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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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Senate Tax Reform Bill Seeks Different Reforms to Retirement Plans

Abstract: The Senate bill does not include any reductions to the most frequently referenced annual contribution limit, but the does impact catch-up contributions.

Source: Qualifiedplanadvisors.com, November 2017

Hearing Set for EBSA Nominee

Abstract: The Senate Health, Education Labor & Pensions Committee will hold a hearing next week on several nominations, including a new potential Assistant Secretary of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Source: Napa-net.org, November 2017

House Bill Proposes Major Modifications to Employee Compensation and Benefits-Related Laws

Abstract: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act proposed by the US House of Representatives on November 2nd proposes major modifications to employee and partner compensation and benefits-related provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. This article highlights of the House Bill's and the Brady Amendments' compensation and benefit provisions.

Source: Kattenlaw.com, November 2017

Senate Tax Reform Proposal Caps Catch-Ups

Abstract: The Senate tax reform proposal throws a few unexpected curves, bringing back problems for deferred compensation plans, introducing some new problems for 403b and 457 plans and capping catch-up contributions.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2017

Paper Recommends Policy Changes to Address America's Retirement Challenge

Abstract: Mercer released this whitepaper outlining policy recommendations aimed at addressing and resolving America's retirement security challenge. As Congress considers retirement issues as part of tax reform, the paper offers guidance on how to develop a coherent public policy strategy that helps citizens adequately prepare for retirement given longer life expectancies and lack of financial knowledge.

Source: Mercer.com, November 2017

Tax Reform Proposal Would Impact Savings Arrangements

Abstract: The House Ways and Means Committee's GOP leadership introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Although the legislative process is still ongoing, the following is a summary of the more significant provisions from the initial proposal that could become law and affect tax-favored savings arrangements.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2017

Proposed Tax Bill Includes Language to Expand MEPs - Dramatically

Abstract: The current requirement for Open MEP's that include filing individual Form 5500's, requiring individual plan audits for those adopters whose size makes such an audit a requirement, and the need for an individual ERISA Bond will disappear under the new law if it is enacted.

Source: Linkedin.com, November 2017

Tax Reform Contemplates Changes to Employee Benefits

Abstract: The House Committee on Ways and Means publicly released a working draft of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In the weeks leading up to the release of the draft, speculation has swirled as to whether it would eliminate or otherwise limit the ability to make pre-tax employee deferrals into 401k plans. The current draft of the bill would not impact 401k deferrals, but would bring other changes to employee benefit plans and programs beginning in 2018, as described in this article.

Source: Erisapracticecenter.com, November 2017

Tax Reform Bill Contains (Other) Retirement Plan Changes

Abstract: While much of the focus has been on the potential "Rothification" of 401k plans, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included a number of other retirement plan-related provisions, including changes that impact hardship withdrawals and loans.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2017

Tax Reform Update -- A (Mostly) Good First Step

Abstract: House Republican leaders on Nov. 2 released their much-anticipated tax reform plan that left 401ks and IRAs alone, but contained a number of proposals to modify various pension and retirement savings provisions.

Source: Asppa.org, November 2017

Initial House Tax Reform Bill Proposes Limited Changes to Retirement and Savings Arrangements

Abstract: While it is understood that the version of tax reform released by the House Ways and Means Committee this week could change both in House deliberations and in a conference committee process with the Senate, it is worth taking note that the bill would not propose limiting the availability of pretax retirement savings contributions.

Source: Ascensus.com, November 2017

Marcia Wagner's 10-Minute Take on Trump Tax Plan

Abstract: "There are no adjustments to 401k plans," Wagner, principal of The Wagner Law Group, told advisors in the audience in a rapid-fire recap at the start of a regulatory-focused session. "We have somehow avoided Rothification," although she noted it doesn't mean that the final version of the bill will not include some form of Rothification.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, November 2017

Massachusetts Bill Sets Sights on a State-Run Open MEP

Abstract: The Massachusetts legislature's Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight considered a bill that would set up a state-run multiple employer plan for private employers. The bill, Senate Bill 1701, requires the treasurer and receiver general of the state to sponsor a qualified defined contribution plan, which would then be available to private-sector employers to adopt for their own employees.

Source: Ntsa-net.org, October 2017

Why Congress's Plan to Slash 401k Limits Was Never a Good Idea

Abstract: Personal finance and retirement-planning experts expressed concern that this would lead to a reduction in America's already anemic retirement savings rate. What's more, there's a bigger problem with the GOP's math, some experts say.

