement security, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been working on a legislative package for a number of years. The SECURE Act's prospects for enactment in this Congress are good as it is the result of a multi-year, bipartisan process and has the support of many key lawmakers.

Source: Groom.com, April 2019

Novel Retirement Program Proposed

Abstract: Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have jointly introduced the "Saving for the Future Act," which is legislation modeled on the United Kingdom's National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) program.

Source: Ascensus.com, April 2019

Senate Committee Eyes Lack of Guidance on ERISA Cybersecurity

Abstract: There is no definitive answer to the question of whether the sponsor of a benefit plan is subject to the fiduciary standards of ERISA with respect to implementing cybersecurity measures to protect participants' financial data. Acknowledging a complete lack of guidance, a Senate committee sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office requesting guidance from the GAO on issues related to cybersecurity and the private retirement system.

Source: Truckerhuss.com, April 2019

Bipartisan Retirement Reforms Pass Key House Panel

Abstract: An array of retirement reforms unanimously passed April 2 by the House Ways and Means Committee would offer nondiscrimination testing relief to closed pension plans, promote defined contribution (DC) multiple-employer plans, seek to spur 401k savings, and encourage lifetime income options in DC plans, among many other proposals.

Source: Mercer.com, April 2019

Congress Makes Headway on Retirement Legislation

Abstract: Both the House and Senate have rolled out retirement plan legislative proposals that recycle many previous initiatives. With bipartisan approval in both chambers, hopes are high that 2019 will be the year for action. The proposals include coverage and nondiscrimination relief for closed defined benefit plans, enhancements for 401k plans, multiple employer pension plans, lifetime income disclosures for defined contribution plans, and more.

Source: Buck.com, April 2019

Senators Want to Force Businesses to Contribute to Retirement Plans

Abstract: A bill being introduced by Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota would require businesses to pay at least 50 cents into an employee retirement plan for every hour worked. To pay for the proposal, the senators are proposing raising the corporate tax rate by 2 percentage points to 23%. Many companies that currently offer pensions or provide matching contributions to 401k plans would already be in compliance.

Source: Cnbc.com, April 2019

Senate Measure Addresses Retirement Crisis

Abstract: A bill to increase retirement savings opportunities for U.S. workers was introduced today by bipartisan leadership of the Senate's tax-writing committee. The effort boosts chances for enacting a comprehensive retirement security measure into law this year, according to the Insured Retirement Institute.

Source: Myirionline.org, April 2019

Congress Set to Act on Major Retirement Legislation

Abstract: The House Ways & Means Committee is expected to mark up proposed tax legislation on April 2. The bills to be marked up include the SECURE Act and an open multiple employer plan bill. The SECURE Act is based on previously introduced legislation known as the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act and also includes several additional provisions from other bills that have been added to garner bipartisan support.

Source: Ascensus.com, April 2019

"SECURE Act" May Advance Soon in House, Mirroring "RESA"

Abstract: A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives, dubbed the "SECURE Act," mirrors many of the provisions of the popular Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) that failed to pass during the last Congress. According to a statement from the Insured Retirement Institute, which has advocated for RESA as well as this follow-up legislation, the new bill was negotiated by a bipartisan team of House Ways and Means Committee members.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2019

401k Investor Tax Bill DOA Now, Could Resurface?

Abstract: Democrats' proposed Wall Street Tax Act of 2019 faces long odds with Republicans controlling White House and Senate, but idea could have better chance if Democrats take control after 2020 presidential election.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2019

Senate Tax Extenders Bill Has Disaster Provisions Impacting Retirement Plans

Abstract: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has introduced the Tax Extender and Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (S. 617). The primary aim of the legislation is to extend a number of expired or expiring tax provisions, but it is also being used to provide tax-related relief provisions specific to retirement savings arrangements apply to distributions taken from IRAs and tax-qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Source: Ascensus.com, March 2019

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Create ERISA Annuity Safe Harbor

Abstract: Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, have introduced H.R. 1439, known as the Increasing Access to a Secure Retirement Act.

Source: Planadviser.com, March 2019

Congressional Hearings a Harbinger of Pension Reform?

Abstract: We witnessed several important hearings in Congress during the first week of February. The two revealed what could be a healthy, bipartisan push for retirement plan reform, and this could bode well for those trying to close the retirement savings gap.

Source: Ascensus.com, February 2019

Familiar Retirement Reforms Already in Play in New Congress

Abstract: Familiar retirement legislation has been introduced in the brief period since the new Congress convened in January. Despite the U.S. House of Representatives flipping to Democratic control in November's midterm elections, retirement reform remains an issue where significant bipartisan support is evident, and clearly growing. Several significant items included in the bill and intended to address the bill's objectives are described.

Source: Ascensus.com, February 2019

House Ways and Means Committee Talks Retirement Reforms

Abstract: A panel of expert witnesses from across the financial services domain discussed shortcomings and opportunities for improvement in the U.S. retirement savings system; they urged House members to embrace bipartisanship and commonsense solutions.

