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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 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

House Panel Votes to Rein in Large Retirement Account Balances

Mega-Roth, backdoor IRAs and large retirement account balances would be limited under legislation approved Sept. 15 by the House Ways and Means Committee. In a near party-line vote of 24-19, the changes were approved as part of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act reconciliation.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2021

Townsend Joins DOL as Retirement Advisor to Walsh

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is joining the Department of Labor to help advance state and federal efforts to expand retirement savings programs. In an emailed statement, Townsend explained that on Aug. 30 she started a new role as Labor Secretary Marty Walsh's Representative on Retirement and Pension Issues.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2021

Suite of Bipartisan Retirement Savings Bills Reintroduced

Sens. Todd Young and Cory Booker have reintroduced several bills to help boost retirement security for individuals and families. Citing data by the DOL showing that more than 40 million people do not have access to any workplace retirement plan, the pair introduced four bills Aug. 4 that, among other things, would expand automatic enrollment in retirement plans, as well as make it easier for individuals to build emergency savings.

Source: Asppa.org, August 2021

Biden's Nominee to Head EBSA Reflects Aggressive Rulemaking Agenda

President Joe Biden's nominee to head the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration, Lisa Gomez, hints that the DOL is serious about rulemaking. Her career is rooted in ERISA, and her keen understanding of the law would help the DOL as it seeks to implement new rules, lawyers said.

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

Congress Urged to Act on Numerous Retirement System Changes

In a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, witnesses urged lawmakers to include changes such as mandatory coverage, student loan provisions, and emergency savings in whatever legislative package materializes, such as the SECURE 2.0 bills in the House and Senate.

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

Khawar: Cryptocurrency Guidance on the Horizon

Speaking July 27 at the 2021 NAPA D.C. Fly-In Forum, the Acting Assistant Secretary for the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration outlined the key areas the department is working on, including both cryptocurrency and cybersecurity issues.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2021

DOL Official Sheds Light on Rollover Recommendations

Cautioning those looking to "game the system," a senior Labor Department official affirmed July 27 that suggesting investments that could occur after a rollover is tantamount to recommending the rollover, and if it meets the rest of the five-part test will constitute fiduciary advice regardless of how it's phrased.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2021

Gomez Nominated for EBSA Post

President Biden has nominated Lisa M. Gomez for Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration. Ms. Gomez is a partner at the law firm of Cohen, Weiss and Simon and chair of the firm's management committee.

Source: Ascensus.com, July 2021

Senate Democrats Introduce Bill Providing 401k, IRA Match

Ron Wyden, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and six other Democratic senators have introduced legislation that would enhance the incentives to save for retirement. The existing nonrefundable saver's credit would become a $1,000-a-year matching contribution from the government.

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

Women's Retirement Protection Act Reintroduced in Congress

U.S. Senator Patty Murray, who is the current chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Representative Lauren Underwood have reintroduced the Women’s Retirement Protection Act of 2021. According to the lawmakers, the legislation aims to address the gender-based retirement savings gap and bolster women's financial security overall.

Source: Planadviser.com, July 2021

Comparison of Provisions in SECURE 2.0 and Cardin-Portman

Groom has prepared a comparison of the provisions in two key retirement bills being considered by the 117th Congress: the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 (H.R. 2954, "SECURE 2.0") and the Retirement Security & Savings Act (S. 1770, "Cardin-Portman").

Source: Groom.com, July 2021

House Panel Crafting Bill to Limit IRA Savings

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal is mulling legislation that would limit "the total amount of money that can be saved in tax-preferred retirement accounts, and putting an end to the tax-dodging some do when saving in IRAs," he told ThinkAdvisor via email on Thursday.

Source: Treasuryandrisk.com, July 2021

Kennedy Introduces Bills to Boost Retirement Savings

Two bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate designed to help Americans keep -- and have more control over -- their retirement savings. Sen. John Kennedy introduced the Keeping Your Retirement Act and the Increasing Retirement Amount Act on June 7.

Source: Napa-net.org, June 2021

'Secure Act 2.0' Likely to Become a Reality

The U.S. Senate's Improving Access to Retirement Savings Act, which is its version of the House's Securing a Strong Retirement Act, is likely to become law and improve America's retirement savings system in meaningful ways. That's the expectation of retirement plan executives about the bill.