Source: Nbcnews.com, October 2017

The Impact of a Proposed Pre-Tax Contribution Cap

Abstract: The non-partisan Employee Benefit Research Institute using their Retirement Security Projection Model® found that more than half of current 401k contributors would be impacted by a $2,400 contribution Roth, based on 2015 data. And, as you might expect, the impact reaches down to some very moderate income levels.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Legislative Fixes Would Make MEPs More Attractive Option

Abstract: Previous regulatory actions by the Department of Labor have made open multiple employer plans a less attractive option for employers, but legislative fixes proposed by Congress could significantly improve the overall appeal of MEPs.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Shift to Roth 401ks 'Highly Likely' Part of Tax Reform

Abstract: Optimism from past weeks regarding the fate of 401k tax benefits under tax reform is beginning to wane, with some signaling that employees would have to pay taxes upfront on at least a portion of their retirement savings.

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

Enhanced Saver's Credit Would Improve Retirement Security

Abstract: A series of structural and administrative changes to the Saver's Credit would make the program less complex and more likely to achieve its intended goal of encouraging low- and moderate-income workers to save for retirement, according to a new report.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Fiduciary Rule Kill Bill Clears Hurdle

Abstract: The House Financial Services Committee gave its stamp of approval to the latest attempt to block the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule. The committee passed the Protecting Advice for Small Savers (PASS) Act Of 2017, moving it a step closer to a full vote.

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, October 2017

Congress Adds Plan Distribution Tax Relief for Recent Disasters

Abstract: The Act includes relief from the 10% premature distribution penalty for withdrawals from retirement savings and provides expanded loan availability to qualified plan participants. It also offers withholding exceptions, delayed taxation, and extended repayment options to ease the financial bite of tapping retirement savings for hurricane recovery.

Source: Conduent.com, October 2017

Hurricane Legislation Grants Retirement Plan Relief

Abstract: Under the provisions of the new law, "qualified hurricane distributions" from IRAs, qualified retirement plans, 403b plans, and governmental 457b plans are entitled to special tax treatment, as well as repayment options if the recipient so chooses. There are also provisions that apply specifically to loans from employer plans.

Source: Ascensus.com, October 2017

Some Small Business 401ks Could Vanish Under Tax Plan "Glitch"

Abstract: Under the proposed tax plan, retirement plan contributions from pass-through small-business owners would be deductible against the 25 percent tax rate, but could be taxed at the individual rate of 35 percent when the 401k funds are withdrawn.

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

Think Tax Reform Won't Impact Retirement Plans, Think Again

Abstract: If you had a choice between paying a 25% tax on your income or a 35% tax on your income, which would you choose? That's the choice small business owners could be asked to make under the new tax reform just unveiled by Congress and the White House that includes a 25% "pass-through" cap on tax rates for small business. But without a fix, the new rate could cause thousands of small businesses to terminate their retirement plans.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

Industry Leaders: Build on Existing Framework to Address "Challenges"

Abstract: Retirement industry leaders appearing at a recent Capitol Hill event generally agreed that building on the existing system would dramatically improve the retirement readiness of Americans throughout the country.

Source: Asppa.org, October 2017

No 401k Promises in GOP Tax Reform Framework

Abstract: Republicans rolled out their framework for tax overhaul with a passing mention of encouraging retirement savings. They didn't specifically address possible 401(k) changes, but that doesn't mean change isn't coming.

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

SEC Chairman Hopes to "Properly Tailor" Approach to Fiduciary Issues

Abstract: Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton hopes that his agency can "properly tailor" an approach that will best address issues related to those the DOL's fiduciary rule concerns. Clayton made his remark during his Sept. 26 testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

Tax Reform Proposal Could Undermine Incentives for Small Business Plans

Abstract: More than 90% of businesses are organized as "pass-through" entities. More than 320,000 of these entities sponsor a retirement plan. Unfortunately, many of these businesses may reconsider adopting or maintaining a qualified retirement plan because of significant financial disincentives woven into the fabric of the tax reform proposal.

Source: Asppa.org, September 2017

What's Cooking in Congress for Retirement Plans?