Source: Planadviser.com, February 2019

Retirement Savings Bill Re-Introduced in House With Bipartisan Backing

Abstract: Legislation that would help small businesses offer retirement plans to their employees and ease the use of annuities in them was re-introduced in the House on Wednesday with bipartisan backing. The Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act contains several provisions designed to increase the number of workers covered by workplace programs, according to a summary of the measure.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), February 2019

SIMPLE Plan Modernization Act Introduced in Senate

Abstract: Senators Susan Collins, chair of the Aging Committee, and Mark Warner, have introduced the SIMPLE Plan Modernization Act to provide greater access to SIMPLE plans among small businesses. It aims to make SIMPLE plans more accessible among small businesses and would raise the contribution and catch-up limits.

Source: Planadviser.com, February 2019

Could the Government Take the Bite Out of RMDs?

Abstract: Savers enjoyed tax benefits when they contributed and as their accounts (hopefully) grew, in retirement the government would like to collect deferred part of the tax. But people in government have been rethinking this bargain; the executive and legislative branches have been floating ideas to reduce the RMD bite recently.

Source: Morningstar.com, February 2019

How Will the Midterm Elections Affect Retirement Policy?

Abstract: The November 2018 midterm elections promise nothing if not change. As the Republican's hold on the Senate strengthened, the Democratic party took a majority in the House of Representatives. The Democrat and Republican parties historically hold very different positions in several important areas. As such, the change in leadership in the House may lead to sweeping changes in every area, particularly when it comes to retirement policy.

Source: Hallbenefitslaw.com, February 2019

Bipartisan Legislation Proposed to Promote Student Loan Repayment Retirement Benefits

Abstract: US Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act, which would allow employers to make matching contributions under 401k, 403b and SIMPLE plans with respect to student loan repayments made by employees. If enacted, this legislation would provide powerful new guidance for employers looking to offer student-loan-repayment-related benefits to their employees.

Source: Employeebenefitsblog.com, January 2019

Is the Swan Going to Live?

Abstract: Throughout the past several years, Senator Orrin Hatch has led a charge to make certain modifications to the law relating to qualified retirement plans. He has again introduced a 2018 version of the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) for consideration by Congress. Will this last chance to get this bill passed be the Senator's wonderful swan song? Details of the bill are reviewed.

Source: Ferenczylaw.com, January 2019

The Implications of the 2018 Midterm Elections on the Retirement Industry

Abstract: Change is coming to the nation's capital and the ramifications for retirement policy could be significant. For starters, momentum has been building for quite some time on both sides of the political aisle that an update is needed to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 to build on the successes of the legislation as well as to address some of the perceived shortcomings. Another area primed for action is addressing retirement adequacy for those who are saving, but may not be saving enough to live a secure retirement.

Source: Napa-net.org, December 2018

Roundup of Retirement Plan Provisions Currently Coursing Through Capitol Hill

Abstract: Among the many year-end bills that are circulating in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are a number that include fixes for Individual Retirement Accounts and 401k-type retirement savings plans. Some of the fixes are found in several bills; others are in just one of the bills.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2018

Bill Would Allow Use of Retirement Plans to Provide Student Loan Repayment Benefits

Abstract: The Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act would permit 401k, 403b, and SIMPLE retirement plans to make matching contributions to workers as if their student loan payments were salary reduction contributions.

Source: Plansponsor.com, December 2018

Portman, Cardin Introduce Retirement Savings Bill

Abstract: The proposed Retirement Security and Savings Act includes more than 50 provisions aimed at improving coverage with small employers and among part-time workers. It would also reduce barriers to lifetime income options and allow employees to keep retirement savings in qualified plans beyond the current age limit of 70 1/2.

Source: Pionline.com, December 2018

Retirement Savings Plan Provisions on Capitol Hill

Abstract: Among the many year-end bills that are circulating in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are a number that include fixes for Individual Retirement Accounts and 401k-type retirement savings plans. Some of the fixes are found in several bills; others are in just one of the bills.

Source: Pensionrights.org, December 2018

Lame Duck Retirement Package Draws Fire

Abstract: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady unveiled a nearly 300-page legislative package November 26 that combines a wide array of tax provisions with bipartisan retirement savings reforms. In general, the legislation is divided into two parts — the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018 and the Taxpayer First Act of 2018. When the House was preparing to bring the legislation up for debate on Nov. 28, Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richie Neal, who will replace Brady as chairman of that committee for the 116th Congress, expressed opposition to it.

Source: Asppa.org, December 2018

Everything to Know About Retirement Plan Provisions in Latest Tax Bill

Abstract: On November 26, 2018, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady introduced a substantial tax package consisting of two main divisions: The Taxpayer First Act of 2018, and the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018. Retirement plan items in the tax packages are reviewed.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, December 2018

Congress Tries to Jam Through Retirement Legislation by Year-End

Abstract: Congress is making one final push to get retirement legislation passed by the end of the year, with provisions promoting more 401k plan formation and greater use of annuities hanging in the balance.