Source: Planadviser.com, June 2021

Enhancing Emergency and Retirement Savings Act Introduced

The legislation would provide a penalty-free "emergency personal expense distribution" option from employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs. The proposal would allow for one emergency distribution per calendar year of up to $1,000 from the individual's total nonforfeitable accrued benefit under the plan. The bill requires that the withdrawn funds be paid back to the plan before an additional emergency distribution from that same plan is allowed.

Source: Ascensus.com, June 2021

Bill Would Allow Penalty-Free Withdrawals From 401ks, IRAs

Sen. James Lankford introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow retirement plan participants to dip into their savings for emergencies. "The Enhancing Emergency and Retirement Savings Act of 2021" would "encourage participation in retirement plans' by giving individuals penalty-free access to funds should a family emergency hit," Lankford said.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com, June 2021

Biden Expected to Advance a More Stringent Fiduciary Rule, Advocate for Retirement Income and ESG Investing

Industry experts reflect on what President Joe Biden has done in his first months in office with respect to retirement plans and what they still see coming down the road from his administration.

Source: Planadviser.com, June 2021

Executive Order Includes Review of ESG Factors in Retirement Plans

President Biden issued an Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, which includes a directive to the DOL Secretary to consider publishing, by September 2021, a proposed rule to suspend, revise, or rescind the Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments and Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights final rules that were published during the Trump administration regarding environmental, social, and governance investments and proxy voting by employee benefit plans.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2021

Bill Would Allow Retirement Plans to Use ESG Investments

U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Patty Murray and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene have introduced legislation in both chambers of Congress that they say would provide legal certainty to workplace retirement plans that choose to consider environmental, social, and governance factors in their investment decisions or offer ESG investment options.

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2021

Portman, Cardin Reintroduce Sweeping Retirement Reform Bill

In what may be their final act teaming up on retirement security legislation, the bipartisan duo of Sens. Rob Portman and Ben Cardin on May 21 reintroduced their Retirement Security and Savings Act (S. 1770). Like the previous version introduced in the last session of Congress, the 163-page bill includes more than 50 provisions designed to strengthen Americans' retirement security by addressing four major opportunities in the existing retirement system.

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2021

Senate Retirement Legislation Introduced

The Improving Access to Retirement Savings Act was introduced this week by Senator Charles Grassley, Senator Maggie Hassan, and Senator James Lankford. "The bill provides common-sense, bipartisan solutions that will help address the challenges and obstacles that continue to inhibit savings and producing income during retirement," wrote Paul Richman, IRI Chief Government and Political Affairs Officer.

Source: Myirionline.org, May 2021

Major Bipartisan Retirement Reform Bill Gets House Committee Approval

The House Ways and Means Committee passed a major bipartisan package of retirement reforms clearing the way for possible House approval this year. The legislation carries over most provisions from an earlier version of the bill but contains some tweaks and several additional sections, including some revenue offsets that would direct more workplace savings into after-tax Roth accounts. It also draws several provisions from broad Senate legislation (S 1431) introduced in the prior Congress and likely to see reintroduction soon, suggesting that a combined retirement bill may advance this year.

Source: Mercer.com, May 2021

The Beltway Is Buzzing With Retirement Proposals

The word of the moment in Washington, D.C. when it comes to retirement activity is busy. Legislative and regulatory proposals are floating through the halls of Congress and in the offices of agencies such as the Department of Labor, said Preston Rutledge, who served as assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration under President Donald Trump.

Source: Insurancenewsnet.com, May 2021

Senate Committee Hearing Explores Retirement Security Measures

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing this week to examine issues surrounding retirement security and measures Congress may consider to help more of America's workers and retirees save and plan for their golden years.

Source: Myirionline.org, May 2021

Summary of Provisions in the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021

This chart summarizes the "Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021" as marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee on May 5, 2021.

Source: Groom.com, May 2021

Congressional Leaders Call for GAO Review of TDFs

The Chairpersons of two of the leading retirement plan committees in Congress are calling for a review of target-date funds. Sen. Patty Murray, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, and Rep. Robert Scott, Chairman of the House Committee on Education & Labor, have written to the head of the Government Accountability Office, asking them to conduct a review of target-date funds.

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2021

American Rescue Plan Act Brings Retirement Plan Relief

The Act, which is largely focused on COVID-19 relief, brings with it a few notable retirement plan relief provisions (and one executive compensation change to help foot the bill). These provisions can be broken down into (1) single-employer pension funding relief, (2) expansion of Code Sec. 162(m) that limits deductions on executive compensation, (3) multiemployer pension funding relief, and (4) increase in PBGC premiums for multiemployer plans.