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

Source: Cammackretirement.com, September 2017

Warren Ups War of Words in 401k Fiduciary Fight

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

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, September 2017

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

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

Source: Planadviser.com, August 2017

These Five Retirement Issues Brought Out the Lobbyists

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

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

New Jersey Considers 403(b) Disclosure Bill

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

Source: Napa-net.org, August 2017

Regulatory Burdens Threatening Retirement Plans

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

Source: Eric.org, August 2017

Senators Urge DOL to Issue Guidance on Auto Portability

Abstract: To help prevent retirement plan cashout leakage when workers change jobs, Sen. Tim Scott and 10 other Senators sent a letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta asking the DOL to issue guidance clarifying the application of ERISA to auto portability features, that is, ones that help facilitate the movement of a participant's retirement account from one employer to another.

Source: Asppa.org, July 2017

Rep. Wagner Drafts Bill to Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule

Abstract: House lawmakers plan to convene a hearing to discuss the impact of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule on the capital markets. The hearing will focus on a draft bill put forth by Rep. Ann Wagner that seeks to kill the fiduciary rule and instead impose a best interest standard on broker-dealers' investment recommendations.

Source: Thinkadvisor.com (registration may be required), July 2017

Puerto Rico Law Modifies Retirement Plan Rules

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

Source: Prudential.com, June 2017

Video: Tax Reform and Its Potential Impact on Retirement Programs

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

Source: Cammackretirement.com, June 2017

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

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

Source: 401khelpcenter.com, June 2017

Nevada Imposes Statutory Fiduciary Duty on Broker-Dealers

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

Source: Greensfelder.com, June 2017

House Republicans Pass "Choice" Act, Block Fiduciary Rule

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

Source: 401kspecialistmag.com, June 2017

Bill Would Repeal Fiduciary Rule, Part of Dodd-Frank

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

Source: Asppa.org, June 2017

Open MEPs, Fiduciary Delay Dominate Hearing

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

Source: Asppa.org, May 2017

Financial CHOICE Act Passes House Financial Services Committee

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

Source: Westlaw.com, May 2017

Fiduciary Rule Debate Impacts State-Run Plans for Private Sector

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

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2017

Current Retirement Policy Legislation Update

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

Source: Octoberthree.com, May 2017

Dodd-Frank Overhaul Could Cause Fiduciary Rule Mess

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

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

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

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

Source: Assettv.com, May 2017

CHOICE Act Targets Fiduciary Rule, Dodd-Frank Rollback

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

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2017

Bill Would Address Loan Repayments and Savings After a Hardship Withdrawal

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

Source: Planadviser.com, May 2017

White House Blog Reiterates Protection for Retirement Savings

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

Source: Ntsa-net.org, May 2017

Senate Confirms Labor Secretary Acosta

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

Source: Thehill.com, April 2017

Are Retirement Savings Safe From Tax Reform?

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

Source: Ntsa-net.org, April 2017

What's Cooking in Congress for Retirement Plans?

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

Source: Cammackretirement.com, April 2017

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

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

Source: Ntsa-net.org, April 2017

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

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

Source: Shrm.org, April 2017

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

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

Source: Jpmorgan.com, April 2017

Five Regulatory Issues Every Financial Adviser Should Be Watching

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

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

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

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

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

Acosta Nomination Heads to Senate

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

Source: Asppa.org, April 2017

Congress Set to Lift DOL ERISA Exemption for State Plans

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

Source: 401ktv.com, April 2017

Tax Reform Takes Center Stage

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

Source: Asppa.org, March 2017

Legislation to Help Small Business Retirement Plans Introduced

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

Source: Napa-net.org, March 2017

Tax Reform Proposals Causing Anxiety for Retirement Industry

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

Source: Benefitnews.com, March 2017

A Tax on Retirement Accounts?

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

Source: Asppa.org, March 2017

Labor Secretary's Nomination Hearing Postponed Again

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

Source: Asppa.org, March 2017

Employee Benefits in the Trump Administration

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

Source: Groom.com, March 2017

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

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

Source: Ntsa-net.org, March 2017

Acosta Nominated for Secretary of Labor

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

Source: Ntsa-net.org, February 2017

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

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

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

DOL Secretary Nominee Backs Out

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

Source: Plansponsor.com, February 2017

Private Sector MEPs Return in House Bill

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

Source: Napa-net.org, February 2017

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

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

Source: House.gov, February 2017

DOL Nominee Puzder's Hearing Again Delayed

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

Source: Ntsa-net.org, January 2017

More Disruptive Than the Fiduciary Rule?

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

Source: Asppa.org, January 2017

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