Source: Investmentnews.com (registration may be required), November 2018

House Introduces Major Tax, Retirement Savings Legislation

Abstract: Lame duck legislative action produced a 300-page package designed to positively impact Americans' retirement savings and business tax breaks, while revamping the IRS.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, November 2018

Bill Would Resurrect myRAs, Replace Saver's Credit With Government Match

Abstract: Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden and four other senators have introduced the Encouraging Americans to Save Act (EASA). A similar bill with the same title was introduced by Senator Wyden in 2016, but did not reach the floor for a vote. The 2018 version of EASA contains the same provisions as the 2016 version, with a few minor changes.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2018

Legislation Introduced With Changes to Retirement Savings Tax Credit

Abstract: Legislation to change the current non-refundable saver's credit into a refundable, government matching contribution for more workers to contribute to 401k plans or IRAs was introduced Thursday by Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden and four other senators.

Source: Pionline.com, November 2018

Top Five Post-Election Retirement Policy Observations

Abstract: The historic 2018 mid-term elections are in the rearview mirror, and Democrats are poised to take control of the House in January while Republicans will expand their majority in the Senate. The new political landscape fundamentally changes the retirement policy dynamic in Washington and there is a very real possibility of significant reforms over the next two years. There are five key issues to keep in mind.

Source: Groom.com, November 2018

Taxpayers Generally Comply With Annual Contribution Limits for 401k Plans; Additional Efforts Could Further Improve Compliance

Abstract: Analysis of IRS records showed that the vast majority of taxpayers are complying with tax laws designed to limit the annual amount of compensation that can be contributed to 401k retirement plans. Nonetheless, two areas in which compliance could be improved were identified: 1) some 401k plans did not prevent taxpayers from exceeding the annual limit, and 2) some taxpayers exceed annual limits when contributing to multiple 401k plans.

Source: Oversight.gov, November 2018

Retirement Plan Participants Reap Some Benefit From Tax Reform

Abstract: After a long period of relative stability enjoyed by sponsors of qualified retirement plans, several significant modifications have been made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, following closely on the heels of changes enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, particularly as affecting hardship withdrawal from 401k plans.

Source: Foxrothschild.com, October 2018

We on the Verge of the Next Big Pension Bill?

Abstract: The Family Savings Act, which is one of three tax bills clearing the House as part of the Republicans' push for "Tax Reform 2.0," contains a series of proposals designed to enhance Americans’ retirement security and increase other savings. Some of the proposals contained in the Family Savings Act are new, but many have been taken from previously introduced legislation, most substantially, from the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act.

Source: Bna.com, October 2018

DOL Seeks to Expand Access to Open MEPs, or "Association Retirement Plans"

Abstract: The DOL has published a set of proposed regulations under Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations to expand access to retirement saving options by clarifying the circumstances under which an employer group, association, or professional employer organization may sponsor a workplace retirement plan. These plans allow small businesses to join together to offer defined contribution retirement savings benefits.

Source: Planadviser.com, October 2018

DOL Proposes Expanded Access to MEPs

Abstract: The Department of Labor has released proposed rules that would expand access to multiple employer retirement plans for small employers and self-employed workers, while also maintaining fiduciary oversight.

Source: Napa-net.org, October 2018

DOL Releases Proposed Rules on MEPs

Abstract: The proposed rule would make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement savings plans to their workers through Association Retirement Plans, which would allow small businesses to band together to offer 401k plans to their employees.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, October 2018

OMB Finishes Review of DOL Proposal to Establish Open MEPs

Abstract: The text of the regulation is still forthcoming, but the Office of Management and Budget has completed its review; so far, we know the regulation is viewed as "major" and "economically significant."

Source: Planadviser.com, October 2018

House Flip Could Fuel Focus on Retirement Policy

Abstract: Rep. Richie Neal, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee, and the man in line to become chairman of that powerful committee, has cited three priorities on which he even thinks he might align with President Trump, and two of them -- shoring up retirement savings and protecting multi-employer pension plans -- deal with retirement, according to a report in The Hill.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2018

Possible Retirement Savings Legislation in Lame Duck Session

Abstract: This article begins by briefly discussing the changes made to the FSA when it passed the House and the political outlook for retirement policy legislation before the end of the year. It provides an inventory of some of the key retirement policy proposals that may be included in any year-end 2018 retirement policy legislation.

Source: Octoberthree.com, October 2018

Ready for a Government-Run 401k?

Abstract: Legislation has been introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives that would create a parallel government-run retirement savings program, and one that could undermine the 401k, particularly for small business owners.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2018

Retirement and Beyond: Congress Considers Changes to the Way Americans Save

Abstract: It's increasingly possible that Congress could approve substantive retirement reform in the coming weeks. The House of Representatives passed the Family Savings Act of 2018 (FSA) on September 28 as part of a broader push that some are calling Tax Reform 2.0. While the FSA contains many provisions that are also in the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA), which was first introduced in the Senate in 2016 and reintroduced in March 2018, it also contains some new provisions.

Source: Alliancebernstein.com, October 2018

Portable Retirement and Investment Account Act Introduced

Abstract: Congressman Jim Himes introduced the Personal Retirement and Investment Account (PRIA) Act. The current retirement savings system is not working for most Americans. It is too reliant on employers and leaves too many people behind. Most accounts are employer-sponsored, but not every business offers a plan and more often than not, part time and contract employees are not eligible for these accounts.

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, October 2018


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