2015 Retirement savings proposals from the Obama administration

The Administration’s middle class tax initiative, announced by President Obama in his 2015 State of the Union speech, includes several retirement savings-related proposals. In connection with the State of the Union speech, the White House released a fact sheet describing the Administration’s proposals. In this article we briefly review those that relate to retirement savings…. Read More

The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program and the DOL myRA letter

On January 4, 2015, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act. Illinois thereby became the second state (after California) to enact legislation providing for a state-sanctioned retirement program for private sector employees. In December 2014, the Department of Labor provided the Department of the Treasury with a letter… Read More

GOA issues 401(k) cash-out report

In December 2014, the Government Accountability Office released a report, 401(K) Plans – Greater Protections Needed for Forced Transfers and Inactive Accounts. The report is generally critical of the current procedures for ‘forced’ 401(k) plan rollovers – generally transfers (sometimes called ‘cash-outs’) of balances of $5,000 or less to an IRA without the participant’s consent…. Read More

2014 review of defined contribution plan issues

In this article we review retirement policy developments in 2014 that affected defined contribution plans. We include discussions of proposals to expand coverage and for fundamental tax reform, both of which, while not limited to DC plans, do focus generally on them. In a follow-up article we will discuss 2014 defined benefit plan issues. 401(k)… Read More

ERISA Advisory Committee on Outsourcing Employee Benefit Plan Services

In a related article we discussed the ERISA Advisory Council’s (EAC) recommendations on Facilitating Lifetime Plan Participation. In this article we very briefly review and evaluate its findings and recommendations with respect to Outsourcing Employee Benefit Plan Services. (We recently discussed outsourcing issues in detail in our article Outsourcing of defined contribution plan fiduciary function.)… Read More

ERISA Advisory Committee on Lifetime Plan Participation

On November 4, 2014 the ERISA Advisory Council (EAC) presented its recommendations on two retirement issues it studied in 2014: Facilitating Lifetime Plan Participation and Outsourcing Employee Benefit Plan Services. In this article we discuss the EAC recommendations on “lifetime plan participation” and how they may play out in regulatory or sponsor initiatives. In a… Read More

Tibble appeal to be heard by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the plaintiffs in Tibble v. Edison International, a 401(k) fee case. The Court will review only one issue: Whether a claim that ERISA plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to plan participants, even though identical lower-cost institution-class mutual… Read More

Deferred annuities in target date funds approved by IRS, DOL

On October 24, 2014, IRS released Notice 2014-66, providing guidance with respect to a program under which deferred annuities are included as “fixed income” investments in a target date fund (TDF). In connection with the Notice, the Department of Labor released a letter addressing certain fiduciary issues with respect to the program. In this article… Read More

Outsourcing of defined contribution plan fiduciary function

Sponsor outsourcing of fiduciary obligations is getting some attention. There is, of course, a broad, long-term outsourcing trend as firms continue to focus on core businesses and core competencies. With respect to defined contribution (DC) plans, the current trend towards the ‘institutionalization’ of investments (e.g., using more collective trusts, separate accounts and ‘white label’ funds),… Read More

Roth vs. ‘regular’ 401(k): the math

The Roth 401(k) contribution was introduced by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA). It was then (and has been since) largely a budget gimmick – a way to reduce the size of the ‘tax expenditure’ on retirement savings. Further ‘Rothification’ of Tax Code retirement savings provisions is currently being considered… Read More

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