Source: Groom.com, May 2021

What's in the New SECURE Act 2.0?

Most of the provisions that were contained in the earlier version are retained in the new one. But the "SECURE Act 2.0" legislation that the House Ways & Means Committee will mark up includes several new provisions as well as changes to some of the existing provisions. This is a summary of some of the additional changes and new provisions in the SSRA.

Source: Asppa.org, May 2021

Securing a Strong Retirement Act Re-Introduced

This legislation is the first comprehensive bipartisan retirement legislation introduced in 2021. Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 expands upon and includes additional provisions from the SSRA of 2020. While this bill (and others) have been coined by many as "SECURE 2.0," it is prudent to follow retirement legislation developments by bill name for clarity and think of "SECURE 2.0" in the context of retirement reform generally.

Source: Ascensus.com, May 2021

Ways & Means to Mark Up SECURE Act 2.0

The U.S. House Ways & Means Committee will be focusing on a markup of what's been called SECURE 2.0, legislation that includes several key provisions championed by the American Retirement Association. Chairman Neal and the Committee's ranking Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady, first introduced the Securing a Strong Retirement Act last October as a sequel to the 2019 SECURE Act. While they have yet to formally introduce the legislation in the new Congress, that bill is expected to form the basis of the May 5 markup.

Source: Napa-net.org, May 2021

IRS Clarifies Partial Plan Termination Relief Under 2020 Legislation

On April 27, the Internal Revenue Service issued informal guidance on partial plan terminations as part of the COVID-related tax relief provided under The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The Relief Act was intended to provide a measure of relief for qualified plan sponsors that experienced layoffs due to COVID-19.

Source: Groom.com, May 2021

Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal and ranking Republican member Kevin Brady on May 3 reintroduced the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021. The bill follows the bipartisan model of success that led to the enactment of the SECURE Act in December 2019, balancing provisions sought by consumer groups with changes sought by providers of retirement plan services, and drawing together legislative proposals that have been introduced by members of Ways and Means.

Source: Americanbenefitscouncil.org, May 2021

Senate Bill Would Allow 401k Match for Student Loan Payments

Student loan payments would be entitled to earn "matching" 401k retirement contributions from employers under a bill introduced by Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden. The proposal would enable Americans to build retirement savings while repaying their student debt even if they can't afford to make their own contributions to a 401k plan.

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

Senators Collins, Warner Introduce Bill to Boost Retirement Savings Plans

Senators Susan Collins and Mark Warner have introduced the SIMPLE Plan Modernization Act to provide greater flexibility and access to small businesses and their employees seeking to use the SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) plans as a retirement savings option.

Source: Planadviser.com, April 2021

American Rescue Plan Act Contains Many Employee Benefits Related Provisions

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. Many of the provisions in this sweeping legislation bring changes to the employee benefits world of which employers should take note of and which are summarized here.

Source: Benefitsnotes.com, April 2021

Expanding Coverage Likely Next Target for Lawmakers

With the multiemployer relief legislation cleared from Congress' docket, look for policymakers to turn to efforts to expand retirement plan coverage, ARA staff explained during a March 23 NAPA webcast. Will Hansen, Chief Government Affairs Officer at the American Retirement Association, and Andrew Remo, the organization's Director of Legislative Affairs, offered their take on the legislative outlook for the rest of the year, as well as what retirement policy provisions we may see in forthcoming legislation.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2021

Consolidated Appropriations Act: What Plan Sponsors Need to Know About Retirement Plan Relief

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 is mostly known for the $900 billion it provided in additional stimulus funding for pandemic relief. But the law also contains several useful provisions for retirement plans, including non-COVID disaster emergency relief, multiemployer, and defined benefit plan changes, and updates to partial plan terminations. All of these provisions are discretionary and have very narrow applicability. Regardless, plan sponsors should take the time to understand the relevant parts of the law and see whether the various provisions might benefit their organizations and plan participants.

Source: Bdo.com, March 2021

DOL Nominee Says Cybersecurity, Retirement Savings High Priority

Julie Su, who was nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary of Labor, spent much of her nomination hearing defending her record as California's labor secretary, but she did field a couple of questions about retirement policy.

Source: Asppa.org, March 2021

Freeze on 401k Contribution COLAs Removed From Stimulus Bill

The American Retirement Association announced Thursday that, after a week of intense lobbying by the industry advocacy organization, the freeze on the annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for contributions to defined contribution plans contained in the stimulus bill supported by President Biden has been pulled.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, March 2021

ERISA Fiduciaries Under a Biden Labor Department: What Is on the Horizon?

President Biden has been in office for 34 days and his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, has not yet been confirmed. Nonetheless, several issues in the ERISA fiduciary space have already garnered the new administration's attention and there are certain clues about how this Department of Labor may impact the regulation and enforcement of ERISA's fiduciary standards.

Source: Morganlewis.com, February 2021

COVID Relief Bill Puts Ceiling on DC Plan Limits

As part of the push to enact a nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill, the House Ways & Means Committee moved forward February 11th with a proposal to freeze retirement plan contribution limits to help offset the cost of multiemployer plan relief. On a party-line vote of 25-18, the committee approved the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2021

SECURE Act 2.0: Key Provisions Affecting Retirement Plans

Late last year, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady introduced the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020, a bipartisan legislative proposal that includes changes designed to encourage plan adoption, promote retirement savings, and fix certain plan administration problems. As retirement income issues gain an expanding focus, broker-dealers, RIAs, and their advisors need to understand changes that could impact their clients. This article comments on a number of the key provisions.

Source: Brokerdealerlawblog.com, February 2021

Multiemployer Plan Bailout Caps Benefit Plan Limits

Legislation before the House Ways & Means Committee plans to help pay for a multiemployer plan bailout by utilizing a budget gimmick that would freeze retirement plan contribution limits, though not for collectively bargained plans. More specifically, the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021, included as subtitle H of a nine-part package that the committee plans to mark up this week, would impose a cost-of-living freeze.

Source: Asppa.org, February 2021

Committee Chairmen Introduce Multiemployer Pension Plan Reform in House

Representative Neal, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Representative Scott, Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced nearly identical bills, the "Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021," into the committees they chair. This article covers the key multiemployer plan provisions of the bills, particularly from the standpoint of contributing employers.

Source: Octoberthree.com, February 2021

2021 Could See More Retirement and Health Legislation

There is optimism that one or more savings-focused bills could be enacted in 2021. Several introduced during the past two years will likely be re-introduced in the 117th Congress.

Source: Futureplan.com, January 2021

Rep. Neal Releases Policy Priorities for Equity in Retirement Security

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has laid out his party's vision for economic equity in health care and retirement. In a letter included in his Policies and Priorities report, Neal says one of their priorities is increasing retirement security for U.S. workers, which would be achieved by policies strengthening Social Security benefits, growing multiple employer plan participation, and mandating automatic enrollment for 401k plans.

Source: Plansponsor.com, January 2021

What Labor Nominee Walsh Means for the Fiduciary Rule's Future

President Biden named Boston Mayor Martin Walsh as his nominee for Secretary of Labor. Walsh's nomination raises questions for the future of the DOL's fiduciary rule, which regulates investment fiduciaries under ERISA. In particular, the new fiduciary rule guidelines promulgated by the DOL in December 2020 appear to be in jeopardy under a Biden administration with Walsh as Labor Secretary.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, January 2021

Retirement Plan Relief in Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 combines COVID-19 stimulus relief with several year-end appropriations bills, and it includes numerous provisions that will impact retirement plans. The retirement plan relief provisions in the CAA are divided between (1) qualified disaster relief (including actions Congress has historically taken to relax normal retirement plan distribution and withdrawal rules in light of a natural disaster) and (2) separate COVID-19 relief (including new rules for retirement plans in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic).

Source: Truckerhuss.com, January 2021

2021 Appropriations Bill Includes New and Expanded Relief for Employee Benefit Plans

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was passed and signed into law in late December 2020. In addition to funding for the current fiscal year, the Act also includes numerous provisions addressing employee benefit plans and providing a range of relief provisions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters. While many of these changes are new, some of them extend or add on to previous legislation issued earlier in 2020 under the CARES Act. This article describes the key provisions of the Act applicable to employer-sponsored welfare and retirement plans.

Source: Huntonak.com, January 2021

Appropriations Act Includes Several Provisions Applicable to Qualified Retirement Plans

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 includes several provisions affecting qualified retirement plans. A relaxation of the partial plan termination rules should provide relief to plans which see unusual turnover in the number of active participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other provisions, including an amendment of the CARES Act which allows coronavirus related distributions to be made from money purchase pension plans, may provide retroactive relief to plan sponsors.

Source: Reinhartlaw.com, January 2021


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